Mad outposts of Marxism

Dalrymple’s 1991 tour de force


Four eyes good

A bespectacled Dalrymple attends a political rally in Pyongyang

Dalrymple writes that when he was in North Korea,

I saw no one on the street, in the mass parades, or at the stadium seating 150,000 people wearing spectacles, and thought this strange, as Koreans are genetically predisposed to myopia. When I asked my personal spy who accompanied me everywhere where the people who wore glasses were, he replied, ‘That is a problem we have solved.’

It was not by laser surgery, either, though the precise method went unsaid.

Dalrymple points out that

the three successive heads of the Kim dynasty have all worn glasses, evidence of their superior, indeed unprecedented, intelligence.

© Clinton News Network 2017

Increase your IQ. Exterminate all the brutes!

Dalrymple explains that Masie Nguema Biyogo Ñegue Ndong, better known as Francisco Macías Nguema,

was democratically elected but no democrat. As Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is reported to have said, democracy is a train — you alight once you have reached your destination, in Macías Nguema’s case, the killing or exile of half his country’s population and the enslavement of the rest.

Among Macías Nguema’s many peculiarities was

a hatred of people who wore glasses, whom he assumed to be intellectuals and therefore dangerous. I surmise that this hatred had its origin in the three times he failed his exams to enter the colonial civil service.

He restored his self-esteem

by the degradation of his countrymen in general, and people with glasses in particular. If you kill all the people of above-average intelligence, your chances of having above-average intelligence yourself rise.

Populist hypocrisy

Dalrymple writes that

hatred of the rich, or even of the merely prosperous, is a common, if discreditable, emotion.

He notes that Pablo Iglesias Turrión, leader of Podemos, the Spanish left-populist party with the Barackian name,

has fallen foul of the very emotion upon which his movement depends and which he has done so much to foment.

Iglesias has bought a villa with a swimming pool in a well-to-do enclave not far from Madrid for $700,000, well beyond the means of most of the electorate to which he has appealed by excoriating the privileged or exploiting class that he calls la casta. Not long ago, he attacked the finance minister, saying, ‘One cannot direct the economic policy of a country from the terrace of a flat worth $700,000.’

Dalrymple comments that Podemos presents itself

as being against the whole economic system.

To maintain that the money made by Iglesias was made legally and honestly

is, in effect, to admit the legitimacy of the economic system, whatever its deformations—and, in turn, to admit that Podemos is founded on nothing but demagoguery and encouragement of a base emotion, envy.

The curse of communism

Cumberland Clark, writes Dalrymple, was

an early and ferocious critic of communism.


Curse of Communism was vastly more perceptive than many an apologia published at the time.

If he harped with uncomfortable insistence on the proportion of early Bolsheviks who were Jewish,

he was right about the new kind of evil that the Bolshevik state represented.

Dalrymple points out that Clark was more prescient about communism than many a celebrated Western intellectual. Clark wrote:

Wherever a dictatorship of the proletariat is set up, there will inevitably be a Tcheka, crushing freedom and happiness and living on terror and death, overriding the workers’ soviets and concentrating power in its own hands.

Cumberland Clark (1862-1941)

Clark was aware, Dalrymple says, of all that Bolshevism from the first instituted, viz.

  • terror
  • mass executions
  • famine
  • wanton destruction
  • lying propaganda
  • tyranny
  • universal spying

Dalrymple notes that Clark was clear on the means by which the Bolsheviks deceived foreign guests, much clearer than many of the guests themselves, then and for many years afterwards. Clark wrote:

They are given a cordial welcome, and special trains, luxurious lodgings, and magnificent banquets are prepared for them. They are conveyed in comfortable motor cars and attended by courteous guides, who act as interpreters. These interpreters . . . are none other than members of the Tcheka, and it is absurd to believe that a Russian would speak of his miseries to a stranger with one of the dreaded Inquisition to translate his complaint. Even were he fool-hardy enough to do so, the translation would bear a very different complexion from the original remark. . . . The Bolshevists have brought the fooling of the Socialist visitors to a fine art.

Dalrymple points to Clark’s descriptions of

the Potemkin institutions that the willingly duped visitor was shown — the technique that I observed in Albania and in North Korea more than sixty years later.

The Royal Bath Hotel then and now

Dalrymple writes that the Royal Bath Hotel in Bournemouth was once

the latest thing in luxury and bon ton. Oscar Wilde used regularly to stay there.

The world’s worst hotel company

However, he notes that the establishment

has since passed into the hands of the Britannia Hotel Group, regularly voted the worst hotel group in the country, if not in Europe and the rest of the world.

The Britannia Group’s hotels, says Dalrymple,

leave no opportunity for slovenliness unseized; indeed slovenliness of this thoroughness, like kitsch, transcends itself and also becomes some kind of achievement, in this case comic.

Britain: a service economy without the service

Bon ton

No opportunity for slovenliness left unseized

The Royal Bath Hotel’s car park

The West Overcliff Drive

Cumberland Clark (1862-1941)

The opening of a poem with this title by Cumberland Clark, identified by Dalrymple as the second-worst poet in the English language, reads:

Do you know the West Overcliff Drive?
If you don’t, there’s no doubt that you ought to.
With interest always alive,
It’s a place everyone should be brought to.

16 West Overcliff Drive

Bournemouth boarding houses

The opening stanza of a production with this title by Cumberland Clark, identified by Dalrymple as the second-worst poet in the English language, reads:

The boarding houses met with in this splendid seaside town
Are mainly very excellent, deserving their renown.
The residents form usually congenial society,
Although among so many you meet types in great variety.

Visitors call it the Yorkshire lady’s house with the pleasant memories

Sterling qualities

Dalrymple remembers, about 30 years ago, reading an obituary in the Lancet

that appeared below a small photograph of the subject, a man with a face like a prune. He looked every inch the irascible pedant.

Went the obituary:

Though not immediately likeable, those who knew him well detected many sterling qualities.

Populism in its most malign form

Black cab rapist: John Warboys

Plebiscitary justice

Dalrymple writes that if the public were allowed to have its say in the granting of parole,

it is difficult to conceive that any decisions would ever be taken that defied the strongly-expressed views of large numbers of people.


whether any such opinions were expressed at all would be a matter of chance or factors that have nothing to do with justice.

The belief of John Worboys’ victims that he would repeat his crimes if released

was no firmer evidence than his psychologists’ belief that he wouldn’t repeat them.