Thought Control 101

Rummaging through my store of old documents the other day, I came across a letter that I had written to the Department Head (or Dean of Arts, I forget which) after I had graduated with an MA in International Affairs in 1992. The subject was political correctness (yes, even then) and its baleful influence on learning. Needless to say, I received no reply. As I firmly believe that everyone is entitled to my opinion, I reproduce it below as a public service. Names have been removed to protect the innocent. Things have only gotten worse….


The most important observation I feel I can make about university life in general concerns the poisonous, stifling atmosphere of political correctness that permeates academia. It is not yet as serious as at some American universities (where it is truly hysterical) but the trends are definitely here.
The University is an institution that must preserve freedom of thought and speech, promote clarity and excellence, and encourage students to grapple with the philosophical and moral issues that have been addressed by all the great writers and thinkers of civilization. All sides of the issues should be open to students as an inalienable right. Freedom means the freedom to be different, to be unpopular, to be eccentric, else it becomes a sham, an ideological facade for the politically correct commissars that seem to be in control of so much of university life.
The idea that people should have equal opportunity to excel is, I believe, the root of freedom in a liberal democratic society. The politically correct insist that equality of result is the necessary end of our education system. Because Mankind is such a diverse species, naturally an equality of opportunity will give rise to an enormous inequality of results. Some will succeed, others fail. That is Life. But to insist that every difference and distinction in society is the result of some “ism” or other, or that every dissident view is the product of a concealed conspiracy, or that everything that some minority group wants is a right, is nothing less than cultural Bolshevism. For example, to say that the term “Mankind” is sexist (whatever that means) and should be replaced by “Humanity”, on pain of academic penalty, is thought control of crassest kind. It is now actually impossible to discuss any issues of race and its political importance in the world, other than by parroting the slogans of the ethnically-approved. If students are to come to grips with spiritual and moral problems that confront them, they will not be able to do so without being able to discuss the issues without fear of intimidation or reprisal. That security of feeling does not exist on campuses today.

The assault on the cultural traditions of universities is nothing new. The revolt against civilization in all ages has been directed at study, learning, art and science. Bolshevism attacked learning in much the same way as the modern PC movement. Its evil results are plain for all to see. In English literature, they were exposed in almost prescient fashion by George Orwell fifty years ago in “1984” and various essays such as “The Prevention of Literature” and “Inside the Whale”.
It is essential in a free society that our actions be governed by law. The continual claims of the politically correct of being perpetually “aggrieved” and “offended” by their political opponents is simply a device to attempt to suppress the opposing view. In the 1990s, this is not done by secret police with rubber truncheons, but by lies, character assassination, slander and intimidation in the workplace. The result of this is that all open discussion of complex and controversial issues, such as race relations, is driven underground and the persona of the university becomes a mask of slogans tailored to suit all the self-appointed victims of real and imaginary ills.

What we are faced with today is the idea that intellectual honesty is somehow demeaning and the expression of unpopular points of view is generating discord on our campuses. It is, in fact, the attack on intellectual integrity by leftist intellectuals that is the cause of discord. Most students who think about it can see this, but in their position, where they can be easily intimidated by unscrupulous professors and university authorities, they know their futures can be readily jeopardized. Even those in positions of authority who can see what is happening crumble before vitriolic attacks from the PC storm troops. George Orwell pointed to the same paralysis of intellectuals in the 1940s. When discussing the question of liberty, he once said:

Here I am not trying to deal with the familiar claim that freedom is an illusion, or with the claim that there is more freedom in totalitarian countries than in democratic ones, but with the much more tenable and dangerous proposition that freedom is undesirable and that intellectual honesty is a form of anti-social selfishness.

