Author Archives: DalrympleFans

Pyongyang-sur-Seine

When you look at much modern architecture in the West, writes Dalrymple,

it bears a striking resemblance to that of Pyongyang.

In France,

whose intellectuals have long had a fascination with totalitarianism, the deeply fascist architect Le Corbusier is an almost untouchable figure in schools of architecture. Criticism of his work is career suicide.

Dalrymple says that Le Corbusier’s urbanism bears a very strong resemblance to Pyongyang’s. Le Corbusier

hated the street and spontaneous street life. He saw it as a bacterial infection of his otherwise pure culture of architecture without humans. The North Korean regime hates and fears street life, as did Le Corbusier, as a kind of contamination that escapes its control. It builds like Le Corbusier, whose plan Voisin was to turn Paris into Pyongyang-sur-Seine before Pyongyang had been conceived. The parallels between Le Corbusier and other modernists, such as Lúcio Costa, the urbanist of Brasília, and the Kim dynasty are very strong.

Triumph of the monomaniacs

Groupuscules of fanatic freaks wage asymmetric warfare against the rest of us

Dalrymple reports that a paid-for ‘I love J.K. Rowling’ advertisement appeared at a railway station, but the station authorities read into it

an endorsement of the author’s views about transsexualism that have led to unpleasant, intolerant and cowardly denunciations of her.

J.K. Rowling had gone in the minds of the station authorities from being

a world-famous author with a large œuvre

to

the mouthpiece of views that enrage certain monomaniacs and those who are terrified into endorsing them.

The result, Dalrymple writes, was that

in an act of anticipatory surrender, or what a clever Dutch friend of mine calls creative appeasement, the authorities decided to remove the advertisement before anyone could protest. In fact, no one had protested by the time they took it down.

The message ‘I love J.K. Rowling’

could be construed politically only by monomaniacs, even had the massage been intended to be construed in this manner.

We are, Dalrymple writes,

constantly treading on eggshells, thanks to the ideological monomaniacs in our midst. Our freedom of expression is not under threat from the government (as traditionally it was) but from groupuscules who are engaged in asymmetrical wars with the rest of society. They care deeply about a single thing — it is the meaning of their lives. The rest of us, among whom the matter is merely one thing among many others, do not care about it nearly so deeply, though our opinion about it may be, and usually is, diametrically the opposite of that of the monomaniacs.

The monomaniacs

win almost every time because their advocacy is passionate and continual, while everyone’s else’s opposition is lukewarm and intermittent because they have so much else to do and think about.

Moreover,

if you can make your opponents’ lives a misery, you are halfway to victory. This is how what was unthinkable or laughable only yesterday becomes an unassailable orthodoxy today. The speed with which this happens is accelerating.

And since, in the absence of religious belief, causes become the meaning of life for so many,

there is a permanent effervescence of outlandish demands, or rather of demands that would have been outlandish only a few years, months or weeks before.

The psychiatrist driven potty by Trump

Non compos mentis: Bandy Lee

Out of her tiny little mind

A totally unhinged colleague of Dalrymple’s in the profession of psychiatry called Bandy Lee has branded the American president a mass murderer. Dalrymple responds with the observation that while Donald J. Trump has certain deficiencies of character (don’t we all?) and is not, perhaps, the sort of person one would invite to dinner, he

has bombed no foreign countries; nor has he called out troops and instructed them to mow down citizens in the street. True, he is not an emollient man, but that is not the same as being a mass killer.

Trump has driven Lee nuts. She wants him locked up. She has tweeted about him something like 9,000 times. She is utterly obsessed by him. She

warned against the dangers he posed to the world from before his election, in the manner of old-fashioned preachers who used to warn their congregation of the eternal hellfire to come if they masturbated. (Physicians were more moderate. They warned only of blindness and mental debility.)

But Trump has let her down.

He has not blown the world up. Indeed, he has been rather isolationist, more eager to repatriate troops than to send them out to desert sands in the attempt to turn immemorial tyrannies into democracies. The number of American military deaths in the last four years has been lamentably low, from the point of view of Dr Lee’s predictions.

Of unsound mind

The pub epidemiologists

Instant expertise

The world, writes Dalrymple,

now has hundreds of millions, if not several billions, of virologists and clinicians.

