Do not give to fake charities

…unless you want to fund full-on filmed Caligula orgies

Dalrymple points out that most people, when they drop a coin into an Oxfam rattling tin or make a regular contribution by standing order,

think they are paying for blankets for the young victims of earthquakes, not orgies for Oxfam staff.

Previously they had only a hazy idea of where their money went. Now they have a clearer view.

Many other bogus charities are guilty of the same kind of waste, of course.

Inspiration for the Oxfam orgies

Looking up the accounts of the British Red Cross online, Dalrymple discovers that

of the 8% that the commerce branch of the Red Cross turned over to the charity, a fifth went in advertising and more than half in the salaries of the people working for the Red Cross.

Further investigation of the accounts of large British charities demonstrates that

for most of them, charity definitely begins at home.

Oxfam, for instance,

employs 888 full-time workers at its headquarters.

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Oxfam’s malversation of funds

The bogus charity Oxfam, writes Dalrymple,

is a Pecksniffian organisation, given to auto-beatification,

so much so that

when I pass the Oxfam shop in my small town, with its unctuous slogan Thank you for being humankind in the window, it is with difficulty that I resist the urge to throw a brick through it.

Like many large British charities, Oxfraud

has long been a villainous organisation — and the sexual exploits (or should I say exploitations?) of its workers in Haïti and elsewhere are the least of it. In the moral sense, though not the legal, it has for many years been guilty of fraud, of misleading the public.

Dalrymple first realised this some years ago when

I found a used-book dealer of my long acquaintance poring in his shop over Oxfam’s annual accounts.

‘Look at this,’ he said, but I saw nothing until he pointed it out to me.

Oxfam, in common with many other charities in Britain,

runs thrift shops in practically every British town. Such shops are more numerous even than Indian restaurants: they allow people to give away unwanted belongings in the belief that they are furthering a good cause. My acquaintance pointed out that, despite receiving their goods free of charge, paying practically nothing for their labour (which is voluntary), and paying much reduced local taxes, Oxfam shops make a profit on turnover of a mere 17%, much less than his own, despite his incomparably greater expenses.

Dalrymple asks:

How was such a thing possible, by what miracle of disorganisation (or malversation of funds)? Until then, I had carelessly assumed that the great majority of any money that I gave to a large charity went to serve its ostensible end.

At the Métro station

Dalrymple sees several youths,

one of them with horrible rap music emanating loudly from somewhere about his person,

climb over the barriers to avoid paying for a ticket. They do so, he says, with impunity, in full view of the public and staff.

No one stops them or says anything to them; it isn’t worth the trouble. They are pleased with what they have done, an expression of the power of the powerless.

Dalrymple imagines that they

would have turned angry if anyone had said anything to them, as if their human rights were being infringed.

The shoe is on the other foot

The post-colonial looting of Africa (the kind that follows the outdated, colonial kind)

In South Africa, Dalrymple is invited to dinner at an industrialist’s house, in the kind of property that on its periphery resembles

an armed camp.

Among Dalrymple’s fellow invitees are important figures in the African National Congress. He speaks to one leader, a communist. The man wears

a sharp and expensive Italian suit.

The man sticks to the party line, but Dalrymple guesses that his thoughts and feelings are

more aligned with crony capitalism than with the dictatorship of the proletariat.

The man’s shoes are

of fine lizard skin, with gilded trimming — more for ornament than use, their soles paper-thin; beautifully made. They can be worn only in the most luxurious of environments; a gravel driveway would ruin them. They are the kind of shoes that Russian oligarchs buy at a cost of thousands in the most expensive shopping street in Zurich.

Dalrymple joins in the rejoicing as Oxfraud is exposed

He writes:

I cannot disguise from myself the intense pleasure, amounting almost to joy, with which I learned of the public exposure of the wrongdoings of Oxfam in Haïti, Chad, and elsewhere.

He learns that Oxfam’s workers,

sent to bring relief to the acute and chronic sufferings of those countries, used the charity’s money, partly derived from voluntary contributions and partly from government subventions (the British government and the European Union are by far the largest contributors to British Oxfam), to patronise local prostitutes, some of them underage, and also to conduct orgies, no doubt at a fraction of what they would have cost to conduct at home.

Unmasked

The putrescence of England

The terrible deterioration in the character of the English

The decay of religious belief, writes Dalrymple,

which provided a basis for personal responsibility, occurred at the same time as a decline in Britain’s world power. Intellectuals, impotently enraged by this, mocked at every value and belief, without providing alternatives. Unlike France, which remained the standard-bearer of a language and a culture, Britain was turned into a province, a deep humiliation for a country which had been metropolitan for two centuries.