In fact, to be free, we must state our views and feelings as they are. Free individuals can not be forced into molds and stamped out with all the politically correct views injected into them. Peaceful and civilized resolutions of social problems can only come about if everyone thinks he has had his fair say. And that includes saying many things that others do not like. Inventing lies to make certain groups feel good about themselves (as, for instance, did Alex Haley’s “Roots”) is the bed rock on which this atrocious conformity is built.
Again, allow me to refer to Orwell who saw exactly the same problem with the Communist-dominated English intelligentsia of the 1940s:

Freedom of the intellect means the freedom to report what one has seen, heard, and felt, and not to be obliged to fabricate imaginary facts and feelings. The familiar tirades against ‘escapism’, and ‘individualism’, ‘romanticism’ and so forth, are merely a forensic device, the aim of which is to make the perversion of history seem respectable.

To return to the university today, the continual demand in lectures to use “non-racist” or “gender-neutral” terminology is another case in point. Who makes these decisions as to what is “inappropriate” or not? Clearly, our commissars. And there is no recourse against this. Why? In his critique of Swift, Orwell said that:

…[i]n a Society in which there is no law, and in theory no compulsion, the only arbiter of behaviour is public opinion. But public opinion, because of the tremendous urge to conformity in gregarious animals, is less tolerant than any system of law. When human beings are governed by ‘thou shalt not’, the individual can practice a certain amount of eccentricity: when they are supposedly governed by ‘love’ or ‘reason’, he is under continuous pressure to make him behave and think in exactly the same way as everyone else. The Houyhnhnms, we are told, were unanimous on almost all subjects. The only question they ever discussed was how to deal with the Yahoos.

Our politically correct commissars today should study their ancestors– the Houyhnhnms– whence they might discover their true totalitarian nature. So, Swift and Orwell certainly understood the repressive results of pandering to the sensitivities, and, invariably, the insatiable demands of legions of the permanently aggrieved. What has happened to our universities of late has best been described by Allan Bloom in “The Closing of the American Mind”:

Universities came to be where men were inspired by the philosophers’ teachings and examples. Philosophy and its demonstration of the rational contemplative life, made possible and, more or less consciously, animated scholarship and the individual sciences. When those examples lost their vitality or where overwhelmed by men who had no experience of them, the universities decayed or were destroyed. This, strictly, is barbarism and darkness. To sum up, there is one simple rule for the university’s activity: it need not concern itself with providing its students with experiences that are available in democratic society. They will have them in any event. It must provide them with experiences they cannot have there. Tocqueville did not believe that the old writers were perfect, but he believed that they could best make us aware of our imperfections, which is what counts for us…. The universities never performed this function very well. Now they have practically ceased trying.

Now, the contemplative life, that brief moment when young people may be exposed to the jewels of our civilization, is being assaulted by the mob, screaming for orthodoxy, servility and conformity. The arrogance of the PC movement is surpassed only by its effrontery. I wish the University and our society luck in throwing off this dreadful incubus.
Rebel Yell M.A. (1992)
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Rebel Yell 2016

Matt Ridley on global greening



Matt Ridley’s address to the Global Warming Policy Foundation must be read by people concerned to find a sane view of global warming, climate change, and what the arguments are.

We’re told that it’s impertinent to question “the science” and that we must think as we are told. But arguments from authority are the refuge of priests.

Thomas Henry Huxley put it this way: “The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin.”

What keeps science honest, what stops it from succumbing entirely to confirmation bias, is that it is decentralized, allowing one lab to challenge another.

That’s how truth is arrived at in science, not by scientists challenging their own theories (that’s a myth), but by scientists disputing each other’s theories.

These days there is a legion of well paid climate spin doctors. Their job is to keep the debate binary: either you believe climate change is real and dangerous or you’re a denier who thinks it’s a hoax.

But there’s a third possibility they refuse to acknowledge: that it’s real but not dangerous. That’s what I mean by lukewarming, and I think it is by far the most likely prognosis.

I am not claiming that carbon dioxide is not a greenhouse gas; it is.

I am not saying that its concentration in the atmosphere is not increasing; it is.

I am not saying the main cause of that increase is not the burning of fossil fuels; it is.

I am not saying the climate does not change; it does.

I am not saying that the atmosphere is not warmer today than it was 50 or 100 years ago; it is.

And I am not saying that carbon dioxide emissions are not likely to have caused some (probably more than half) of the warming since 1950.

