Author Archives: DalrympleFan

Expect many more Moslem ‘martyrs’

Dalrymple lists the factors that ensure fertile ground for the recruitment of further ‘martyrs’ for years to come:

  • a highly secularised Moslem population whose men nevertheless wish to maintain their dominance over women and need a justification for doing so
  • the hurtful experience of disdain or rejection from the surrounding society
  • the bitter disappointment of a frustrated materialism and a seemingly perpetual inferior status in the economic hierarchy
  • the extreme insufficiency and unattractiveness of modern popular culture that is without value
  • the readiness to hand of an ideological and religious solution that is flattering to self-esteem and allegedly all-sufficient, and yet in unavoidable conflict with a large element of each individual’s identity
  • an oscillation between feelings of inferiority and superiority, between humiliation about that which is Western and that which is non-Western in the self
  • the grotesque inflation of the importance of personal existential problems that is typical of modern individualism

A patient can withstand quite a lot of medical error

Dalrymple suspects that

if you examined the notes of 100 medical cases, you would find possible negligence in the great majority, say 90:

  • a question not asked, or if asked, the answer not recorded
  • an examination not done
  • a result disregarded
  • a possible diagnosis overlooked
  • an unnecessary and potentially dangerous prescription (as many prescriptions are)
  • a superfluous or wrong procedure performed

Most negligence, Dalrymple points out,

goes unremarked and unpunished: the human being is a tough organism and can withstand quite a lot of medical error.

It makes you nostalgic for Marxism

Perhaps in earlier times, writes Dalrymple, Salman Abedi

would have found a Marxist groupuscule providing the total explanation of all the ills of the world that troubled youth so often seek, and suggesting to them the total solution. But the downfall of the Soviet Union destroyed the prestige of Marxism, so Abedi sought his total explanation and solution elsewhere. The obvious place was Islam, for he was of Muslim descent and heritage and there were no other contenders for possession of his soul, both little and grandiose.

Of interest to psychopathologists

Happier days

Dalrymple comments:

I never thought I would lament the demise of Marxism, but I have recently begun to remember it rather more fondly. By comparison with Islamism, it was intellectually compelling; Marxists could have interesting things to say, however mistaken they were, which Islamists never can and never will be able to do. At most, they are interesting to psychopathologists.

The ideology of the caliphate, he notes,

is so absurd and intellectually vacuous that to try to refute it is to do it more honour than it deserves or is capable of supporting.

But, he says, history proves that

absurdity is no obstacle to acceptance, even (or perhaps I should say especially) by the intelligent and educated.

Cherchez les Saoudiens

Moreover, Islamism in Europe, Dalrymple points out,

can count on the financial support of, or sustenance by, the Saudi, or Wahhabi, state, which has spent untold millions in spreading its version of rigourism, on creating the atmosphere in which it flourishes and without which it would not survive.

Delicacy of the Donald

Trump’s Arabian circumlocution

What the US president expressed to the Saudis, Dalrymple tells an interviewer (‘The Manchester suicide bombing and the minds of terrorists’, from 10:50), was

euphemistic, to say the least. And to be saying it in Saudi Arabia, which is much more closely concerned with terrorism in Western Europe than Iran has been, is slightly alarming.

Dalrymple is not persuaded that the Riyadh government can be regarded as separate and distinct from the Wahhabi fanatics.

How to make a man go berserk

It is, writes Dalrymple,

the small acts of personal disdain rather than the large but abstract and distant injustices that infuriate people and drive them to violence.

No better way exists

of enraging someone than to express obvious contempt for him, especially for something over which he has little control.

This is one of the reasons manners are so important:

the mannerly may disdain, but not show it.

Snobbery

breeds a resentment that causes people to seek revenge even at great personal cost to themselves. It renders men insensate.

A good tool but a bad master

Dalrymple notes that information (whether true or false) without perspective may be a higher form of ignorance — and a more dangerous form, insofar as it disguises itself as knowledge.

Ik wil alleen duidelijk maken dat informatie (of die nu juist of onjuist is) op zichzelf, als perspectief ontbreekt, een hogere vorm van onwetendheid kan zijn, en een gevaarlijker vorm in zoverre ze zich vermomt als kennis; en dat daarom een enorm magazijn van kennis op zichzelf niemand daadwerkelijk iets zal bijbrengen, hoe toegankelijk dat magazijn ook is voor mensen.

However long you browse the internet, it is no substitute for slow cultivation of judgment and a critical spirit, or for the development of a mature perspective.

Hoe lang je ook surft op internet, het kan geen vervanging zijn voor het langzame aankweken van beoordelingsvermogen en een kritische geest, of voor het ontwikkelen van een volwassen perspectief. Overmatig vertrouwen op gemakkelijk toegankelijke bronnen zou kunnen leiden tot een permanent oppervlakkige kijk op de dingen.

How we are complicit in our enslavement

In the literal sense, Dalrymple notes,

the West triumphed in the Cold War. Nevertheless, a kind of creeping sovietisation has overtaken it as if in revenge.

The process, he writes, is subtle and insidious.

I came to the conclusion when I travelled in what was then the Eastern Bloc that the ubiquitous propaganda was not intended to persuade, much less to inform, but to humiliate; for citizens (if that is the proper word for them under that system) had not merely to avoid contradicting it in public, but to agree with it in public.

From the point of view of the ruling power,

the more outrageously false the propaganda, the better. For to force people to assent to propositions that are outrageously false, on pain of losing their livelihoods or worse, was to crush them morally and psychologically, and thus make them docile and easily manipulated.

Soviet rule is within us

Dalrymple comes across a sentence by Sergei Dovlatov:

There is no greater tragedy for a man than totally to lack character.

This, says Dalrymple,

is what I encountered every day, when the bureaucrats with whom I had to deal could not look me in the eye. Theirs was a kind of suffering, endured for the sake of a pension.

Western intellectuals’ grisly infatuation with tyrants

Dalrymple explains that Paul Hollander has had

a long interest in political deception and self-deception — not surprising in someone with first-hand experience of both the Nazis and the Communists in his native Hungary.

In 1981 Hollander published

his classic study of Western intellectuals who travelled, mainly on severely guided tours, to communist countries, principally Stalin’s Russia, Mao’s China, and Castro’s Cuba.

The intellectuals had returned

with glowing accounts of the new (and better) worlds under construction there. The contrast between their accounts and reality would have been funny had reality itself not been so terrible.

Tyrants are their heroes

The list, writes Dalrymple,

of influential intellectuals who have given their blessing to the most obviously terrible régimes is impressive.