Lindsay Perigo
Lindsay Perigo

Barbarians vs Beethoven

Especially laughable last week were the hikoi of no-hopers & their flax-baskets of whinges. These pitiful specimens did not profess to have any answers to the provocations of their mindless chantings, but there's no doubt that, if pressed, they would produce a blueprint identical to the sewage that is routinely discharged from the Auckland University Economics Department — higher taxes (especially on business), reinstated & higher tariffs, spending by the government of money it doesn't have (mainly on perks for bureaucrats, university lecturers & other state tit-suckers), tighter restrictions on immigration & foreign investment, reinstated controls on capital inflow & outflow, etc., etc., etc..

Guaranteed to make the whole country a flax-basket case!

The no-hopers were rivalled in risibility only by two very silly creatures talking about them on the Holmes Show. Both were purveyors of that particular form of witch-doctory we call Christianity. They were disagreeing vehemently as to whether the hikoi was an appropriate spectacle for the church to have organised. One was a fat friar who looked suspiciously like the former Prime Minister who's just had his snout in the public trough to renovate his abode; the other was an Anglican in a dress, who was having trouble reconciling his church's expenditure of $20m on renovating a cathedral with its claimed concern for the poor. Actually, the Anglican Church is one thing Karl Marx was right about, when he said that it "would more readily pardon an attack on 38 of its 39 Articles than on one 39th of its income." I was hoping someone would bring that up just so I could see the Anglican get even more flustered & trip over his dress. Anyway, thanks to all concerned for the superb entertainment — the hikoi of no-hopers screaming puerile slogans, the fat friar & the Anglican drag queen screaming at each other.

How salutary, while surrounded by such garbage & gargoyles, to receive an e-mail from a soulmate in Portland, Oregon, capturing perfectly the horror of today's twisted world — and the hope that persists.

"Yesterday evening, I approached the door to my apartment building through heavy rain and burdened by several large bags of groceries. Through the glass I saw two young tenants sitting on the steps inside, their clothes purposefully sloppy, their faces nearly lifeless. They watched, half-conscious, as I struggled to retrieve my key and open the door. Neither moved to lend a hand, and neither looked at me directly. Average people in my generation — I see them everywhere, wrapped in ironic t-shirts and neo-fascist phrases — the foot soldiers of postmodernism.

"Reading news headlines is almost axiomatically bleak, as the newspapers are a worthy catalogue of the ongoing dismantling of the American Revolution — nearly every story details further government control, additional taxes, another attack on reason, a rationalisation for censorship.

"Popular music is insipid or outright vomitous, and it fills the streets. Portland police report another successful drug raid — several injured and one triumphant arrest! A local anti-car, eco-fascist group, "Critical Mass," fills the streets with dozens of bicycles, blocking traffic and "fucking things up" — including hindering an ambulance carrying a young boy to the emergency room. Everywhere, eyes are unfocused, heads are lowered.

"How can this exist simultaneously with the soft benediction of rain on green hills, the bright display of electric light against dark weather, and the dizzying vibrancy of a human city? What place is there for such sickening irrationality in a world where Beethoven is possible? The magnificence of science, the vitality of commerce — as expressed in glowing shop windows along the streets in my neighbourhood — such rebuttal to a thousand grimy, whining statists. Such a happy, unanswerable rejoinder is the buoyancy of Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto, or the elegant fact of suspension bridges."

The writer of these words is not some battle-weary curmudgeon like myself. He is just twenty-one years old, an Objectivist & a libertarian, eager to drink of life's fullness. I offer him as an antidote to the anti-life irrationality & anti-romanticism that is all around you, from the Philosophy Department on up. And I can think of no more beautiful words with which to bid you all adieu.

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