Young Britishers

have been deliberately deprived of any knowledge of British achievement: they know nothing of Shakespeare and Dickens, Newton and Darwin, Brunel and Lister. They know of nothing of which they can feel proud.

In the absence of a system of values, says Dalrymple, adolescent revolt

has become a permanent state of mind.

The lack of belief in anything

is compensated for by shrillness, as if noise could fill the void.

The trouble with Britain is not the government. It’s the people

The rot, Dalrymple points out, is not confined to an underclass.

Every week I meet members of the middle classes who consider themselves victims of some injustice or other in order to lend significance to their lives. They are only victims in the sense that Marie Antoinette was a shepherdess.

The attempt to find transcendent meaning in social justice

destroys or perverts aesthetic appreciation: for how, it is asked, can beauty and injustice subsist in the same world? The aggressive ugliness (not mere lack of taste) of the mode of dress of many of my younger patients, especially those with intellectual pretensions, is intended to provoke the very rejection that will then be used to justify the resentment that gives meaning to otherwise meaningless life.

Essentially personal dissatisfactions (of the kind attendant upon life) are projected on to society as a whole. This

has its advantages: it absolves one of the often painful necessity of self-examination. But it breeds the angry passivity that is now almost a national characteristic.

The sullenness of many of Dalrymple’s young patients

is not mere adolescent rebellion, it is a permanent condition: they will not grow to courtesy. They do not have the dignity or self-respect of previous generations which have known suffering that is not self-inflicted.

A bust of Adolf Hitler made of butter

I can’t believe it’s butter!

Such an artefact, if no one had done it before, would be original, writes Dalrymple.

Doubtless an art critic could be found

who would say that the sculptor’s use of this transient medium, which melts if not kept in a cool place, enables him powerfully to express the transient nature of tyranny and despotism.

But of course,

the fact that no one has done it before does not make it worthwhile.

Cunning of the French mosques

Dalrymple writes:

It is said that North African and Gulf states pay some 300 imams in France; they also pay for the construction of new mosques (which is illegal).

He points out that the financing of mosques is very murky: they

do not render very clear accounts, hiding behind financial regulations for non-profitmaking organisations that are much less stringent than those for religious organisations.

Machiavelli for modern mediocrities

Heep

How to get on in the West

From the outset, you must compromise your probity and demonstrate your willingness to play the game, at the cost of your integrity.

In the early stages, writes Dalrymple, you will need a ‘personal statement’ in your application for a job or university place. The tone must be one of

unctuous self-advertisement,

and you must put in much about your

passion for social justice and equality, and deep sense of social responsibility, which you will bring to whatever task you are told to perform.

Pecksniff

Tips and hints for today’s Pecksniffs and Uriah Heeps

You must assert that you have dreamt all your life of this post in, say,

the marketing department (selling the unnecessary to the insolvent) and why you, of all the 7bn people in the world, are the most suited to it.

Bear in mind that the purpose of ‘personal statements’ or ‘mission statements’ and their cognates, such as annual declarations of probity, is, says Dalrymple,

to make the world safe for overeducated mediocrities.

Learn the subtle black art

It does not matter if you tell lies in the ‘personal statement’, because nothing you say will be verified or refuted. It is, Dalrymple points out,

the physical utterance of correct sentiments that counts, not whether they correspond to any truth, inner or outer. They are a sign of willingness to conform, more or less to anything that may be required, and conformity is the highest value of mediocrities; it makes them feel comfortable and, more important, safe.

You must show

determination to climb some bureaucratic career ladder detached from any purpose except survival and, if possible, self-aggrandisement.

Ally your mediocrity to your overweening ambition

To climb such a ladder,

you have to be ruthless and submissive at the same time. You have to be prepared to stab people in the back in the scramble for advancement, while being prepared to suppress your personality by uttering other people’s clichés at the expense of your own thoughts. Unpreparedness to do this, either through lack of training or moral scruple, unfits you for a career in the organisation, any organisation. You have to learn to lie with clichés, and do so with a straight face.

Above all, recognise that

adherence to truth is of no importance.

For you and the other

ambitious mediocrities produced in ever-greater numbers by our educational system,

words must be

but levers to personal advancement and power.

Shame of the US medical profession

The opioid overdose hecatomb

Dalrymple writes:

More than twice as many Americans have died of opioid overdoses as have been killed in all US military actions combined since the Second World War. Opioid overdose is the leading cause of death of those under 50 in the US.

He points out that this

reflects extremely poorly on at least a portion of the American medical profession. 60% of deaths by overdose involve prescription drugs, and more than four-fifths of heroin addicts begin their career as addicts with prescription drugs. When one considers that, in the great majority of cases, there was no proper medical indication to prescribe these drugs, the medical profession’s responsibility in the production of this hecatomb is clear: and yet, even now, more of these drugs than ever before are being prescribed.