Wednesday, 21 December 2022 15:39

In solidarity with the people: Conservative Clerihews

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In solidarity with the people: Conservative Clerihews

Conservative Thinkers: thirty clerihews

by Chris Norris

Thomas Hobbes
So feared violent mobs
That he wrote De Cive
To leave them no leeway.

Edmund Burke
Said revolt couldn’t work –
Told a sanguinary story
So we wouldn’t vote Tory.

Pitt the Elder
Is thought to have held a
Deep grudge toward George III,
Who heartily concurred.

Pitt the Younger
Was a great power-monger,
A description that fits
Son and Dad – it’s the Pitts!’

Benjamin Disraeli
Took time off daily
So that he could scribble
A few lines of Sybil.

Alexis de Tocqueville
Thought the US was Shockville
While lifting his hat
To the word ‘democrat’.

Let’s not say hypocrisy
But a sense of ‘democracy’
Not overly inclined
To keep poor folk in mind.

Otto von Bismarck
Knew how to leave his mark
On German history:
Kick-start it – no mystery!

Still his reputation
As saviour of the nation
Came under strain
When he annexed Alsace-Lorraine.

Thomas Carlyle
Had the hectoring style
To beat Robert de Niro’s
Most swashbuckling heroes.

Lord Acton
Never once slacked on
His big theme: state power
Made free men cower.

Roger Scruton
Wouldn’t sit on a futon –
Said ‘Chesterfield settee
Or nothing for me!’

Leo Strauss
Kept a bawdy-house,
The one rule: that all punters
Be subtext-hunters.

Robert Nozick
Was quite virtuosic
At dating girls late
In his night-watchman state.

Ayn Rand
Was a bit underhand
In ensuring they plugged
Atlas Shrugged.

Irving Kristol
Jumped the starter’s pistol:
In no time he’d gone
From far-left to neo-con.

Friedman, Milton
Said justice was built on
Robin Hood in reverse:
Stuff the rich guy’s purse!

Friedrich von Hayek
Told his followers ‘By heck,
We’ll get them to junk
All that socialist bunk’.

William F. Buckley
Was unarmed, luckily –
Else Vidal-gore
Might have spattered the floor.

T.S. Eliot, poet,
Said ‘Feeling? Don’t show it –
What you happen to feel
Is no big deal’.

Besides, Thomas Stearns
Thought private concerns
Needn’t get their old hook in
Once God got a look-in.

‘If the peanut gallery
Root for Viv, then Valerie
Can use the Cats cash
To settle their hash.’

Thus the blessed T.S.,
Now freed from all stress,
Bade his muse: ‘Now let’s
Write my Four Quartets!’

Anthony Quinton
Looked somewhat asquint on
The least sign or token
Of college-rules broken.

Alasdair MacIntyre
Was a great supplier
Of antique faith-recliners,
Main source: Aquinas.

Hark awhile to John Gray:
He’s some dark things to say,
But don’t listen too hard
Or you’ll be psychically scarred.

Maurice Cowling
Set the liberals howling,
Though Enoch and Co.
Gave his ideas a go.

All the high-table scowling
And dog-whistle Powelling
Went down a treat
With the Peterhouse elite.

Raymond Aron
Steered clear of a bar on
The side of Montmartre
Frequented by Sartre.

Dinesh D’Souza’s
The scourge of all losers,
Hispanic or black:
He’s all right, Jack!

Jacob Rees-Mogg
Got it on with a dog.
It complied, duly heeding
His superior breeding.

Ferdinand Mount
Said ‘On no account
Give my books a bad press
(Signed: Editor, TLS)’.

Read 793 times Last modified on Wednesday, 21 December 2022 15:52
Christopher Norris

Christopher Norris is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Cardiff. He is the author of more than thirty books on aspects of philosophy, politics, literature, the history of ideas, and music.

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