The multiplicity of becoming-cunt

Dalrymple opens Patricia MacCormack’s The Ahuman Manifesto: Activism for the End of the Anthropocene (2021) at random and sees this:

The multiplicity of becoming-cunt as an assemblage reassembles the tensors upon which it expresses force and by which force is expressed upon its various planes and dimensions.

The psychiatrist-writer comments:

I have known deteriorated schizophrenic patients to speak more sensibly and coherently than this.

You can, he says,

open the book at any page and find passages that startle by their polysyllabic meaninglessness combined with the utmost crudity.

MacCormack is professor of philosophy at Anglia Ruskin University. Her principal areas of expertise are

  • cinesexuality
  • theist occultism
  • queer theory
  • vegan abolition
  • becoming-vulva theory
  • necrosexuality
  • post-human theory
  • cineschizoanalysis
  • tattooing
  • the apocalypse as optimistic beginning
  • horror films
  • body modification
  • human extinction
  • mucosal monsters
  • cinemasochism
  • death studies

Dalrymple comments:

All that’s missing is a broomstick.

MacCormack’s œuvre is large and her works cannot be listed in full here because of space constraints, but some of the more celebrated titles are

  • The Ecstatic Olfactory Face (2014)
  • Becoming-Vulva (2010)
  • Rebuilding the Fabulated Bodies of the Hoard-Warriors (2016)
  • Perversion: Transgressive Sexuality and Becoming-Monster (2004)
  • Queer Posthumanizm (2015)
  • Video Nasties: the Definitive Guide (2012)
  • Tortured Spectators: Massacred and Mucosal (2017)
  • Feminist Becomings: Hybrid Feminism and Haecceitic (Re)production (2015)
  • Zombies without Organs: Gender, Flesh and Fissure (2008)
  • Nonhuman Queerings (2015)
  • The Great Ephemeral Tattooed Skin (2006)

Dalrymple writes that MacCormack

looks as if she had strayed from the set of a cheap horror film, or perhaps from the set of a spoof of a cheap horror film. These days the real thing is difficult to distinguish from spoof.

He chooses another passage at random from The Ahuman Manifesto:

The negative value of the end of anthropocentrism is where the jubilance of the world begins. The everything else that comes at the end of these systems is primarily only really the end of the primacy of one isomorphic functioning mode of knowledge. Difference and proliferation which seethes beneath in a germinal state has the capacity to express when the anthropocentric mode is diminished to one of many ways, historical or majoritarian-hysterical.

The Manifesto has nearly 200 pages of this stuff. That someone — many people — can make a career of this kind of drivel (at public expense) is testimony, says Dalrymple, either

to our confidence in the strength and solidity of our civilisation, such that it can withstand almost any assault on its values or degree of corruption of its youth,

or

that we are approaching a final state of moral, cultural, and intellectual disintegration and collapse that must before long lead to its replacement by another, less frivolous, but not necessarily better, dispensation.

The problem seems to be that

cultural entropy is now inexorable. My only consolation is that people have been saying this for decades, if not for millennia.

 

Fascism of the social-justice panjandrums

The Nuremberg Laws de nos jours

We live, writes Dalrymple, in an age of social engineering in which

unprecedentedly large numbers of people know, or think that they know, what is best for society. They mistrust spontaneity, believing it necessarily to result in injustice, and have a profound faith in their wise guidance, under which humanity will, at last, be led to the sunny uplands of freedom, justice, and equality. It does not generally occur to them that their desiderata may conflict with one another.

In the drive for

totalitarian social engineering of the proto-Stalinist variety,

one tenet is that

all differences in desirable — or at least desired — outcomes between identifiable groups, even in the most open society, can only arise from injustice or the exercise of illicit influence by the already powerful. This idea is so deeply entrenched in a large part of the intelligentsia that it has become almost an unassailable orthodoxy. Like a gas leaked into the atmosphere, the orthodoxy seeps everywhere, even into the remotest corners of the intellectual world.

