Author Archives: DalrympleFans

Make the world safer for cannibals

They’re only human.

People who eat the flesh of their own kind, members of the Ku Klux Klan, rapists, etc., are human. Stigmatising these communities because of choices different from yours is pure prejudice. Work within yourself to end stigma.

  • Make the world safer for blacks, browns, whites, immigrants, refugees, strangers, Muslims, Jews, Christians, old people, children, disabled people, lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders, straights, northerners, southerners, easterners, westerners, cowboys, Indians, poor, rich, criminals, addicts, people in recovery, and everyone else you secretly diminish to inflate your ego and self-worth.
  • Make the world safer for warmongers, genocidal murderers, racists, religious fanatics, cannibals, child-abusers, slave-drivers, pimps, and other stigmatised groups.

George Floyd was no black Jesus

Dalrymple writes:

When I first saw the mural of George Floyd with angel wings, I assumed that it was a satire — effective, perhaps, but not in the best of taste. Shortly afterwards, however, I realised that the mural was in earnest. The picture in the newspaper included a man genuflecting before it, and the caption said that he was making a ‘pilgrimage’.

Floyd

was not a saint; he was a bad man, and being killed by a brutal policeman does not change a man’s life from bad to good.

At least one of Floyd’s crimes, Dalrymple notes,

was of deep-dyed malignity. Along with five others, he broke into a pregnant woman’s house and held her at gunpoint while his associates ransacked the house for drugs and money. This is not the kind of crime that results from a sudden surrender to temptation. It was premeditated and planned.

Floyd

had several convictions for possession and supply of drugs, yet when he moved to Minneapolis, allegedly to turn over a new leaf, he still took drugs, and a video showed him discarding what was probably a packet of drugs when he was first arrested.

Dalrymple points out that of course

none of this exculpates the policeman, Derek Chauvin, and no decent person would suggest that it did.

But

the ludicrous sanctification of Floyd naturally conduces to an examination of his character, and is moreover a sign of our modern tendency to make martyrs or saints of victims. But victims do not have to be martyrs or saints in order to be victims, and  Floyd certainly did not die for any cause.

Sentimentality

is a short step away from brutality.

The sanctification of Floyd implies, says Dalrymple,

that the character of a victim of murder is in some way a measure of the seriousness of the murder, when what is wrong with murder is that it is murder. Even the murder of a very bad man is murder, such that if Chauvin were killed in prison by other inmates, it would still be murder. We may in our hearts regret the murder of a good man more than we regret that of a bad, but the law can take no notice of such a distinction. Any other attitude would be to justify or excuse murder.

The penological doctrine of the bête-machine

Liberals give criminals the status Descartes conferred on animals

Penological liberals, writes Dalrymple, divide the population into

  1. those who may rightfully be subjected to punishment (a small minority)
  2. those who may not

The latter

at most require some kind of therapy to correct their disordered conduct, which arises from unfavourable life-experiences, usually in childhood. Much of their disordered conduct may be excused, as it is understandable given their circumstances. The circumstances need to change before criminals can be expected to comport themselves decently.

Looting of Walmart store, Tampa, 2020

The notion of crime is

mitigated to the point of extinction, so that no one is responsible for anything except for those, like Derek Chauvin, whom we place in the punishable class, those deemed fully responsible for their actions without mitigation.

Dalrymple notes that the division of humanity

into the minority such as Derek Chauvin, Harvey Weinstein, and Bernie Madoff who are deemed rightly punishable, and the majority who are not, unintentionally confers on the former a superior status, for only they are held to be fully human, with free will and moral responsibility. Ordinary street robbers or other common criminals, held by penological liberals to be victims of circumstance and not deserving of punishment, are reduced to mechanisms that register what impinges on them as a barometer registers atmospheric pressure.

This, he points out,

is wrong as a matter of fact — street robbers know full well what they are doing — and demeaning.

He asserts that

to excuse some and not others, and to excuse them without strict moral criteria but ex officio, that is to say by membership in a social, racial, or occupational group, is to undermine the only equality that really matters, namely equality under the law.

