A lecture on threats to freedom

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Britain’s polluted culture

For England, the present is bleak and the future desolate

The British, writes Dalrymple, were once fond of their gardens, a reflection of love of the countryside. But in most of England’s streets today, gardens have been concreted over to accommodate cars, which are incomparably more important to Britishers than flowers or grass. This

transforms streets from pleasant locations into slums.

Anyone travelling through the countryside concludes that the British

regard it not with veneration but as a litter bin, into which they throw the wrappings of their vile and incontinent refreshments. (They are the fattest people in Europe as well as the most slovenly.)

Local government

believes it has more important things to do than keep streets clean: not only does it have to use a growing proportion of its income to pay the unfunded pensions of past workers, but it has to develop anti-discrimination policies and rectify the natural consequences of the personal improvidence of so large a proportion of the population.

The corruption of England’s public administration

is very great: public employment is largely divorced from the production of any public good.

Dalrymple points out that the educational level in Britain is

appallingly low: 17% of British children leave school barely able to read and write, though $100,000 each has been spent on their education. How is such a miracle possible?

It is extremely unlikely that any of these problems will ever be tackled, because the obvious measures that are necessary

would have to be carried out by the very cadre which has inflicted such terrible damage and which combines ideological malevolence with practical incompetence in everything except the acquisition of power.

Entrevista com Dalrymple

The free-born Englishman

The person, writes Dalrymple,

who is supposed to be viscerally and hereditarily attached to his freedom in a way that distinguishes him from his continental opposite number, thanks to the common-law tradition, conceives of it mostly as the freedom to

  • be drunk in public
  • take whatever drugs he likes
  • be sexually promiscuous

Meanwhile the more intellectual portion of the population

increasingly sees freedom as the right to suppress the opinions of those of whom they strongly disapprove.

And the greatest freedom, the one most ardently desired, is the freedom

to be protected from the consequences of one’s improvidence and foolishness.

The prideful Germans beat their breasts

The doctor-writer’s diagnosis of the deep German psychopathology — and why the rest of us always end up paying a heavy price for it

Dalrymple writes that a healthy patriotism

seems to be denied to Germany. The historical reasons for this are perfectly obvious, of course. But it is more difficult to rid oneself of pride than one might think: one can become proud of one’s lack of pride.

Moral exhibitionism

When Angela Merkel agreed to take more than a million migrants,

it was easy in her gesture to see her desire to restore the moral reputation of her nation.

One motive touted,

that with its ageing and declining population, Germany needed more young labour, is absurd: there are millions of unemployed young Spaniards, Italians and Greeks on its doorstep who could have been absorbed with much less difficulty.

Still the bully

The problem arises when Germany,

newly proud of its openness to refugees, tries to make other countries suffer the consequences of its policy, in the name of some kind of abstract principle. Thus other countries, such as Hungary, are to be bullied into taking refugees or face hostility and ostracism. (No one asks the refugees themselves whether they want to be resettled in Hungary. They are abstractions in the European psychodrama, not people of flesh and blood, with desires and ambitions of their own.)

Uriah Heep

The desire of the Germans

to overcome or dissolve their German-ness in the tepid bath of European Union-ness is the consequence of a certain historiography in which all of German history is but a run-up to Nazism: in other words that Nazism is immanent in the German soul, and the only way to control it is to tie it down as Gulliver was. But this supposed need does not exist to anything like the same extent in other countries, which may nevertheless be constrained by German power, influence and financial might to follow suit. The key to contemporary Europe may perhaps be found in the character of Uriah Heep.

The doomed European Union

A faceless international bureaucracy will never replace the nation state

Britain, Dalrymple points out,

has a very different (and incompatible) political and legal tradition from that of the rest of Europe.

Moreover,

people need a sense of identity rooted in land and culture, and not just in an abstract idea. There may be some citizens of the world who feel equally at home anywhere, but they are few, and the majority of people feel a need for some kind of physical and cultural rootedness. The most satisfactory way of finding such rootedness in the modern world, that permits both freedom and a degree of democratic control, is via the nation state. It commands loyalty, affection and a sense of duty to a degree that no other polity does. It has its deformations, but it gives its citizens a sense that the polity under which they live is theirs and is capable of responding to their concerns.

