There is in Britain, says Dalrymple (from 1:01:03),
a very crude materialism, and skewed values. Parents used to ask me why their child was so horrible when they did ‘everything’ for it. I asked what they meant by ‘everything’. The answer was: providing it with the latest tennis shoes, things of no value, rubbish. I’ve known a case of murder over the brand of tennis shoes.
Why is this?
Probably because there’s nothing else. There’s no cultural continuum, no pride in country, no political project, no religion.
There is, Dalrymple points out,
a loss of a sense of a hierarchy of value, as well as of a social hierarchy.
Dalrymple remembers his father, who was born in a poor quarter of London. The education he received there
was better than 99.9% of children today. His teachers — to whom he was always grateful — never took the view that he was poor and couldn’t be expected to learn Latin or appreciate science or art. They aimed to open his eyes to science and art. He told me that they would take children to museums in their spare time.
There is very little sense of that now because
the idea that one thing is higher than another has disappeared, especially from the intellectual class, who are all playing the shepherdess like Marie Antoinette. They don’t really like their own children not to have any sense of hierarchy, but they will propound the theory that there is no higher and lower, and unfortunately this affects everyone.