‘Et je m’étois ici particulièrement arrêté à faire voir que s’il y avoit de telles machines qui eussent les organes et la figure extérieure d’un singe ou de quelque autre animal sans raison, nous n’aurions aucun moyen pour reconnoître qu’elles ne seraient pas en tout de même nature que ces animaux; au lieu que s’il y en avoit qui eussent la ressemblance de nos corps, et imitassent autant nos actions que moralement il seroit possible, nous aurions toujours deux moyens très certains pour reconnoître qu’elles ne seroient point pour cela de vrais hommes: dont le premier est que jamais elles ne pourroient user de paroles ni d’autres signes en les composant, comme nous faisons pour déclarer aux autres nos pensées: car on peut bien concevoir qu’une machine soit tellement faite qu’elle profère des paroles, et même quelle en profère quelques unes à propos des actions corporelles qui causeront quelque changement en ses organes, comme, si on la touche en quelque endroit, qu’elle demande ce qu’on lui veut dire; si en un autre, qu’elle crie qu’on lui fait mal, et choses semblables; mais non pas qu’elle les arrange diversement pour répondre au sens de tout ce qui se dira en sa présence, ainsi que les hommes les plus hébétés peuvent faire. Et le second est que, bien qu’elles fissent plusieurs choses aussi bien ou peut-être mieux qu’aucun de nous, elles manqueroient infailliblement en quelques autres, par lesquelles on découvrirait qu’elles n’agiraient pas par connoissance, mais seulement par la disposition de leurs organes: car, au lieu que la raison est un instrument universel qui peut servir en toutes sortes de rencontres, ces organes ont besoin de quelque particulière disposition pour chaque action particulière; d’où vient qu’il est moralement impossible qu’il y en ait assez de divers en une machine pour la faire agir en toutes les occurrences de la vie de même façon que notre raison nous fait agir. Or, par ces deux mêmes moyens, on peut aussi connoître la différence qui est entre les hommes et les bêtes. Car c’est une chose bien remarquable qu’il n’y a point d’hommes si hébétés et si stupides, sans en excepter même les insensés, qu’ils ne soient capables d’arranger ensemble diverses paroles, et d’en composer un discours par lequel ils fassent entendre leurs pensées; et qu’au contraire il n’y a point d’autre animal, tant parfait et tant heureusement né qu’il puisse être, qui fasse le semblable. Ce qui n’arrive pas de ce qu’ils ont faute d’organes: car on voit que les pies et les perroquets peuvent proférer des paroles ainsi que nous, et toutefois ne peuvent parler ainsi que nous, c’est-à-dire en témoignant qu’ils pensent ce qu’ils disent; au lieu que les hommes qui étant nés sourds et muets sont privés des organes qui servent aux autres pour parler, autant ou plus que les bêtes, ont coutume d’inventer d’eux-mêmes quelques signes, par lesquels ils se font entendre à ceux qui étant ordinairement avec eux ont loisir d’apprendre leur langue. Et ceci ne témoigne pas seulement que les bêtes ont moins de raison que les hommes, mais qu’elles n’en ont point du tout: car on voit qu’il n’en faut que fort peu pour savoir parler; et d’autant qu’on remarque de l’inégalité entre les animaux d’une même espèce, aussi bien qu’entre les hommes, et que les uns sont plus aisés à dresser que les autres, il n’est pas croyable qu’un singe ou un perroquet qui seroit des plus parfaits de son espèce n’égalât en cela un enfant des plus stupides, ou du moins un enfant qui auroit le cerveau troublé, si leur âme n’étoit d’une nature toute différente de la nôtre. Et on ne doit pas confondre les paroles avec les mouvements naturels, qui témoignent les passions, et peuvent être imités par des machines aussi bien que par les animaux; ni penser, comme quelques anciens, que les bêtes parlent, bien que nous n’entendions pas leur langage. Car s’il étoit vrai, puisqu’elles ont plusieurs organes qui se rapportent aux nôtres, elles pourroient aussi bien se faire entendre à nous qu’à leurs semblables. C’est aussi une chose fort remarquable que, bien qu’il y ait plusieurs animaux qui témoignent plus d’industrie que nous en quelques unes de leurs actions, on voit toutefois que les mêmes n’en témoignent point du tout en beaucoup d’autres: de façon que ce qu’ils font mieux que nous ne prouve pas qu’ils ont de l’esprit, car à ce compte ils en auroient plus qu’aucun de nous et feroient mieux en toute autre chose; mais plutôt qu’ils n’en ont point, et que c’est la nature qui agit en eux selon la disposition de leurs organes: ainsi qu’on voit qu’un horloge, qui n’est composé que de roues et de ressorts, peut compter les heures et mesurer le temps plus justement que nous avec toute notre prudence.’

 

The fate of Derek Chauvin

Chauvin, writes Dalrymple,

will be severely punished even if his prison sentence is not a very long one, for I know as a former prison doctor that the lot of an imprisoned policeman, even for a far lesser crime than his, is not a happy one.

