I was never a huge aficionado of English folk music. There just never seemed the time. But Led Zeppelin on IV included a track featuring the wonderfully-talented English songstress Sandy Denny. Denny was the vocalist for Fairport Convention, so I took a listen to the second and third albums, What We Did on Our Holidays and Unhalfbricking. They were superb by any standard. Fairport also featured guitarist and vocalist Richard Thompson, who later left to record first with his wife and later as a solo artist.
If I had to select just one representative of modern English folk music it would be Thompson. A guitar virtuoso and outstanding songwriter, he has a fine back catalogue going back many years. Perhaps his best-known song is Beeswing.
I had at some point in the near future intended to address the arguments that we in the West can account for our morality because we, historically, derive our morals from a residual “Christian culture”, and therefore, although many of us reject the basis of Christianity, are actually borrowing from its standards. Therefore, the story goes, because we by-and-large act morally we are only doing so because of Christian influence and this demonstrates the truth of Christianity somehow.
Of course, there is no such thing as a Christian theory of morality to begin with, so this is not a claim that can be dealt with rationally. All we have to go on is a series of commandments from a supposedly omnibenevolent entity that never shows up in real life. The word “morality” doesn’t even appear in the Bible, at least not the King James version. So, at best, Christian morality is based on a personality, indistinguishable from the imaginations of believers, rather than any principles based on real life. In any case, anyone looking for good examples of how not to behave should look no further than the pages of Leviticus and Deuteronomy, and that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Continue reading