I agree with the consensus on all these points.

I am not in any sense a “denier”, that unpleasant, modern term of abuse for blasphemers against the climate dogma, though the Guardian and New Scientist never let the facts get in the way of their prejudices on such matters. I am a lukewarmer.

Read the whole speech here.

Ganging up on Trump

I photographed a magazine rack yesterday.

The Economist’s cover said “The debasing of American politics” with Trump’s profile as the ass-end of an elephant. The Atlantic’s editorial said “Don’t vote for Trump”. Time magazine said “Total meltdown”, and the New Yorker’s lead was “last chance to train Trump”.

My software does not show the covers as I would like.


I am wondering whether the people of the United States will be more annoyed at being told how to vote by their betters than they will be at Trump for his many faults. At least Trump is capable of outrage at the current situation.

Readers of this blog will do themselves a favour by watching David Stockman on the Max Keiser report of October 6th.  Stockman appears at minute 14:00.

Stockman, who was Ronald Reagan’s budget director, thinks the US central bank has created a huge bubble by its interest rate policy. His comments on Warren Buffett are delicious. “A moderately good insurance fund manager”. Buffett has not increased the value of his share holdings 35 times over by the genius of his investing.  The class war is being won by a few members of the owning classes.

David Stockman’s book, Trumped, is available here. A money shuffling economy has replaced the producing economy. If the doomsters are right, we are in one big fat bubble.






They got the wrong poet



The Nobel Prize in literature this year did not go to a marxist feminist Mayan construct of propaganda, Rigoberta Menchu. It went instead to Bob Dylan, the master of American song forms, bluesman, and chameleon of personae.

Close, but no cigar. In fact, not even close.

Leonard Cohen is incomparably superior as a poet/songwriter.

He remains creative, deep, religious, and musical into his last days.

What I find amusing in Cohen’s middle-aged and older fans is the gap between their secular humanist world view, on the one hand,  and their cheering his religious despair over a godless world, on the other. “Stick it up the hole in your culture”, says Rabbi Cohen, who is telling us that the current state of affairs cannot continue. God will not be mocked. Yet Cohen manages to escape unscathed for giving the world a message that would be ignored and derided if it came from a Protestant clergyman. Is it the humour? Is it the ironic tone? Is it the charm?

When he calls us to repent, he is not kidding; he is not being ironic; he is not being hip, or cool. He is in earnest.


“The Future”

Give me back my broken night
my mirrored room, my secret life
it’s lonely here,
there’s no one left to torture
Give me absolute control
over every living soul
And lie beside me, baby,
that’s an order!
Give me crack and anal sex
Take the only tree that’s left
and stuff it up the hole
in your culture
Give me back the Berlin wall
give me Stalin and St Paul
I’ve seen the future, brother:
it is murder.Things are going to slide, slide in all directions
Won’t be nothing
Nothing you can measure anymore
The blizzard, the blizzard of the world
has crossed the threshold
and it has overturned
the order of the soul
When they said REPENT REPENT
I wonder what they meant
When they said REPENT REPENT
I wonder what they meant
When they said REPENT REPENT
I wonder what they meant

You don’t know me from the wind
you never will, you never did
I’m the little jew
who wrote the Bible
I’ve seen the nations rise and fall
I’ve heard their stories, heard them all
but love’s the only engine of survival
Your servant here, he has been told
to say it clear, to say it cold:
It’s over, it ain’t going
any further
And now the wheels of heaven stop
you feel the devil’s riding crop
Get ready for the future:
it is murder

Things are going to slide …

There’ll be the breaking of the ancient
western code
Your private life will suddenly explode
There’ll be phantoms
There’ll be fires on the road
and the white man dancing
You’ll see a woman
hanging upside down
her features covered by her fallen gown
and all the lousy little poets
coming round
tryin’ to sound like Charlie Manson
and the white man dancin’

Give me back the Berlin wall
Give me Stalin and St Paul
Give me Christ
or give me Hiroshima
Destroy another fetus now
We don’t like children anyhow
I’ve seen the future, baby:
it is murder

Things are going to slide …

When they said REPENT REPENT …

How many unpopular causes are championed in this song? To see the Volvo-drivers cheering Leonard Cohen when I last saw him was a moment of highest irony.

