Quotulatiousness

January 19, 2018

Assassination Attempt on Lenin – Chaos in Romania I THE GREAT WAR Week 182

Filed under: History, Military, Russia, WW1 — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 06:00

The Great War
Published on 18 Jan 2018

This week in Russia, Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin was almost killed by sharpshooters in Petrograd and the Constituent Assembly meets. Tensions rise as Russia issues an ultimatum to Romania, with an order for their King’s arrest. There are also machinations in Finland and some action on the Western Front.

December 23, 2017

QotD: Charles Dickens’ ability to portray happiness

Filed under: Books, Britain, History, Quotations — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 01:00

The thought of Christmas raises almost automatically the thought of Charles Dickens, and for two very good reasons. To begin with, Dickens is one of the few English writers who have actually written about Christmas. Christmas is the most popular of English festivals, and yet it has produced astonishingly little literature. There are the carols, mostly medieval in origin; there is a tiny handful of poems by Robert Bridges, T.S. Eliot, and some others, and there is Dickens; but there is very little else. Secondly, Dickens is remarkable, indeed almost unique, among modern writers in being able to give a convincing picture of happiness.

Dickens dealt successfully with Christmas twice in a chapter of The Pickwick Papers and in A Christmas Carol. The latter story was read to Lenin on his deathbed and according to his wife, he found its ‘bourgeois sentimentality’ completely intolerable. Now in a sense Lenin was right: but if he had been in better health he would perhaps have noticed that the story has interesting sociological implications. To begin with, however thick Dickens may lay on the paint, however disgusting the ‘pathos’ of Tiny Tim may be, the Cratchit family give the impression of enjoying themselves. They sound happy as, for instance, the citizens of William Morris’s News From Nowhere don’t sound happy. Moreover and Dickens’s understanding of this is one of the secrets of his power their happiness derives mainly from contrast. They are in high spirits because for once in a way they have enough to eat. The wolf is at the door, but he is wagging his tail. The steam of the Christmas pudding drifts across a background of pawnshops and sweated labour, and in a double sense the ghost of Scrooge stands beside the dinner table. Bob Cratchit even wants to drink to Scrooge’s health, which Mrs Cratchit rightly refuses. The Cratchits are able to enjoy Christmas precisely because it only comes once a year. Their happiness is convincing just because Christmas only comes once a year. Their happiness is convincing just because it is described as incomplete.

George Orwell (writing as “John Freeman”), “Can Socialists Be Happy?”, Tribune, 1943-12-20.

July 21, 2017

July Days In Petrograd – Blood On The Nevsky Prospect I THE GREAT WAR Week 156

Filed under: Europe, History, Military, Russia, WW1 — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 06:00

Published on 20 Jul 2017

The tensions between the Russian Provisional Government, between the civilians and the Bolsheviks turn violent this week 100 years ago. Machine Guns fire into the demonstrations on the Nevsky Prospect and arrest warrants are issued for Lenin and Trosky. At the same time the preliminary bombardment for the Battle of Passchendaele begins on the Western Front.

March 31, 2017

Lenin Takes The Train – First Battle of Gaza I THE GREAT WAR Week 140

Filed under: Europe, History, Middle East, Military, Russia, WW1 — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 05:00

Published on 30 Mar 2017

When the Russian government promises to continue the war and support the Entente with another offensive, the Germans are allowing Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov aka Lenin to board a train from his exile in Switzerland to Russia. The British Army once again underestimates the Ottoman Empire at the 1st Battle of Gaza and the Toplica Uprising ends.

July 14, 2015

QotD: Lenin’s moment of clarity

Filed under: Liberty, Quotations, USA — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 01:00

There is not very much good to say about the life and career of Vladimir Lenin, but give the pickled old monster this much: He cut through more than two centuries’ worth of bull and straight to the heart of all politics with his simple question: “Who? Whom?” Which is to say: Who acts? Who is acted upon? Even here in the land of the free, meditating upon that question can be an uncomfortable exercise.

The foundation of classical liberalism, and of the American order, is not the rule of law, a written constitution, freedom of speech and worship, one-man/one-vote democracy, or the Christian moral tradition — necessary as those things are. The irreplaceable basis for a prosperous, decent, liberal, stable society is property. Forget Thomas Jefferson’s epicurean flourish — John Locke and the First Continental Congress had it right on the first go-round: “Life, liberty, and property.” Despite the presence of the serial commas in that formulation, these are not really three different things: Perhaps we should render the concept “lifelibertyproperty” the way the physicists write about “spacetime.”

Kevin D. Williamson, “Property and Peace”, National Review, 2014-07-20.

Powered by WordPress