All of them know best how to deal with the Chinese flu. It sometimes seems, he says, as if

the certainty with which views are held is inversely proportional to the solidity of the factual basis on which they are founded.

People on the internet

often take a religious attitude towards their doctrine and condemn as heretics all those who express doubts. Stridency of views is often indicative of unacknowledged uncertainties. Zinc supplementarians and others of the type cling to their beliefs with a fervour that evidence does not merit.

Boboland and Bongoland do not mix

Apartheid, European-style

Dalrymple writes that not far from his flat,

there is an area that was once a country village, which in the 18th and 19th centuries was an aristocratic retreat but which has long since been incorporated, de facto and de jure, into the city. The aristocrats have been replaced by the bobos, the bourgeois bohemians, with their cafés and restaurants and galleries selling stream-of-consciousness art. Property prices are eye-wateringly high.

On the other side of a road, you cross from Boboland into Bongoland.

Suddenly there is hardly a white face to be seen. The groceries are full of ‘exotic’ vegetables and stockfish of various kinds, as well as long-frozen products whose nature is not immediately obvious to me. The population, at weekends dressed in colourful printed African robes (no doubt made in China or Bangladesh), has been decanted into huge buildings of Corbusian inspiration, of an ugliness, brutality, and inhumanity that surpasses belief, and which are the equivalent of battery farms for chickens. Posters advertise Communist Party–organised demonstrations or collections of clothes for distribution to the poor; anti-capitalist slogans are everywhere.

Dalrymple observes that there is an easy sociability.

There is a certain solidarity. In one African grocery, I saw a woman with a basket of goods, not amounting to very much, who had not enough money to pay for the last item, a few tomatoes. The owner — a Malian — told her to take them anyway. He said to another woman, when she couldn’t find her money, ‘Just give me a kiss.’ Everyone rocked with laughter, with that full-souled laughter that I know so well from my time in Africa.

Boboland and Bongoland do not mix,

notwithstanding a geographical separation of not more than 20 yards and Boboland’s ideological adherence to multiculturalism.

No bobo ventures into Bongoland, and no bongo ventures into Boboland.

There was more mixing in Johannesburg under apartheid than here.

Which does Dalrymple prefer, Boboland or Bongoland? He supposes that he is a bobo, but he feels more warmth towards Bongoland.

My heart is in the latter, but my wallet is in the former.

Survivors of Nocturia advocacy organisation launched

Dalrymple has started this pressure group, though

against whom we have a grievance or could pressurise or, even better, sue for compensation is not obvious.

He wet the bed at night until comparatively late in childhood.

I remember the humiliation of it, the horrible feeling of the protective plastic or rubber sheet used to protect the mattress, my frantic attempts to dry the linen sheet before anyone noticed the following morning, by waving it in the air or placing it on a heater in the middle of the night, though this deception was in vain because, even if dried, the sheet bore the stigmata of my weakness or wickedness.

Dalrymple says that only onetime bedwetters

can imagine the misery of this condition when it carries on much later than it should. This misery is one of the my most vivid memories of childhood and, though I do not often do so, I can easily recall it to mind.

The incalculable economic cost of virus curbs

Dalrymple writes that after the government lifted restrictions for a period, adolescents and young adults in Britain

behaved as if nothing had happened. They congregated in crowds, they drank to excess, they partied. In short, they continued their normal life of tasteless and vulgar debauchery which makes them, in my estimation, among the least attractive of demographic groups anywhere in the world.

Nevertheless, their perception of the risk to themselves of the Wuhan virus

was quite accurate.

The economic cost of the drastic steps taken by the State

has been incalculable, and might last for generations. The borrowing they resulted in was equal to that necessitated by the prosecution of a world war. How much economic damage are we prepared to sustain to save the lives of ill 80-year-olds?

With luck,

these disturbing questions will be taken out of our hands. The Spanish flu disappeared, albeit having killed 50m people first (the equivalent of 150m today), and has never came back.

It could be, Dalrymple says, that

the indiscipline of the population is a reaction to the constant badgering by regulation that it experiences, often by authorities that are stupid and incompetent. As Dostoyevsky reminds us, even were government to be wholly benevolent and all its provisions entirely for our benefit, we shouldn’t abide by them — merely to assert our status as free and self-directed beings.