Accepted implicitly are the arguments of the anti-Semites and Nazis in Germany before 1933, that there were too many of one group in academia, medicine, commerce, law, and the information and entertainment media such as publishing, newspapers, theatre, and cinema. The fact that Jews were over-represented, even grossly over-represented, in these fields was statistically undeniable. But the anti-Semites and Nazis,

instead of inquiring what qualities — for example, hard work, talent, aspirations — had led to that result, indulged themselves in the simple and much more politically and psychologically gratifying theory that there was a Jewish conspiracy to take over society and a freemasonry among them to secure what Marxists used to call ‘the commanding heights’.

The solution to the ‘problem’

was to get rid of the Jews and take over the positions for themselves. Of course, once in power, they turned out to be less enthusiastic about extending their principle to non-Nazis and other groups.

Today the drive for equality, which is confused with equity, trumps all other considerations. Racialisation is vital. Important too are ‘genders’, which Dalrymple likens to human rights:

New ones are discovered every day.

He asks whey class origin or religion are not included in the search for demographic justice. These are important characteristics or determinants of people’s trajectory through life.

One might soon find oneself having to impose a numerus clausus against overrepresented groups (such as Jews or Indians or Chinese).

Dalrymple notes that life

cannot be made entirely fair, and the attempt to make it so will not reduce but rather fan disgruntlement. The fairness of a situation will be pored over like Roman soothsayers used to pore over the entrails of a chicken, and with the same degree of accuracy. Conflict will be eternal and resentment stoked further. It is not a coincidence that many of the most resentful people are also successful in their careers. They may well have struggled against some unfairness or other and triumphed in the struggle, but still are not satisfied, and will not be satisfied to their dying day. It is not enough that they had sufficient opportunity themselves to make good: they want to reform the world, at the same time — and not altogether incidentally — accruing great power to themselves.

The right word here, Dalrymple suggests, is fascistic.

There cannot be affirmative discrimination without the negative variety. Against whom is negative discrimination to be exercised, and will they meekly submit to it?

All was known about Soviet horrors from the first

Some people, writes Dalrymple, hope for a

a proper communist revolution, purified of deformations such as those of Stalin and Mao.

This, he says, is

about as realistic a hope as mine of one day playing cricket for England.

These people believe that, until the advent of Stalin, the Russian revolution was a good thing, to be emulated. But of course

attempts to put everything right at once by implementation of petty intellectual schemes are fraught with danger, and have a history of mass slaughter.

The answer, Dalrymple believes, must lie in the psychology of religion.

When religious faith is replaced by a philosophy that prides itself on its rationality, it soon turns religious in the worst possible sense. It becomes an atheist theocracy.

He points out that

everything was known about the Soviet Union from the first. It is not true that Solzhenitsyn revealed anything to the West that was not, or could not have been, known before.

A very large number of books of various genres, from essays to histories to memoirs to novels and short stories,

exposed the viciousness of Bolshevism from the very first, a viciousness that anyone with any imagination could have anticipated from Lenin’s literary style alone.

Leninist viciousness

was a new and more thoroughgoing type that acted on the mind as a virus on a computer. (Viciousness, actual and potential, is a constant of human history because of our flawed nature.)

Solzhenitsyn

was right about the difference between Macbeth, who from personal ambition killed people, but only a few, and the ideologically motivated mass killings of the Soviet Union and elsewhere, the difference being in the effect of ideology.

What was different about Solzhenitsyn, apart from his literary talent, was that Western intellectuals

were now prepared to believe what he said, whereas shortly before, they had rejected as propaganda evidence of a very similar nature produced by others.

Free speech in retreat

Dalrymple observes that

you do not defend free speech by demanding it for yourself but by demanding it for others, especially when you reprehend the use to which they put it or what they say. Freedom to agree with yourself is no freedom.

Increasingly, he points out, a tyranny of self-proclaimed virtue is the aim of university-trained intellectuals who,

in the name of their beneficence, seek to silence those whose opinions they find objectionable. The class that one might have supposed had most to fear from censorship, legal and extralegal, is the one that most strongly advocates it.

He notes that for these people, Kafka’s The Trial is

not a warning but a blueprint.

