Author Archives: DalrympleFans

Bile flowed through Lenin’s veins

If, writes Dalrymple, Lenin

was not yet a dictator when he started writing—it was 20 years before he became one—his style was from the first perfectly suited to that of a totalitarian panjandrum for whom debate was treason or worse. To the very slight extent that his prose is readable at all, it is because of the hatred, scorn, and contempt that it breathes from first to last. No one who has read Lenin’s prose will find it at all surprising that one of his favourite literary genres once he achieved power was the death warrant.

Yet

underneath his adamantine exterior there beat a heart of the purest utopian mush. Once the cleansing sea of blood that he spilt had receded, a fairytale world would emerge in which Man would become truly Man (as against what he had been before) and live thenceforth in perfect harmony. How anybody older than 14—let alone someone as intelligent as Lenin—could have believed such a thing is a mystery.

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The EU theodicy

Crown of thorns

For European politicians and bureaucrats, writes Dalrymple,

the ‘European project’ is like God — good by definition.

This means that

they have subsequently to work out a theodicy to explain, or explain away, its manifest and manifold deficiencies.

Fascist corporatism of the EU

How Brussels corrodes civil society

Suppose, writes Dalrymple,

you have an association for the protection of hedgehogs. The European Union then offers your association money to expand its activities, which of course it accepts. The Union then proposes a measure allegedly for the protection of hedgehogs, but actually intended to promote a large agrarian or industrial interest over a small one, first asking the association’s opinion about the proposed measure. Naturally, your association supports the Union because it has become dependent on the Union’s subsidy. The Union then claims that it enjoys the support of those who want to protect hedgehogs.

The best description of this process, he says, is

fascist corporatism, which so far lacks the paramilitary and repressive paraphernalia of real fascism. But as the European economic crisis mounts, that distinction could vanish.

Dalrymple warns that one should not mistake the dullness of Eurocrats

for lack of ambition, or the lack of flamboyance for the presence of scruple. History can repeat itself.

Why the plutocrats back Brussels

Dalrymple writes that corporate interests,

ever anxious to suppress competition, approve of European Union regulations because they render next to impossible the entry of competitors into any market in which they already enjoy a dominant position, while also allowing them to extend their domination into new markets. That is why the CAC 40 (the French bourse benchmark) will have more or less the same names 100 years hence.

Did Goolagong’s victory help the Aborigines?

Dalrymple writes that the victory of les Bleus in the World Cup

no more solves the social problems of France than did the victory of ­Evonne Goolagong at Wimbledon solve the problem of Australia’s Aborigines.

The outburst of hysterical optimism in France

is destined not to last very long — as it did not the previous time, in 1998, and as the riots in the Champs-Élysées and elsewhere indicate.

Of course, he says,

the desire for a magical or symbolic solution to intractable problems springs eternal.

The racist New York Times

Leafing through a copy of the New York newspaper the Times, Dalrymple finds France’s World Cup win described as

a victory of multiculturalism over identity politics. Not only did the victory celebrations signal what the Times called France’s embrace of multiculturalism, but it pointed out that the all-white Croatian team represented a country that was hostile to immigrants from very different cultures from its own.

This, says Dalrymple,

assumes two things, one of which proves the truth of one of modern American liberalism’s main planks, namely that racism is more difficult to eradicate from minds than one might suppose.

  • The newspaper assumed that the French team was multicultural ­because six of its players were of African descent, as if the colour of their skin and culture inevitably went together: once an African, ­always an African, presumably for genetic reasons.
  • By implying that the French victory signals some kind of cultural superiority, it ascribes to mere sporting events the ­importance that totalitarian ­régimes used to ascribe to them: we are back to the days when the Soviet Union used the victories of Tamara and Irina Press in putting the shot, throwing the javelin, etc. (it still has not been quite decided whether they were truly ­female), to suggest the superiority of the Soviet political and social system.

Tamara and Irina Press

England lost. What a relief

Dalrymple writes that he was

much relieved when Eng­land lost in the World Cup. They can usually be relied upon to lose, of course, so it was no great surprise. And as Shakespeare would have put it had they won, hark what discord follows!

A people

already given to riotous public drunkenness would have been uncontrollable — and would have taken pride in their debauchery. In Eng­land, people don’t just get drunk: they get drunk with pride.

Thank God!

Les Bleus champions du monde: des photos pour l’éternité

Dalrymple lights upon this heading in the French magazine the Point. He is reminded of

Kim Il-sung, president of North Korea for eternity.

There is, he writes,

something in the modern régime of bread and circuses that encourages such stupidity, in which a minor accomplishment counts as major and serious problems go by default.

Celebratory rioting, looting and arson

His heart swelled with patriotic relief when rioting broke out in various cities in France during the celebrations of the country’s victory.

Here, at last, was evidence that the English are not uniquely stupid and that other nations are catching up.

Some of the rioters who left the Champs-Élysées in a terrible mess

came prepared, bringing balaclavas. They smashed windows, looted stores, and attacked what in France are known as the forces of order. Nearly 300 people were arrested (more than 100 in Paris), and more than 800 cars were burned out. The fact that the forces of order felt it necessary to employ water-cannon and tear-gas suggests the problem was not on a minor scale.

But the ­reporting in the French press of these happy events, and in the Western liberal media,

was muted, to say the least. Why the reticence? Riots generally make excellent copy, none better in fact.

Macron’s display of vulgarity

Dalrymple writes:

Emmanuel Macron’s vulgar and undignified conduct in the stadium in which the World Cup victory took place was no doubt intended to demonstrate that, contrary to the impression that he has so far given his countrymen (our builder in France calls him Napoléon IV), he is a human being, possessed of the same emotions and tastes as M. Dupont as he drinks his pression on the café terrace and as les jeunes on their outings to Les Halles. It won’t work for long.

Les Halles

Postcard from Les Halles

Dalrymple writes that not long ago, the Paris newspaper the Monde published an article ‘inquiring why so many of the young people from the dispiriting banlieues (suburbs around Paris populated largely by blacks and people of North African ­descent) did not venture into the centre of Paris much beyond Les Halles, a huge concrete commercial centre. They said they did not feel at ease in the centre of Paris, they preferred Les Halles because it felt more American — by which they meant pop music throbbing everywhere, and shops selling ghetto outfits with baseball caps to wear backwards and sideways.’