Neither a Twitterer nor a blogger be

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For tweet oft loses both good sense and friend.

Europeans fear for the future

screen-shot-2017-02-22-at-23-19-21The people of Europe, says Dalrymple,

are not just nostalgic — they’re worried about the future.

They see themselves

as being part of a vast experiment.

Experiments

have been tried on the population — experiments over which they have not been consulted.

For instance, Angela Merkel’s acceptance of a million refugees:

She didn’t consult any German people.

Modernist architecture is inherently totalitarian

An unbelievably hideous building for the National Coach Museum in Lisbon

An unbelievably hideous building for the National Coach Museum in Lisbon

Corrupt physicians, irresponsible patients

screen-shot-2017-02-21-at-08-38-12In the last three years alone, writes Dalrymple,

almost as many Americans have died as a result of opioid overdose as have been killed in all US military actions since the end of the Second World War.

The evidence suggests that the ‘epidemic’

started with, and has been maintained by, the irresponsible, incompetent, and sometimes corrupt prescribing of opioids by a portion of the American medical profession.

But this

does not altogether absolve the patients themselves of responsibility for their predicament—unless no one is ever responsible for anything.

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Deary catalog of modern pieties

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Dalrymple asks: ‘Celebrating’ uniqueness: how is it to be done? By getting the little geniuses to chant ‘I am unique, you are unique, we are all unique, everyone is unique!’ while holding hands and dancing round a tree as the teacher beats the rhythm on a tambourine?

The curse of self-esteem

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Oh, happy, happy Caligula!

Self-love, writes Dalrymple,

used to be a vice, but nowadays it is the nearest thing to a virtue, as a supposed precondition of our own mental health (whatever that might be).

The theory is that self-love

is a precondition to success, happiness, and resilience, and should therefore be taught early and probably incessantly.

Some people think

the promotion of youthful self-satisfaction and conceit an excellent idea, the key to the little ones’ future happiness.

Dalrymple points out that criminals,

especially the vicious rather than the merely pathetic ones, have very high self-esteem. They are generally proud of how awful they have been and positively swagger with satisfaction at their own competence in the matter of causing misery to others. They too have ‘core beliefs’ about themselves, all of them highly flattering. They even think they are lovable as well as admirable.

Founder of modern bacteriology

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Dalrymple points out that there was much hostility towards Robert Koch in India, as the scientific agent of German expansionism. Attempts to disprove Koch’s theory continued in India until 1897.

The superiority of the East and its inhabitants, especially its womenfolk

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Dalrymple on The Road to Mandalay and other Kipling ballads

Fillon sounds false note of national self-congratulation

screen-shot-2017-02-12-at-19-01-42Dalrymple observes that anyone who would be a candidate for the French presidency must write, or have ghost-written for him, a book, just as anyone who wants to be Britain’s prime minister must pretend to be a fan of some soccer team. This is not to say that the French are better at writing books than the English, or that the English are better at football than the French (for a start, English players tend to drink too much the night before the match).

Zowat elke persoon die Frans presidentskandidaat is, vindt het noodzakelijk om een boek te schrijven. Net zoals iedereen die in Groot-Brittannië premier wil worden, moet doen alsof hij voor een of ander Brits voetbalteam supportert. Dat wil niet zeggen dat de Fransen beter zijn in boeken schrijven dan de Britten, net zo min dat de Britten beter voetballen dan de Fransen. (Om te beginnen zijn Britse voetballers geneigd om veel te veel te drinken de avond voor de wedstrijd.)

screen-shot-2017-02-12-at-19-25-51One of the things Dalrymple finds annoying in books written by French politicians who hope to win election is the tone. It is one of national self-congratulation. The books refer to France as the country of human rights, in the same way as many Britons believe that the world envies them their health. Nobody is jealous of Britons for having miserable health and terrible hospitals, and the greatest of Francophils would hardly think of France as the country of human rights.

Een van de zaken die ik irritant vind aan boeken geschreven door Franse politici die hopen om verkozen te geraken, is de toon die je er in vindt: één van nationale zelf-felicitatie. De boeken verwijzen naar Frankrijk als hét land van mensenrechten. Precies dezelfde soort van mythe als die van de Britten die geloven dat heel de wereld hen hun gezondheidszorg benijdt. Niemand is jaloers op de Britten hun miserabele gezondheidszorg en verschrikkelijke ziekenhuizen en niemand, zelfs niet de grootste francofiel in de wereld, denkt over Frankrijk als zijnde hét land van de mensenrechten.

People who love France think of her landscapes, her towns and villages, her gastronomy, her literature, her savoir-vivre, her intellectual achievements, in short, her civilisation — in fact, everything except her human rights.

Mensen die houden van Frankrijk, houden van het land omwille van haar landschappen, haar steden en dorpen, haar keuken, haar literatuur, haar savoir vivre, haar intellectuele verwezenlijkingen… Kortom omwille van haar beschaving – in feite alles, behalve haar mensenrechten.

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From P.G. Wodehouse, The Aunt and the Sluggard (1916)

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France has a ‘universal vocation’, according to François Fillon. Dalrymple is allergic to nonsense of this kind.

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Catapulted from clerk to field marshal

screen-shot-2017-02-12-at-17-58-07Dalrymple writes that he has always felt a little sorry for François Hollande. (This is doubtless, Dalrymple concedes, pure sentimentality.) The French president is like a clerk who has been promoted, suddenly and against his will, to field marshal in some war that looks like it is about to have a catastrophic dénouement. Dalrymple instinctively sympathises with people who are despised by everyone.

Ik heb altijd een beetje medelijden gehad met François Hollande (ongetwijfeld pure sentimentaliteit), omdat hij me altijd wat leek op een klerk uit een of ander postkantoor die ineens en tegen zijn wil gepromoot wordt tot veldmaarschalk te midden een oorlog die catastrofaal aan het verlopen is. Ik heb een instinctieve sympathie voor mensen die worden veracht door iedereen.

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