Dalrymple perceives that central governments and the managers of lesser or subordinate institutions, such as the police and universities,

increasingly think of themselves in the way that Stalin thought, or said that he thought, of writers: as engineers of souls. Left to themselves, people are inclined to think the wrong thoughts. Wrong thoughts are dangerous, especially to those who invariably have the right thoughts — so dangerous that their expression should be criminalised, or those who express them socially marginalised, preferably ostracised. Since prevention is better than cure, children, adolescents and young adults should be immunised against them by indoctrination.

A large number of people, especially in universities,

dream of a world in which nobody has bad thoughts or bad feelings — bad as defined by them. Such a world would have to be highly policed at first, but with modern techniques of surveillance, there should be no insuperable problems. In due course, such surveillance would become unnecessary; it would wither away, as the State, in the new, fully human society envisaged by Marx, would wither away. No one would desire economic or social privileges for himself; no one would be able to express, or to think, vile thoughts. What is thought if not a matter of habit? Offence could neither be given nor taken by anyone, and the uttermost harmony would reign.

The medical profession is far from charlatan-free

Dalrymple cites

  • unnecessary employment of impressive-sounding technical terms
  • exaggeration of the gravity of diseases, to make recovery appear the more remarkable
  • deliberate prolongation of waits in waiting rooms
  • affectation of disordered or negligent dress, provided it does not appear to derive from poverty, to imply a great press of business and a mind on higher things
  • general grumpiness that implies immense knowledge
  • (especially among surgeons) false statistics of success

Rock (especially rap) is a root cause of crime

In stating this plain fact, Dalrymple aroused a storm of protest. And when in a magazine article he — quite rightly — described rock concerts as

fascist rallies of libertinism — conformism with overtones of revolution,

the magazine’s staff said they would resign if the phrase were printed. The cowardly editor succumbed to the pressure.

Rock music, Dalrymple points out,

is an almost untouchable subject, like the character of Mohammed in a Moslem country.

The Ludovico technique

Anthony Burgess

Anthony Burgess, writes Dalrymple, was

a social and cultural prophet.

Burgess dealt also, Dalrymple notes,

with the question of the origin and nature of good and evil.

In the 1962 novel A Clockwork Orange, the Ludovico technique that Alex undergoes in prison as a means of turning him into a model citizen in exchange for his release is

a form of conditioning. Injected with a drug that induces nausea, Alex must watch films of the kind of violence that he committed, his head and eyelids held so that he cannot escape the images by looking away — this to the piped-in accompaniment of the classical music that he loves. Before long, such violence, either in imagery or in reality, as well as the sound of classical music, causes him nausea and vomiting even without the injection, as a conditioned response. Alex learns to turn the other cheek, as a Christian should: when he is insulted, threatened, or struck, he does not retaliate. After the treatment — at least, until he suffers his head injury — he can do no other. Two scientists, Drs. Branom and Brodsky, are in charge of the ‘treatment’.

The Minister of the Interior,

responsible for cutting crime in a society besieged by youth culture, says: ‘The Government cannot be concerned any longer with outmoded penological theories . . . . Common criminals . . . can best be dealt with on a purely curative basis. Kill the criminal reflex, that’s all.’ A criminal or violent act is no different from the act of a rat in a cage, which presses a lever to obtain a pellet of food. If you shock the rat with electricity when it presses the lever instead of rewarding it with food, it will soon cease to press the lever. Criminality can be dealt with, or ‘cured’, in the same way.

Dalrymple points out that at the time that Burgess wrote A Clockwork Orange, doctors

were trying to ‘cure’ homosexuals by injecting them with apomorphine, a nausea-inducing drug, while showing them pictures of male nudes. The dominant school of psychology at the time was the behaviorism of B.F. Skinner. His was a black box psychology: scientists measured stimulus and response but exhibited no interest in what happened between the two, as being immeasurable and unknowable. While Skinner might have quibbled about the details of the Ludovico technique (for example, that Alex got the injection at the wrong time in relation to the violent films that he had to watch), he would not have rejected its scientific — or rather, scientistic — philosophy.