Trump for American Freedom

Win or lose, Trump has done a great service for America. He has exposed the naked oligarchy composed of the top echelons of both political parties, the lapdog media, particularly the dead-tree press, and a corrupted civil service where the Department of Justice has been bought and paid for by the Clinton Mafia, and the FBI cowed into excusing criminal wrongdoing. This oligarchy will stop at nothing to maintain its power.

The lapdog media, long a supporter of the Democratic Party, no longer shows any pretense of news coverage, but acts openly as a foghorn for the Democrats. The manufacture of lies and phoney stories (the Russians are interfering with our election!?) reaches fever pitch as the Clinton shills seek to bully every American voter. Julian Assange’s internet has been shut down by the US to try to stop the flood of emails exposing the crook Clinton. I wonder why the New York Slimes is not rooting for Assange as they did for Ellsberg? Inquiring minds want to know.

Universities in the US are turning from kindergartens for subnormal IQs into fully fledged psychiatric institutions with the patients in charge. Now, every dissenting opinion is “hate”, determined by your local commissar and/or university president to be any opinion not approved by the left.

America needs to dial down its international bully boy tactics by not seeking to overthrow every foreign government it doesn’t like. Talk to Russia and stop threatening war with Russia over their actions in Syria. Cooperate with them to fight Islamic terrorism.

Domestically, stop encouraging mob violence, Black Lives Matter and all the other leftist rabble, and realize that law and order comes before any rational redress of grievances.

Enforce the laws of the land. “Sanctuary cities”, those cities that will not enforce federal immigration laws, are acting in precisely the same way as states that refused to enforce federal laws prior to the Civil War. Undermining the rule of law, almost the Clinton Mafia family motto, is the beginning of the end of civil society.

Who will listen to the average American in the swathes of the country where industry has been annihilated? Or where their health care has disappeared? Or where their schools are factories of ignorance and chaos? Or where their representatives are not wholly owned subsidiaries of the Wall Street banks?

There are no guarantees, but Donald Trump offers, at least, a chance for the nation to start draining the swamp and to let some oxygen into the suffocating PC miasma of Washington politics and to shine some light on the dark empire of Clintonian super-crookdom.

Go, Donald!

Rebel Yell

Best explanation why people support Trump



Trump is their spiked bat to smash their enemies with.

And if you dare complain, some liberal elite will pull out their iPad and type up a rant about your racist white privilege. Already, someone has replied to this with a comment saying, “You should try living in a ghetto as a minority!” Exactly. To them, it seems like the plight of poor minorities is only used as a club to bat away white cries for help. Meanwhile, the rate of rural white suicides and overdoses skyrockets. Shit, at least politicians act like they care about the inner cities.

This summer I listened as otherwise sane members of upper middle class America derided the poor whites of America in terms that exactly mirror those used in the article quoted from What the authors, Ted E. and Carolyn Burke,  say is not an exaggeration.

I have never in my life seen a political struggle that so closely paralleled the optimates versus the plebs in ancient Rome. Caesar is coming.

Anti-Russian Hysteria

With the Syrian civil war grinding on into its fifth year, with little sign of the end in sight, hysteria has broken out in Washington and spread to a number of vassal states in NATO. Russia is a “pariah state”, engaging in “war crimes”, bombing hospitals and medical convoys, and lest they forgot, eating baby kittens. As we all know, American bombs never kill civilians.

Why the sudden hate campaign against Russia?

Whatever one thinks of the Syrian regime, it remains a fact that Assad’s government is the only legitimate government in what remains of the country. Syria has for many years had an agreement with the Russians (dating back to the days of the Soviet Union) whereby Russia has a military base in Syria, almost the only military base Russia has outside the homeland. Contrast this with the nearly 800 (!) military bases the Americans have around the world in other countries.

