The only good anti-communist is a mute anti-communist

There has never a good time to be anti-communist

Dalrymple writes that those who early warned of the dangers of bolshevism

were regarded as lacking in compassion for the suffering of the masses under tsarism, as well as lacking the necessary imagination to build a better world.

Then came the phase of

denial of the crimes of communism, when to base one’s anti-communism on such phenomena as organised famine and the murder of millions was regarded as the malicious acceptance of ideologically-inspired lies and calumnies.

Unforgivable bad taste

When finally the catastrophic failure of communism could no longer be disguised, and all the supposed lies were acknowledged to have been true, to be anti-communist

became tasteless in a different way: it was harping on pointlessly about what everyone had always known to be the case.

Dalrymple points out that to be right at the wrong time

is far worse than having been wrong for decades on end. In the estimation of many intellectuals, to be right at the wrong time is the worst possible faux pas.

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Thirst for entertainment is a symptom of boredom

‘For that sovereign people that once gave away military command, consulships, legions, and every thing, now bridles its desires, and limits its anxious longings to two things only—bread, and the games of the circus!’ (Satire X)

Dalrymple points out that modern education

lays emphasis on the relevance of what is taught to children’s present lives rather than, as it should be, on its irrelevance.

It is partly to blame for

the very large numbers of people who cannot lose themselves, and are left to the vagaries of entertainment provided for them under our current régime of bread and circuses.

Entertainment

is one of the greatest causes of boredom, inasmuch as everyday reality can rarely compete in raw sensation with entertainment. But since dealing with everyday reality remains a necessity for most people, it results in boredom because it is compared with entertainment. Only a deeper engagement with the world can avoid or overcome this problem.

Society for the Suppression of Self-Esteem

Dalrymple has inaugurated the association because he perceives that

of the many possible human qualities, self-esteem is one of the most odious. It is much more closely related to conceit and self-importance than it is to self-respect or even self-confidence.

The doctor-writer has met many persons bursting with self-esteem who are

without discernible virtues.

Indeed, one of the sources of their bad character is self-esteem,

insofar as nothing could dent it, not even the hatred or contempt of everyone around them.

Do I really need those blood pressure pills?

Dalrymple explains that drugs used to reduce blood pressure

have to be taken regularly and often for the rest of a person’s life. Their purpose is to reduce the statistical risk of heart attack or stroke. They can have side-effects.

He points out that at least half of people prescribed antihypertensive drugs have stopped taking them by the end of the year.

Most people who take them will not benefit from them, though when someone does benefit—by not having the heart attack or stroke he would otherwise have had—it is a very great benefit indeed.

The question of whether it is worthwhile for someone to take antihypertensives

cannot be answered with a simple yes or no. It depends on the size of the risk and the values of the person taking them. Some people prefer to take their chances than take the pills; others take any number of pills all their lives for a minimal reduction of risk.

Psychoanalysis is that mental illness for which it regards itself as therapy

An American psychologist by the name of John Gartner argues that Donald Trump should be removed from office on psychiatric grounds:

We live in a pre-fascist society…The German psychiatric association said nothing during the rise of Hitler…We are facing a crisis that threatens to engulf the world in flames…Trump meets standards for commitment and should be required to undergo psychiatric evaluation, whether he wants to or not…The man is threatening to murder an entire country…We cannot call the authorities because the homicidal patient is the authorities.

Dalrymple notes that Gartner

displays no knowledge of or imaginative insight into what it is like to live in a totalitarian dictatorship—his Jewishness notwithstanding—despite countless memoirs, academic books, and films attesting to and describing life under authoritarian rule. Such ignorance or lack of imagination is culpable. For an American to compare contemporary life in the USA, no doubt unsatisfactory as it is in many respects, with life in a fascist dictatorship is self-dramatising, self-pitying, and an insult to those millions who suffered or died under totalitarian dictatorships.

It is legitimate to oppose the government and to despise the person of the president;

it is another thing to claim jurisdiction over whether he should be entitled to be president and whether he ought to be removed by committal to a mental institution. In the Soviet Union, psychiatrists occupied the kind of commissarship that Gartner is appealing for.

Gartner

shows an implicit contempt for US institutions and history if he thinks that the election of one allegedly unstable man can turn his country into a fascist dictatorship almost overnight.

He is

what Kraus said of psychoanalysis, a cause of the disease it pretends to cure. He believes that people who show instability, anger, paranoia, feelings of persecution, and cognitive confusion would and should be involuntarily committed for psychiatric evaluation.

Dalrymple suggests that Gartner read Chekhov’s 1892 short story Ward No. 6, in which Dr Ragin is committed to his own asylum.

Dalrymple spurns the idiot’s lantern

The doctor-writer has not voluntarily so much as glanced at any kind of televisual apparatus since 1968

Dalrymple explains that he has not watched television

for half a century.

Furthermore, he subscribes to no ‘social media’, as the young call it.

People

who are world-famous, and who are so instantly recognisable that they are known on my e-mail server’s home page by their first name alone, or even by a diminutive of their first name,

are completely unknown to Dalrymple. He just doesn’t care

if they divorce one another or check into a rehabilitation clinic to cure them of their promiscuity.

Financial drug-pushers

What banks were like when Dalrymple was a boy

Today’s bankers

Some argue that banks

are up to their old tricks again, lending riskily with abandon, selling on their risky debts to those who have not the faintest idea of what they are buying, having learned from the last crash that when push comes to shove, they will be rescued from the consequences of their improvidence. But this time the banks will not be bailed out; we, the account holders, will be bailed in. The bankers are greedy and insouciant.

The doctor-writer observes that in his lifetime, bankers

seem to have changed in nature, or at least in image.

When Dalrymple was a boy in the 1890s,

bankers were rather respectable, dull persons who acted like the financial guilty conscience of their customers.

Consols Transfer Office, Bank of England, 1894

An American in barbaric Paris

A breathless New York Times ninny on a visit to the French capital writes that the Centre national de la danse building (Jacques Kalisz, 1972), at which she

stared open-mouthed

for a long, long time,

radiates childlike exuberance.

Dalrymple remarks:

Anyone who can see childlike exuberance in such a building is capable of seeing the milk of human kindness in a Nuremberg Rally.

 

Handmaiden to the wholesale collapse of æsthetic judgement

A silly woman from the Times newspaper of New York gushes on a visit to Paris as she ‘gazes in awe‘ at the ‘ugly-beautiful’ modern buildings. Dalrymple comments:

They are not ugly-beautiful; they are ugly, without any æsthetic qualification, and grossly dysfunctional to boot.

From fear of making an unequivocal judgment that might cause her to be branded conservative, backward-looking, or naïve, this New York Times nincompoop acts, says Dalrymple,

as a praise-singer to the collapse of æsthetic ability and appreciation.

 

A psychopathic structure

The Philharmonie de Paris, Dalrymple points out, was built

at pharaonic cost.

As monstrous as it is incompetent, it exemplifies

modern architectural psychopathy.

He likens it to

a vulgar Brobdingnagian silver lamé dress crumpled on the floor after a night of debauchery.