In Beyond Freedom and Dignity (1971), Skinner

sneered at the possibility that reflection upon our personal experience and on history might be a valuable source of guidance in our attempts to govern our lives. ‘What we need,’ he wrote, ‘is a technology of behaviour.’ One was at hand. ‘A technology of operant behavior is . . . already well advanced, and it may prove commensurate with our problems. Scientific analysis shifts the credit as well as the blame [for a man’s behaviour] to the environment.’ What goes on in a man’s mind is irrelevant; mind is an ‘explanatory fiction’.

For Skinner,

being good is behaving well; and whether a man behaves well or badly depends upon the schedule of reinforcement that he has experienced, not upon anything that goes on in his mind. There is no new situation in a man’s life that requires conscious reflection if he is to resolve the dilemma or make the choices that the new situation poses, for everything is a replay of the past, generalised to meet the new situation.

The Ludovico technique

was not a far-fetched invention of Burgess’s but a simplified version — a reductio ad nauseam — of the technique for solving all human problems that the dominant school of psychology at the time suggested.

Dalrymple points out that Burgess

was a lapsed Catholic, but he remained deeply influenced by Catholic thought.

The Skinnerian view of man appalled Burgess, who

thought that a human being whose behaviour was simply the expression of conditioned responses was not fully human but an automaton. If he did the right thing merely in the way that Pavlov’s dog salivated at the sound of a bell, he could not be a good man: if all his behaviour was determined in the same way, he was hardly a man at all. A good man, in Burgess’s view, had to have the ability to do evil as well as good, an ability that he would voluntarily restrain, at whatever disadvantage to himself.

However, says Dalrymple,

being a novelist rather than an essayist, and a man of many equivocations, Burgess put these thoughts in A Clockwork Orange into the mouth of a ridiculous figure, the prison chaplain, who objects to the Ludovico technique — but not enough to resign his position, for he is eager to advance in what Alex calls ‘prison religion’. Burgess puts the defence of the traditional view of morality as requiring the exercise of free will — the view that there is no good act without the possibility of a bad one — into the mouth of a careerist.

Dalrymple faces re-education in ‘equality and diversity’

NHS struggle session

As it attempts to tackle the Wuhan flu problem, the British State has recalled Dalrymple (along with many other retired physicians) to the extent that it has placed him back on the General Medical Council’s register of those with a licence to practise medicine.

But there’s a catch.

Vital need for documentation

The London newspaper the Daily Mail reports that to qualify as a Covid vaccine volunteer, Dalrymple must provide no fewer than 21 articles of important paperwork to verify that he has undertaken extensive modern training in a number of highly pertinent areas including ‘equality, diversity & human rights’.

The anointed and the benighted

Dalrymple highlights the gulf between

😎 the anointed of Thomas Sowell
▪️ the France of Robert Doisneau
▪️ Emmanuel Todd‘s la France protégée
▪️ the educated credentialled, the everywheres with well-paying jobs in the dynamic economy, enjoying all kinds of social protections including property-owning parents

and

☹️ the benighted
▪️ the France of Louis-Ferdinand Céline
▪️ Todd’s la France exposée
▪️ the precariat, Clinton’s irredeemable deplorables, the dregs, neanderthals, chumps, clingers, the somewheres with ill-paying jobs lacking security and a life of permanent difficulty in making ends meet

An incident at the North Station

An American tourist and his wife, just arrived from the airport, were standing on an escalator.

He had a telephone in his shirt pocket. A black man in front of him turned and took the telephone. The American tourist was quick: he grabbed the phone back from the thief, who scurried off, shouting insults at his intended victim.

Dalrymple writes:

The would-be thief was more outraged than the victim of the would-be theft. His fury had the edge of righteous indignation to it. How dare the man grab back his phone! It was his duty to let it go; he was rich and the would-be thief was poor. The demands of social justice trumped those of private property.

The other aspect of the episode that struck Dalrymple was

the confidence of the would-be thief in his impunity. Acting in broad daylight, and not caring who saw him, he could be sure that no one would attempt to stop him, either from slow-wittedness or pusillanimity (you never know these days what weapons people are carrying), or even from ideological sympathy with him.

Dalrymple never leaves the Gare du Nord

without the feeling of relief that I have walked the gauntlet unscathed.