Further, for almost three years, the Russians did nothing there whilst al-Qaida, Islamic State and a swarm of other Muslim terrorist bandit armies fought to oust Assad. The Syrian government requested help and the Russians responded with limited air support for Syrian ground operations. At first, only about 50 aircraft were deployed to Syria. The Russians notified the Americans of their intentions to avoid any potential conflicts between their air forces.

Over the past year, the Syrian forces under Assad have made slow, but steady progress against their rivals backed by Russian aircraft. Now, the battle is focused on Aleppo. If Aleppo falls to the Syrian forces, it would be a major step forward for Assad and a heavy loss for the various Islamic terrorist armies.

Also, it would demonstrate the utter failure of American foreign policy in the Middle East and the bankruptcy of the Obama/Clinton world view. The recent blather of a ‘no-fly zone’ over Syria means that the Americans think they can tell the Russians what to do. Perhaps they don’t know that Moscow does not take orders from Washington? Despite the continuous ham-fisted politics of the Obama administration, an embryonic peace deal was reached between Foreign Minister Lavrov and Secretary Kerry a few weeks ago.

Then surprise, surprise, American aircraft attacked parts of the Syrian forces that were not even involved in the fighting, which attack was followed directly by an attack of Islamic State forces. The Americans claimed it was all a mistake.

That was a lie. The US Air Force is not that incompetent. It was no mistake. The attack was engineered to undermine the agreement. The Russians were left with no alternative but to continue backing their ally.

Here would have been a chance for the Americans to get together with the Russians and cooperate in destroying Islamic State, which is a threat to all civilized nations. Instead, the Americans have launched into full-scale hysteria about Russia in an attempt to divert attention from their failed strategies in the Middle East. Clinton foreign policy in Libya resulted in the destruction of much of that country’s infrastructure, destruction of the state order by killing Qaddafi, and then simply walking away, leaving the Libyans to fall prey to every Islamic terrorist gang in the region. The doctrine of ‘regime change’, that is, overthrowing any government in any country to suit the desires of the Wall Street banks, has brought nothing but destruction and chaos to those nations subjected to it.  It was tried again in Egypt with the Muslim Brotherhood (which Obama supported), but luckily for the Egyptians, the army was able to save the day. Why would any country ever want the Americans to do anything to ‘help’?

Obama’s record is that he has supported all the worst elements of Islam in the Middle East. Assad can see what they did to Libya, so why has he any reason to listen to Washington?

As soon as the current regime in Washington starts jabbering about international law, you can be sure that they are about to violate what little there is left of it. No doubt the choices in the Middle East are between bad and awful, but the current neocon nonsense being spoken about Russia and Syria is making matters even worse.

Don’t forget that Russia fought a war against this type of nation-destroying terrorism in Chechnya, and won it. Without any help from outside. Actually, with hindrance from outside as the Americans were surreptitiously supporting the terrorists—just review some of the actions and words of the then Secretary of State, Madeleine Not-so-Bright. Grozny, pounded into rubble in the war, has since been completely rebuilt. I wonder if the Americans will do the same in Libya?

Rebel Yell

America’s Lying Media

How have the mighty fallen? Far, far. America, during the 20th century, was a beacon of freedom and a light to all the nations who had to suffer under communism and other assorted tyrannies.
As the hysteria of the election reaches fever pitch, insults and innuendo fly with abandon. The War against Trump, and ordinary Americans, fueled by the leadership of both parties, the Washington Beltway parasites and their army of wormtongues in the media, will stop at nothing to see that their candidate, the Crook Clinton, slithers into the White House.

Racist, xenophobe, Islamophobe, deplorable,…ad nauseam, flow from the media everyday in their attempts to defeat Trump. Rational debate with the political class is now impossible. Any questioning of the status quo is met with this same temper tantrum in the media. Late-night TV talk shows, with their unfunny comedians, have degenerated into frat-boy humor, without the charm. The major newspapers, as they call themselves, the New York Slimes, Washington Pravda etc. have become the open mouthpieces of the propaganda arm of the Democratic Party; they no longer pretend to be reporting the news.