Eisgruberism is the predominant ideology of our time

Christopher L. Eisgruber

There are, writes Dalrymple,

millions of Dr Eisgrubers all over America,

  • shooting policemen
  • defæcating in the streets
  • expressing (in their own small way) Eisgruberist sentiment
  • pulling down statues

Dalrymple comments:

If they do so in less genteel fashion than Dr Eisgruber, one must remember that they didn’t have Dr Eisgruber’s advantages.

Epidemic puts Dalrymple back on GMC register

As it attempts to tackle the problem of the Chinese flu, the British State has recalled Dalrymple (along with many other retired medics) to the extent that it has placed him back on the General Medical Council’s register of those with a licence to practise medicine.

Black Lives Matter is much to be feared

In 1976, in The Totalitarian Temptation, Jean-François Revel

condemned the Western intelligentsia’s faiblesse, which was at the same time dishonest, posturing, stupid, and evil, for Stalinist-style dictatorships.

Dalrymple writes:

One might have thought that with the downfall of the Soviet Union, the totalitarian temptation had been exorcised. This was a superficial view. The temptation balkanised and was repatriated. Totalitarianism had been shown to be inherently absurd, intellectually nugatory, and catastrophic in practice. This was not sufficient to destroy its attractions, a least for those who desire a complete solution to all life’s little problems such as how to live and what to live for. A solution in the mind is worth a thousand disasters.

It takes, he says,

a certain level of education to feel the temptations of totalitarianism: they do not occur to the illiterate but only to the intelligentsia. The latter has increased in size with the expansion of attendance at institutions of tertiary instruction.

We do not yet live, Dalrymple points out,

under a Soviet-type tyranny in which every university thesis, on no matter how arcane a subject, is obliged to quote Lenin. It is still possible, though not at all easy, to live as a scholar in our societies outside the university system.

But

it does not require the tyranny of the complete police state to obtain a high degree of intellectual conformity. Young academics of my acquaintance tell me that they are afraid to speak their minds, not because they would fear for their lives, but fear for their promotion. This is very far from the Millian ideal of freedom of thought and speech.

It is not merely that they must keep their mouths shut and not say what they think;

it is that they must positively subscribe to things that they believe to be bad or false. This is a mark of totalitarianism. They must subscribe to doctrines they believe absurd, for example by describing in job applications their future efforts to promote diversity, so-called. By making the expression of untruth the condition of employment, probity is destroyed in advance. Those who lack it are easier to control.

Increasingly, social movements

do not allow any neutrality with regard to the causes that they promote. Non-adherence is no different from enmity and derogation is evil: if you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem. In vain might you argue that your interest is elsewhere, in the taxonomy of grasshoppers or in the biochemistry of acorns or in the bibliography of Pope: there is one subject that trumps all others, and on it only one opinion is permissible. You must pass a test of loyalty.

Dalrymple says that the success of Black Lives Matter in cowing so large a part of the intelligentsia

is in a way admirable, a model of political organisation, though one much to be feared. By claiming that silence is violence, it has made hand-wringing (to avoid its anathema) the mark, and almost the whole, of virtue. It has successfully reversed King’s goal, such that the colour of a man’s skin is once again more important than the content of his character, and it has made respectable that most Stalino-Maoist of notions, that people should be promoted and rewarded according to their social (in this case, racial) origins. Anyone who disagrees is an enemy of the people, the word people being used in a severely technical sense, to mean the arbiters of the allocation of rewards.

The obvious incompatibility of this with freedom

should not blind us to its popularity with the very large number of people who have been trained in the various branches of Resentment Studies. Totalitarianism offers career prospects to those of apparatchik disposition and abilities, while appealing to the resentment of at least a portion of the population and its joy in the humiliation of those who were previously more fortunately placed than themselves.

Dalrymple notes that it is now many years that power rather than liberty has been

the cynosure of all teaching of political philosophy in universities, the latter being regarded as a veil or smokescreen for the maldistribution of the former. The only question worth asking is Lenin’s, ‘Who, whom?’ All else is persiflage. The stage is set for social conflict that can be adjudicated only by a class of all-powerful philosopher-kings.