“For whom the bell tolls…” – a reading of John Donne’s famous words.

My reading of an extract of John Donne’s Devotions upon Emergent Occasions, with its famous words about the bell. On my YouTube channel, English Readings. Please subscribe.

Freedom Week 2017: a free week of tutorials at Cambridge.

freedomweek

Freedom Week is an annual, one-week seminar which teaches students about classical liberal, free market, neoliberal and liberal perspectives on economics, politics, history and society. It is open to over-18s who are currently attending or about to start university. The week is entirely free to attend: there is no charge whatsoever for accommodation, food, tuition or materials. Freedom Week 2017 will be held from Monday the 3rd to Friday the 8th July.

More details here.

Freedom Week is organised by The Adam Smith Institute.

Civilisation – who needs it? More in The Fortnightly Review

seinesaintdenis

EVEN WHEN IT IS making one of its generally excellent documentaries on art or history the BBC these days cannot help but have its presenters slip in a bit of propaganda promoting multiculturalism, diversity or mass immigration. In the first episode of a recent series, Art of France, Andrew Graham-Dixon took us through Seine-Saint-Denis, a northern suburb of Paris, to view the “truly varied faces of this modern nation”, ie, the mainly Muslim faces of North Africa. France, he later said, has always been “a nation of mongrels,” which is just a version of the “nation of immigrants” mantra repeated by those who usually don’t live in areas populated by immigrants but are happy for others to do so.

Read on at The Fortnightly Review.

If you want something civilised read my book.

Dowson’s Cynara poem – a microlecture.

Another microlecture, this time on Ernest Dowson’s “Non Sum Qualis Eram Bonae Sub Regno Cynarae”.

A little philosophy is often more than enough.

socratessoccerteams

DURING MY THIRD year at grammar school our English teacher once asked us to prepare a short presentation on any subject we chose. Being a bookwormish little swat at the time I did a piece on Socrates. When it came to my turn to read it out I had only got into about a minute of it before the class idiot and his friend interrupted indignantly, complaining that they thought I was going to talk about soccer teams. It was my fault for not enunciating clearly, I have to admit, but it was also my fault for thinking that talking about a long-dead Greek philosopher to a class of generally intelligent boys, but one that included the year idiot, was anything but casting pearl before swine. Most of them would indeed have preferred a talk on soccer teams, or the Jaguar E-Type, or the space race.

More at The Fortnightly Review.

The little platoons of society.

To be attached to the subdivision, to love the little platoon we belong to in society, is the first principle (the germ as it were) of public affections. It is the first link in the series by which we proceed towards a love to our country, and to mankind. The interest of that portion of social arrangement is a trust in the hands of all those who compose it; and as none but bad men would justify it in abuse, none but traitors would barter it away for their own personal advantage.

Edmund Burke, Reflections on the French Revolution.