One remark made by Trump in a private conversation ten years ago, recorded without consent, seems to be more important than Clinton’s disastrous record in government. Apparently, the destruction of Libya and the murder of Gaddafi followed by the Benghazi Affair and Clinton’s copious lies about it, are chalked up as “experience in foreign affairs” by her media lackeys.

The years of Bill Clinton’s rape-fest and assaults on women were consistently covered up by the media, and then excused when found out. Hillary’s protection of him belies her prattle of defending women’s rights. Remember the “bimbo eruptions”?

The recent email scandal demonstrated the corruption of the Department of Justice and the FBI. Betraying the country’s secrets and then lying about it (sorry, I don’t recall) and getting away with it has been grist for the Trump mill, but the media wormtongues have done their best to try to obfuscate at all times.

The Clinton Foundation, an enormous slush fund, receives millions of dollars from those bastions of women’s rights like Saudi Arabia and Qatar. No problem here as the Clinton’s have never been concerned about common decency.

The media have always claimed that they “speak the truth to power”. Now, they are the power. We know what they are—the toadies of the Washington establishment and its neocon fanatics. In unison, they repeat the propaganda. After one Trump speech, all the media lambasted it as “dark” and “divisive”; TV, newspapers, all repeating, word-for-word, what their masters ordered. The same is true with many of the fatuous fake “polls” we hear so much about. “Polls say Clinton leads by…” When you dig out the information, it’s a poll conducted by a Clinton propaganda PAC of a few hundred people, mostly Democrats, of no consequence at all, but repeated endlessly in every news-rag from Washington to Blown Skull.

Need I continue? A nation that has protection of the freedom of the press as the first amendment to its constitution is now thinking of trying to suppress the Russian news networks and deny access by Americans to them over the cable networks and the Internet (here). I doubt that this will ever work, but let me say candidly, Russia Today is, quite simply, a better news organization than pretty much anything in the US media. It may reflect the Russian government’s position on many things, but the American media do the same. Furthermore, RT has more interesting politicians, interviews and reporting from actual reporters on the ground than anything in the US. The BBC in Britain is standard left-wing propaganda all the time; and it is financed by a poll tax (called a “licence fee”). The same is true of the news media of many other nations.

I’ll make up my own mind, as will you, and not be lectured by any state commissar as to which news I will read and watch. The Internet is the greatest force for freedom since the printing press, ergo, expect the war against freedom to be carried out there.

This election campaign has been the most bitter for a long time because so much is at stake. In a word, freedom. It is a sad commentary on America, with its guarantees of protected freedoms, that its media are now subservient to its ruling class.
As for the election, expect the Establishment media to be spitting poison against Trump every day until election day.

Rebel Yell

Alan Turing




I have just plowed through Andrew Hodgesdefinitive biography of Alan Turing, the British mathematician who devised the computer, the first application of which was to break the German Enigma codes.

I recommend it, despite its drawbacks.  Hodges writes from a position that is so deeply inside of British culture and assumptions as to be difficult to understand even for an English-speaking outsider. He is a mathematician himself, teaches at a university, and is capable of explaining the science and maths which formed the core of Turing’s concerns. As his website makes clear, he is (or was) an advocate for the  liberation of homosexuality from its ongoing social and former legal prisons.

It is scarcely credible that until the 1970s homosexual acts in Britain were illegal, as they were nearly everywhere else, that is to say, they would get you punished by law for engaging in. Turing himself was prosecuted two years before his suicide in 1954, although it should be clear that his death came a year after his probation period was over.

Two enormous transformations have occurred since the time of Alan Turing. One has been the penetration of computers in every corner of our lives, and the second has been the two sexual revolutions. The use of the plural is deliberate. One was the (hetero)sexual revolution, the other was the homosexual revolution, which in my view came about a decade later. We tend to forget that our mothers and  older sisters were  subject to strict sexual oversight and segregation before the widespread use of the birth control pill. Girls were allowed to attend university, all right, but they tended to be locked away at night in guarded dormitories. The age-old social restrictions on females  vanished like snow in spring once it became possible for them to control their fertility. We take too easily for granted the scale of the transformation since the 1950s.

