Not a few people will have noticed the wordplays running through the UK’s student protests last week (I arrived in London just after these events). To begin with, students targetted Tory headquarters in Millbank:

Give or take an ‘l’, we all know that Milbank is a pseudonym for Alasdair MacLagan. However, the students seem to have taken a dislike to Alasdair, offering a more vigorous form of argumentation:

It was not that long ago that Maclagan and his protégée, Phillip Blond, were touting the virtues of ‘red toryism’. Other terms come to mind these days, like Tory Pigs:

Or Dickhead Tories:

The only things red about them, as AA suggests, seem to be the flames of burning effigies:

All the same, it is great to see the return to community values, the ‘big society’, the moral economy and popular custom, touted by Blond, Maclagan et al.

Deane Galbraith, of Dunedin School infamy, but now on the reputable Religion Bulletin blog. A very, juicy post on a tubby, monkishly smirking John Milbank, the new Chair of the Committee for the Reconstruction of Christendom.

With all the fun over Alasdair Maclagan, it seemed to slip everyone’s notice that Milbank’s full name is Alasdair John Milbank. So then, anyone know his mother’s maiden name?

A good number slipped over to Scribd to read the earlier version of the red tory piece, but there is now a revised and thereby much better version now up.

Soon to come out in the Bulletin for the Study of Religion, a pre-publication of our piece on Red Toryism. Some reading while I am away from those blanketing waves of  internet and mobile-phone connectivity.

This is fucking crazy (forgive my Bulgarian) and just slightly idolatrous:

[The church] is the continued event of the ingestion of the body of Christ

And yes, it’s the desperately frenetic Alasdair Maclagan (who knows deep down that Theology and Social Theory was his only good book)  slagging off against Adam Kotsko of An und für sich. Actually, the worst of it is the sign of someone well past his prime dismissing any new work as worthless and unable to recognise, graciously, something far smarter than his own limited capacities.

Update: The Dunedin School has taken this to its reductio ad absurdum to argue: a) this means that the church is Christ’s poo; b) that theology, since it can arise only from the church, is therefore the poo that comes from the poo of the church. However, at this point, the DSs get it wrong, arguing that Christ is the final step of this scatotheology. No, Christ is the source, the original nourishment that produces excrement in the first place (the church), of which theology is thereby the secondary product.

Alasdair Maclagan, John Milbank and Philip Blond are now operating in a threesome, as in this latest piece on the inequality of virtue. The left, they argue, should embrace

the “old Tory” view that privilege is not just reward for success, but also a way of providing the appropriate resources for the wielding of power linked to virtue. By virtue we mean here a combination of talent, fitness for a specific social role, and a moral exercise of that role for the benefit of wider society.

They are after a ‘justifiable inequality’ that seeks ‘to link social and economic prestige with virtue’, for then ‘we can hope for good financial and political leaders ­possessed of compassion and integrity’.

The problem with these guys is that they think they are offering new, lateral solutions to a perceived crisis (which, I might add, is pretty much restricted to zones on the world like the UK), but they are actually trotting out a tired mish-mash of ideas.

And the definition of virtue – ‘a combination of talent, fitness for a specific social role, and a moral exercise of that role for the benefit of wider society’ – stinks not merely of feudal hierarchies but of Plato and Aristotle. Both of them were archly anti-democratic, hated the rabble doing anything other than picking potatoes or functioning as cannon fodder, and felt in their bones that goodness, virtue, beauty and truth and were seamlessly connected with wealth, status, aristocratic birth – and, of course, the right to rule.

So … be always suspicious of the self-proclaimed virtuous, since they’ll knife you, have their way with your pets and fleece you for what little you own at the least opportunity.