Notre Dame and Lateral Thinking 413


France is a country which has spent hundreds of billions of euros on nuclear Weapons of Mass Destruction, and hundreds of billions of euros on other military capabilities. France possesses the technological capability to utterly flatten a city the size of Paris in minutes. Yet it does not possess the technological capability to prevent one of its greatest buildings from being destroyed by fire.

If the many trillions spent all around the world on the research, development and production of instruments of destruction had been devoted to peaceful purposes instead, what new technologies might we have now? It is not a huge step in lateral thinking to imagine that in such a world, more might have been available to save Notre Dame – and Grenfell – than too short ladders and hoses squirting water.

I posted this simple idea on twitter a couple of hours ago. As with all my twitter posts, right wing trolls came in to dispute my point very quickly. Their posts are worth reading because they so stunningly miss the point. They talk about standard lengths of firefighting ladders and about water pressure. They appear completely unable to even register, let alone extrapolate from, the notion that had the resources mankind has squandered on agents of destruction been better used, we might have different technologies.

John Stuart Mill once stated in parliament: “I did not mean that Conservatives are generally stupid; I meant, that stupid persons are generally conservative. I believe that to be so obvious and undeniable a fact that I hardly think any hon. Gentleman will question it.” I have always believed that right wing “thought” is a misnomer, and right wing views are rather characterised by absence of meaningful intellectual activity. Furthermore, those touted as right wing “thinkers”, such as Roger Scruton, Patrick Minford or David Starkey, if studied with any rigour, are the greatest proof of this. But it is seldom that you see such clear evidence as the responses to that little tweet. If I had devised that tweet as an experiment to demonstrate the hypothesis of the intellectual incapacity of the conservative mind, it could not have worked better.

My condolences to all for the loss of a great building. One day, perhaps mankind will learn that we do not in reality defend what we have by spending vast amounts of our available resources and capacity for communal activity in preparing to destroy as much as we are physically capable of destroying.


413 thoughts on “Notre Dame and Lateral Thinking

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  • Sharp Ears

    have been watching Milord Patten of Barnes holding forth to the Foreign Affairs Committee (chairman Tugenhadt) on China’s Domestic and Foreign Policy. It was mostly anti Chinese rhetoric. He holds a typically superior Western view. Kept hearing the word ‘regime’ being mentioned.

    I see he is no longer on Bridgepoint Capital’s European Board, on which he resided with Lord Rose and Alan Milburn! The latter two are still there raking it in. Bridgepoint is a giant US private equity outfit. The record below therefore needs revising.

    His other interests as currently listed on the Parliament website:
    Category 1: Directorships
    Non-executive Director, Russell Reynolds Associates Inc (company research)
    Category 2: Remunerated employment, office, profession etc.
    Member, European Advisory Board, Bridgepoint (private equity group)
    Occasional income from writing and speaking engagements
    Member, International Advisory Board of BP (energy)
    Adviser, Hutchison Europe (telecomms, property, transport)
    Member of Advisory Council of Vontobel Asset Management (fixed annual fee)
    Category 10: Non-financial interests (b)
    Chancellor, Oxford University
    Category 10: Non-financial interests (e)
    International Adviser, Praemium Imperiale, Japan Art Association
    Trustee, the Tablet Journal

    However, he does not delare his directorship and trusteeship of the Oxford Russia Fund, a company and a charity with income and spending of over £3m. I haven’t checked where the money comes from. HMG?

    Getting them young –
    ‘OXFORD RUSSIA FUND
    THE MAIN ACTIVITY OF THE CHARITY IS TO ADVANCE EDUCATION IN THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION THROUGH THE PROVISION OF SCHOLARSHIPS TO STUDENTS AND THE MAKING OF DONATIONS TO EDUCATIONAL ESTABLISHMENTS. THE CHARITY FOCUSES ON GRANTS TO RUSSIAN UNIVERSITIES FOR THE PROVISION OF SCHOLARSHIPS AND THE DISTRIBUTION OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE ACADEMIC BOOKS TO RUSSIAN UNIVERSITIES.’
    http://opencharities.org/charities/1108957

    Odious lot inc some of the committee members including Clwyd and Patel.
    The report:
    https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/foreign-affairs-committee/news-parliament-2017/china-international-rules-report-published-17-19/

  • Sharp Ears

    A terrible slaughter.

