Sunday, 30 March 2008

A Glossary of Terms: Part Two

Here are some more useful terms, with examples of usage in context.


* noun; Greek, "porne" ("whore") + "kratos" ("rule"); hence "pornocrat", etc.

A pornocracy is a society organised around the notion that all human relationships ought to be motivated by market values and conditioned by market forces. The pornocrat believes that no aspect of human existence is above being made an object of commercial exchange and that, in fact, everything lying outside the reach of commodity exchange is inherently worthless.

The pornocrat's ultimate ambition is to elevate the act of prostitution to the level of a cultural ideal. Pornocrats typically refer to themselves as "libertarians", "classical liberals", "free-market fundamentalists" or "conservatives".

Conservatives tend to hate the idea of public health care, since it violates fundamental pornocratic principles. For one thing, no shareholders are making piles of cash at the expense of sick people.

"To Terminate, With Extreme Prescience":

* verbal phrase; modified form of pop culture reference.

One terminates with extreme prescience when one employs an elementary grasp of logic to predict the disastrous consequences of a plan premised upon malice, ignorance, and deception. Sadly, such terminators are usually denounced as "appeasers" and "traitors"... shortly before being proven right.

Eric Margolis debated Christopher Hitchens on the merits of the Iraq invasion . Hitchens' views were terminated, with extreme prescience.


* noun; Greek, "kako" (evil, ugly) + "philos" (lover, friend); hence "cacophilist", etc.

Cacophilia is a devotion to the ugly, the stupid, the vulgar, and the worthless. It represents the inversion of the traditional Western idealisation of the beautiful, the graceful, and the good.

Organised Cacophilism had been a marginal feature of Western civilisation until very recently, when the "American Century" ushered in a new, revolutionary era of ugliness, vulgarity and idiocy. Its current patron saints are Paris Hilton and Britney Spears, two of the leading exponents of that charming American invention--"slut chic".

Given the hordes of twelve-year-old girls who appear to be encouraged to dress like buck-a-suck crack-hoes, a substantial number of Canadian parents seem to be deeply committed to the spread of radical cacophilia. Shame.


Ryan said...

I just posted on something similar to this two minutes ago. I'm beginning to pick up a theme for modern discontent. Pornocracy--brilliant word for the mindset of modernity. Everything is for sale, even the most sacred of human acts--sex--to the highest bidder.

Sir Francis said...

Pornocracy--brilliant word for the mindset of modernity.

I've been using the term for a number of years, thinking it was my own coining. It's actually in the OED (which I consulted a few minutes before writing the post). It was originally applied to 10th-Century Rome. Who knew?

Red Tory said...

I think the term “modernity” here might be unjustly abused. Maybe I derive different connotations from it than you do.

Ryan said...

I don't know. I was thinking modernity ala Ezra Pound & "make it new," i.e. faith in all "progress."

It would be hard for a "progressive" to eschew the modern world completely and long for a past age.

Rome is a good comparison, I think. Imperial, decadent, and in the process of decay.

Aeneas the Younger said...


When a tory refers negatively to modernity, it does not necessarily mean that we reject all things and developments of the modern - capitalist - age. Rejection of all things modern is the hallmark of the reactionary.

At its simplest, modernity is a shorthand term for modern society or industrial civilization. Portrayed in more detail, it is associated with (1) a certain set of attitudes towards the world, the idea of the world as open to transformation by human intervention; (2) a complex of economic institutions, especially industrial production and a market economy; (3) a certain range of political institutions, including the nation-state and mass democracy. Largely as a result of these characteristics, modernity is vastly more dynamic than any previous type of social order. It is a society—more technically, a complex of institutions—which unlike any preceding culture lives in the future rather than the past. (Giddens 1998, 94)


What we tories tend to deride and regret is any development that dismisses the linkage between the past, present, and future, which for a real conservative is the real social contract of civil society. This points to the Burkean ideal of society as "a contract between the living, the dead and those who are yet to be born."

Liberalism and Capitalism share no fondness for the received wisdom of the past. They in fact, are a rejection of that past. For a Canadian conservative, it makes sense that it was the LPC that turned it's back on Britain at Suez (and sided with the Americans), and created a new national flag devoid of any symbols of the Canadian past.

As Schumpeter pointed out, capitalism is a very destructive force. Creatively destructive - yes, but destructive nonetheless. Conscious conservatives know this and attempt to use the State as a bulwark against the domination of civil society by corporations, trusts and the capitalist classes. Our intent is not to derail, for one cannot derail society, but to slow it down in the interests of civil order.

Aeneas the Younger said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aeneas the Younger said...

So, Britney and Paris are merely the window dresssing that is the capitalist ethic.

The LPC also effected the Unifcation of the Armed Forces in 1968 - destroying the regimental system and the tradition and pride in that system that saw us through the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Rebellions, the Fenian Raids, the Metis Rebellions, the South-African War, the Great War, the Second World War, and Korea.

All that history and tradition - swept aside for the sake of bureaucratic convenience. How typically liberal.

One does not need to come from a Military Family to see how undermining hundreds of years of tradition in one stroke of the pen in 1968 is not only irrational, but a symptom of the disorder. I use it as an illustration of the problem. What gave them the right to turn their backs on the dead?

Ryan said...


The flag features the maple leaf, a national-natural-geographic symbol that all Canadians can share. Not just those of Anglo-Celtic heritage (yes, yes, I know Quebec is on there too).

