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What I have I hold

Tuesday, December 5, 2017 11:50
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You see, for a thousand years we have been going on here, and other people like us, but we only endured because we were alive. We have the usual conventional motto on our coat of arms—Pro Deo et Rege—a Herald’s College invention. But our Gaelic motto was very different—it was ‘Sons of Dogs, come and I will give you flesh.’ As long as we lived up to that we flourished, but as soon as we settled down and went to sleep and became rentiers we were bound to decay…My cousins at Glenaicill were just the same. Their motto was ‘What I have I hold,’ and while they remembered it they were great people. But when they stopped holding they went out like a candle.
John Buchan – John Macnab (1925)
Buchan’s character makes a comment on social change and the hard-nosed self-interest required to keep a firm grip on what we have. Otherwise it will be taken from us by those who are stronger and by this exacting standard more deserving. The meek shall not inherit the earth is the message – so don’t be meek. The motto is not original but this is fiction, a way of adding social depth to a central character. Still worth a thought or two though.
A conspicuous feature of modern culture is how tolerance and intolerance have been twisted around to loosen our grip on the culture we had – the one our ancestors fought two bloody wars to defend. Now we see vicious intolerance towards any suggestion that we are less than thrilled with forced multiculturalism and even worse – any implication that the culture we had was worth holding on to and what we have now is not an improvement.
What I have I holdis not a bad motto, possibly more acceptable today than Sons of Dogs, come and I will give you flesh, but it is already too late. We have been induced to let go of what we once had in favour of – in favour of what?


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