    Sri Lanka church and hotel explosions: at least 100 killed and hundreds injured – live
    Explosions hit three hotels and three churches in and around Colombo as well as at Batticaloa in the east of the country
    • Full report: many killed and injured in church and hotel explosions
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/live/2019/apr/21/sri-lanka-explosions-dozens-killed-and-hundreds-injured-in-church-and-hotel-blasts

    Sri Lanka. A destination of choice for Liam Fox and Adam Werritty in 2011.

    Adam Werritty and Liam Fox’s Sri Lankan connections
    Defence secretary’s friend was familiar sight to network of diplomats, politicians and journalists https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2011/oct/13/adam-werritty-liam-fox-sri-lanka

    The PM has tweeted:
    Ranil Wickremesinghe
    45 minutes ago
    I strongly condemn the cowardly attacks on our people today. I call upon all Sri Lankans during this tragic time to remain united and strong. Please avoid propagating unverified reports and speculation. The government is taking immediate steps to contain this situation.

  • Paul Barbara

    ‘Notre Dame: the cause of the fire remains a mystery’: https://solidariteetprogres.fr/actualites-001/notre-dame-la-cause-de-l-incendie.html
    Benjamin Mouton , the former chief architect of the Historical Monuments in charge of Notre Dame from 2000 to 2013, is very surprised at the rapid spread of the fire, because unlike most commentators he explains that such old hard timber does not easily catch fire.
    He deliberately declines to blame arson, but it seems clear to me that he does suspect that as a strong possibility.

    • Sharp Ears

      The lawyers did alright here. No wonder that there’s a saying – ‘a lawyers’ paradise’.

      ‘The UK government used more than £11 million in public funds to fight a lawsuit that sought compensation and an apology for the government’s role in the 2004 rendition of Libyan militant Abdel Hakim Belhaj.
      Government lawyers were paid a total of £4.4 million for working the case, while Belhaj’s counsel received £6.9 million, all drawn from state funds, a Freedom of Information request revealed.

      The huge expense shows the lengths the government went to to resist Belhaj’s suit, which, in addition to a formal apology and monetary redress, also demanded the prosecution of a British intelligence officer involved in the rendition.’

      RT website

  • michael norton

    Notre-Dame scaffolding workers admit to smoking on the roof of Notre-Dame minutes before the huge blaze.
    https://www.sbs.com.au/news/notre-dame-scaffolding-workers-admit-to-smoking-on-the-job-before-blaze
    A spokesman for family-owned Le Bras Freres, confirming a report in French weekly Le Canard Enchaine, told Reuters that some workers of its Europe Echafaudage scaffolding unit had informed police that they had “sometimes” smoked on the scaffolding, despite a smoking ban on the site.

    I do hope these smokers are being given the third degree by the police?

    • michael norton

      I will name a Golan town after Trump, says Israel’s Netanyahu
      https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-48031045
      Mr Netanyahu said the move would honour Mr Trump’s recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan in March.

      Israel seized the Golan from Syria in 1967 and annexed the territory in 1981. The move has not been recognised internationally.

      Syria said Mr Trump’s decision was “a blatant attack on its sovereignty”.

      I can not see how letting Israel get way with stealing the Golan,
      is going to end well.

  • sam

    Does anyone else think that its odd the 800 year old oak took fire so fast and burnt yellow? that few fire engines arrived?, that they ruled out arson before the flames had been quelled, that the statues had coincidently all been removed prior to the fire because of renovatons, that the 2 guards permanently on duty to check for fire had not been found?, etc, good timing for Macron however with his yellow vest problems. Now he can ‘unify’ the country over Notre Dame!

  • AnnMz

    I’ve heard that a donation to La fondation patrimoine to help with the rebuild of Notre Dame is tax deductible by 66% and the french authorities overall only get a third of the amount net.
    Believe it or not, I saw that fire in my dream two weeks before. Then I did not understand what the Cathedral is burning, but later saw in the news. And the week before that, I was looking through [url=https://tranio.com/france/detached/]real estate listings[/url] to buy a house in France. Is that a coincidence or am I psychic?

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