He will have to be under special protection for the duration of his sentence: prisoners,

who may have a poor memory for what they themselves have done, have the memory of elephants for policemen. A momentary lapse in his protection, ever more likely to happen the longer his sentence continues, will be sufficient for him to suffer a vicious attack. So long as he remains in prison, he will never know a moment’s peace of mind.

Chauvin and the three others ought to be tried according to law

George Floyd, Dalrymple writes,

was killed by a policeman behaving in a brutal fashion, and it is very difficult to think of extenuating circumstances for that officer’s conduct. Even had Floyd not been altogether angelic, it is part of a policeman’s duty to deal with awkward customers without killing them in brutal and even sadistic fashion.

Even worse, from the social point of view, was that Officer Derek Chauvin

was watched by three of his colleagues who did nothing to intervene. This suggests, at least prima facie, that there is something deeper wrong with the Minneapolis police force than individual rogue behaviour (though it wouldn’t surprise me if it emerged that Chauvin was a bully to his colleagues as well as to the public, and that they were afraid of him).

To establish any such general fault with the Minneapolis police department with reasonable certainty, however,

would require a genuinely independent and impartial inquiry, if such an inquiry could now ever be held.

The despised petite bourgeoisie

Dalrymple writes that there is no descriptive term in sociology, except Lumpenproletariat, that serves so much as one of abuse as petite bourgeoisie,

so much so that I doubt that anyone would proudly proclaim himself a member of that class.

In the minds of most people who would ever use the expression, Dalrymple suspects that petit bourgeois stands for

  • mean-spirited
  • bigoted
  • avaricious
  • unimaginative
  • hypocritical
  • egotistical
  • small-minded
  • envious
  • resentful
  • grasping
  • intolerant
  • cowardly but potentially aggressive
  • shortsighted
  • miserly
  • xenophobic
  • tasteless

It is not hard, he says,

to spot a considerable element of snobbery, social and intellectual, in this. It is all right to be interested in money so long as you make a great deal of it; anything less is pathetic and reprehensible. To be interested in the kind of economies and savings to which the petit bourgeois is given is beneath the dignity of a better — which is to say a higher or a lower — class.

No doubt it is true that the petite bourgeoisie

has sometimes supported atrocious leaders or ideas, but this only proves them to have been human, since all classes have done the same. No doubt it is also true that the petit bourgeois is sometimes scheming in a petty way. But is dishonest scheming worse if it is done on a small scale rather than big?

March of the moral thugs

Dalrymple writes that the demonstrations In London after George Floyd’s death

reinforced and propagated an obsessive interpretation of the world through the lens of race.

They illustrated two contemporary cultural traits:

  • The importance ascribed to opinion as an exclusive component of virtue. Holding the right opinions has never been as important if you want a reputation as a good person. The pressure to conform to the latest orthodoxy has increased, is increasing, and ought to be reduced. Good conduct, which requires effort, restraint, even self-sacrifice, has correspondingly become less important in earning a reputation for goodness. Holding a placard, chanting a slogan, expressing an opinion, is enough.
  • Vehemence as the marker of sincerity. Vehemence is mistaken for strength of feeling. In communist countries, it was dangerous to be the first to stop applauding the dictator’s speech and safer to exhibit enthusiasm to the maximum. And in a culture such as ours, which values the kind of emotional openness that is indistinguishable from psychobabble, vehemence is to be expected. The more you feel, as measured by the vehemence with which you express it, the better person you are, and the safer from criticism.

We have, says Dalrymple, entered an era of

moral thuggery. Substantial numbers of people, in the name of their moral outrage and sense of righteousness, would like to impose a régime in which people fear the midnight knock on the door.

The real opponents of racism

Racism, Dalrymple points out,

is truly opposed not by anti-racists, but by non-racists, that is, people who do not judge or behave towards others according to their race.

No justice no peace

Dalrymple writes that, to those who affect to believe it, the slogan gives carte blanche to

indulge in any violence they choose, in the name of bringing about justice as defined by themselves.

Since a state of perfect justice has never existed, any more than has a world free of sin,

endless violence — the opposite of peace — is being justified in advance.

Silence is violence

Dalrymple notes that the slogan reflects the demand that

everyone join in a chorus, failure to do so being a crime.

This, he points out,

goes further than authoritarianism, under which dissent is a crime. As under the totalitarians, positive and public assent to and enthusiasm for certain propositions are required.

Failure in this regard

is a symptom or sign of being an enemy of the people. If you do not join in the chorus, but are silent, you are a racist, complicit in the killing of George Floyd and other crimes.