I think the two revolutions are deeply related events, in that the hetero majority was hardly able to condemn recreational sex for those inclined to same-sex activity when it was beginning to enjoy widespread reproductive, and therefore sexual, liberation for itself.

As for the computer revolution, if you wish to see its effects, look around you. Its transformative  importance does not need to be argued.

Alan Turing was a supreme individualist. He never wanted to join a group, upset society, start a revolution, be important, or be in the public eye. All he wanted was to pursue his intellectual and sexual interests. Turing’s moral compass was very sure, and in the end, he was, by about the age of forty, unable and unwilling to dissimulate further. I am reminded of Solzhenitsyn’s comment that “communism would not last a day if every soviet citizen merely spoke the truth”. You can replace the word “communism” with almost any label you like, and the one I would insert there is “the tyranny of sexual hypocrisy”. Alan Turing’s life  reminds us that we are our own kind of KGB, and I do not see any end of its reach or duration, because we embrace and enforce sexual hypocrisy ourselves.



Suetonius provides guidance



When I turned to Drudge Report for the latest on the Hillary versus Trump debacle, I saw the headlines about  Trump laying bare the sordid sexual goings on of the first Clinton President. I was immediately reminded of that astonishing piece of scandalous history: Suetonius’ The Twelve Caesars.

Suetonius wrote the definitive report on the political, familial and sexual goings-on of the first twelve Caesars, the men who held near absolute power over the Empire. Names like Trajan, Nero, and Caligula ought to remind you of the scale of the depravity. One of the early emperors retired to the Isle of Capri, to which he had imported flocks of young children skilled in the arts of satisfying the sexual appetites of a man who had no limits on the capacity to indulge his tastes. Nero organized a gay marriage to one of his hunky German bodyguards, after murdering his mother – and she probably deserved it. The wife of the Emperor Claudius held orgies at the palace while hubby was busy administering the Empire, and all Rome knew of it for years before she was caught and executed with her paramours. Caligula was a very sick puppy. And so forth.

It ought not to surprize us then that the first Clinton president was and is a satyr, that, in his words, his wife has eaten more pussy than he has, or that, according to some reports, Obama is an active bisexual. John F. Kennedy shagged bimbos every day while Jacqueline Kennedy looked the other way, and he also took a large amount of painkillers and other medicines for back pain, thyroid problems, and hidden decrepitude. Lyndon Johnson boasted of his huge penis and shagged his way through Washington. About the only Presidents who behaved themselves while in office were the two Bushes and Jimmy Carter. The elder Bush was the soul of decency and the younger Bush achieved stability only after giving up alcohol and cocaine and taking to Jesus. Nixon was paranoid, alcoholic and possibly tormented by the repression of his homosexual impulses. Conrad Black’s excellent biography of Nixon relates that  the chief functions of Haldemann and Kissinger at times were to protect the American civil service from the drunken ravings of the President, who had holed himself up in the Executive Office with the blinds of his windows closed and stayed there drunk and unshaven for days. And we all know what a ghastly smarmy hypocrite Jimmy Carter was, parading about with his empty suitcase while pretending he carried his own baggage.

With the exception of the Bushes I would not invite any of them for dinner.

And so what?

Would any of our lives pass muster before a full disclosure of our sexual activities on the front pages of the newspaper?

In any age of digital cameras the ability to hide one’s sex life rests entirely on not taking pictures, and not being around digital cameras, which is nearly impossible. After all, when the session with your lover is over, you have to call a taxi to get back to your spouse, and a camera is now a telephone, and keeps track of where you have been.

Perhaps more importantly, the time it takes for sexual innuendo and scandal to be confirmed and written about is getting shorter. Thus the kind of private or tightly held information that used to be spoken about among the political cognoscenti – such as who is gay or not can now reach the tabloids and their Internet equivalents (Drudge report) within weeks or months, or days.

If Suetonius is to be relied upon, and I think he is, there is nothing new in scandalous behaviour. It is that, as America declines, its Presidents are behaving more and more like ….Caesars.