By contrast,

a faceless international bureaucracy, composed of superannuated politicians of a variety of countries, clinging to unelected power and influence like limpets to a rock, will never replace the nation state in the affections of most people.

How to quickly sort the dead from the comatose

Founding exhibit of the National Museum of Kitsch

Looking for a plastic-cased alarm clock in the form of a mosque? There are, Dalrymple notes,

three colours to choose from: sky blue, apple green, and baby pink.

At the appointed time, Dalrymple explains,

a raucous muezzin begins to call, enough to waken the dead, let alone the sleeper. When I hear him—he switches suras if you allow him to go on long enough—I think of those Victorians who feared premature burial (I have a small collection of books on the subject).

These Victorians

invented many different methods of avoiding the terrible fate, including patent coffins with megaphones to alert passers-by to the presence of the living interred.

There were also

cords tied to the big toes of the pseudo-deceased, in the undertakers’ chapel of rest. The cords connected them to a bell, sensitive to the slightest movement, in the undertakers’ office — like the defunct servants’ call bells you sometimes see in old mansions.

But these methods, it seems to Dalrymple,

would quickly have been superseded by this mosque alarm clock.

 

A Spanish-African-Swiss-Amerindian-Norwegian-Mongolian-Chilean expert on racial issues

An exudation of ethnic pride and shame

Leafing through El País, Dalrymple comes across an unapologetically racist article headed ‘La esperanza de Haití vuela a Chile‘. It is the product of a Swiss-born racial affairs expert of Nordic descent called Carlos Franz.

The article reads in part:

Al igual que otros chilenos soy el orgulloso poseedor de una callana. Esta es una marca congénita de color azulado que aparece sobre la piel del coxis en los recién nacidos con ascendencia indígena o asiática. La callana —también llamada mancha mongólica— suele desaparecer a los dos años. Pero en mi caso aún conservo su sombra en la mitad de mi espalda….Según los genetistas, mi callana, esa marca amerindia cuya sombra llevo orgullosamente en mi espalda, también podría tener orígenes africanos. Mejor aún. Los indígenas y los negros que bailan en mi sangre abrazan a estos nuevos hermanos que llegan a Chile.

Carlos Franz: immensely proud of his Mongolian spot, his Amerindian mark (where precisely on his body this is to be found is not stated), his African origins, and the blood of the oppressed that courses or dances through his veins. There is a shameful Swiss-Norwegian taint to his blood, but it is the merest trace

Dalrymple notes that Franz

welcomes the Haïtians not purely as men, but because they are, or might be, related to him by race. It implies that Amerindians have, as a race, especially warm feelings for people of African descent. I don’t know whether as a sociological generalisation this is true, but if it is true, it would not be by virtue of the blood coursing, or even dancing, through their veins.

Moral complacency

Indeed,

the idea of thoughts or feelings being transmitted hæmotologically has a rather unpleasant historical connotation, of which the author, in his moral complacency, seems unaware.

Franz

places races in a hierarchy, though not the traditional one of intelligence, ranging from inferior to superior, but of victimhood. It is even better to have African descent than Amerindian because Africans have been even worse used than Amerindians and are greater victims. By having black blood coursing through his veins he participates in their victimhood, which conveys upon him the moral authority of a victimised martyr, even though he may have gone to all the best schools, etc.

Humbug

That Franz was born in Geneva and is principally of Norwegian descent is

a matter of shame that besmirches anything that he may have achieved in life, because his achievements must have been the product of privilege, that is to say the privilege borne in his blood.

Dalrymple points out that when Haïti was a French possession,

there was a table of racial descent that included 64 degrees of white purity. That is to say, one black great-great-great-great-grandparent was enough to pollute your blood.

Franz, says Dalrymple,

would agree with this, except that he would assign a different, or opposite, value to the blood that the French would have regarded as polluting. Nor will I repeat the old Southern saying about one drop of blood, a saying with which he would also agree — except that one drop of African blood in his case would wash away all his sins, rather like the waters of the Ganges at Allahabad during the Kumbh Mela.

A chat with the doctor-writer

Dalrymple fields questions at the Liberty Forum in Porto Alegre.

Dalrymple at the Liberty Forum

From c. 1:35:15. (For listening only: sound is not synchronised with video.)