Though I know what you mean. ;)

Aeneas the Younger said...


Iam older than you!

I have heard westerners complain even about the Maple Leaf! Not too many Maple Trees west of Sault Ste. Marie.

The point is, in 1964-65 a flag was selected that incorporated none of the imagery and iconoography of Canada as it was at that time, like it or not. It is an example.

A more symbolic statement of liberal principles could not have been made.

Turning our back on the past does not mean it did not exist. It is part, and should be part, of our cultural DNA.

Ryan said...

I dunno. I've seen maple leafs in British Columbia ;), and I'm not really sure what could be a symbol all Canadians could share (mosquitoes?). Though to be fair, the only unique single symbol of Canada (bar the composite of the rest) on the old ensign is the maple leaf. Bottom of the shield, I believe.

As I said, I know what you mean. Perhaps there could have been a better, historically conscious, more universal design. Crown maybe, in the middle or something?

I'm pretty attached to the flag now, though. I feel as if it has gained historic relevance that it may not have had in '65.

Aeneas the Younger said...


I don't dispute that, but that point is.

Red Tory said...

ATY — I rarely take things “whole” and prefer instead to pick certain elements out them that I find attractive, necessary or that suit my tastes. So, when it comes to “modernity” I can admire it for its “futuristic” and almost romantic celebration of speed, power and dynamism, etc. or the elegance of Frank Lloyd Wright’s minimalism and that sort of thing, while rejecting other aspects that I find aesthetically sterile, inhuman or painfully displeasing.

The city in which you now happen to presently live is kind of an interesting case study in modernity gone wrong. For many years, the prevailing civic philosophy in Edmonton was to tear down its old buildings and cart what few bits of its historical legacy off to a bizarre “theme park” on the outskirts of the city where the local rubes could gawk at the past as if it were some kind of odd, perverse sort of curiosity.

If you have a few moments, Google “Tegler Building” and behold the travesty of civic idiocy that allowed this lovely old building to be pulled down and replaced with a hideously drab glass and metal box housing the local Bank of Montreal. Fact of the matter is that this was a second-rate design actually rejected by their office in Winnipeg and got pawned off instead to Edmonton! How pathetic is that?

Also, Edmonton has the dubious distinction of having what is arguably the most hideous City Hall… twice over! The last one that was built in the 50’s was dreadful and the new one isn’t much of an improvement.

Red Tory said...

ATY — I find these arguments over the Canadian flag kind of amusing. You do know what the flag of England is, no? It’s not cluttered up with any heraldic doo-dads or needlessly busied with lard-buckets of archaic, patronizing symbolism… No. It’s a cross… a quite simple, plain red cross. That’s it. Dead easy.

So, to me, as an ex-pat citizen with no deep roots in Canada, the present flag is perfectly fine — quite wonderfully ingenious, in fact.

Ryan said...

"I rarely take things “whole” and prefer instead to pick certain elements out them that I find attractive, necessary or that suit my tastes. So, when it comes to “modernity” I can admire it for its “futuristic” and almost romantic celebration of speed, power and dynamism, etc. or the elegance of Frank Lloyd Wright’s minimalism and that sort of thing, while rejecting other aspects that I find aesthetically sterile, inhuman or painfully displeasing."

The "middle-path" in a nutshell. Personally, both liberal and conservative ideologies are too polemic to explain history or chart the course for the future. "Red Toryism" is interesting to me in this regard because it has occasionally struck that particular balance, ie Robert Stanfield, George Grant etc.

Aeneas the Younger said...

The Flag Debate is an example, Reddo. And a revealing one. That is all ...

Sir Francis said...


You do know what the flag of England is, no?...It’s a cross… a quite simple, plain red cross. That’s it. Dead easy

The flag of England is just a cross, but the Union flag is composed of three crosses (of St. George, St. Andrew, and St. Patrick) superimposed one on the other. That flag's symbolism is fairly clear (though the cross of St. Patrick has become somewhat of an anomaly).

I've been known to complain about the semantic barrenness of our flag (as did Dief and others during the debate), but we reactionaries are forgetting that the maple leaf had been used as an emblem by our armed forces for generations before Pearson picked it up. In fact, Pearson maintained that the maple leaf's association with our martial history was part of his rationale. That's good enough for me.

I've a sentimental attachment to the old ensign, and I wish it had been made the official emblem of our Forces (thus replacing the maple leaf in an elegant and compensatory exchange), but quite a few provinces retained it for their provincial flags, so all was not lost.

Red Tory said...

SF — Yes, I realize that, which is why I referenced the English flag specifically, as opposed to the Union Jack, because the flag of St. George is quite barren and entirely devoid of the frivolous ornamentation and heraldic frippery that some find appealing in the “Red Ensign” (which I quite like, by the way…)

Personally, I’m very happy with the flag of my own province because it strikes perfect balance between past (in the form of the Union Jack) the present (in the form of the tidal, pacific waves) and the future (in the form of the gloriously blazing sun). Take that ATY!

Aeneas the Younger said...


The Cross of St. Patrick is not anamolous, as Northern Ireland is still part of the Union.

Sir Francis said...


Yes, that's why I said somewhat anomalous.

The fact remains: quite aside from the geo-political status quo, you'd have to hunt far and wide before finding an Ulsterite who feels connected to the notion of St. Patrick, or his flag. They do not consider themselves (nor are they) Irish, as you know.