Category Archives: bourgeoisie

A crashing bore actuated by burning hatred

Dalrymple writes that on the whole, the commentary evoked by the bicentenary of Karl Marx’s birth

obeyed the injunction not to speak ill of the dead, as if the passage of time and the deaths of millions in the name of the birthday boy did not somewhat attenuate the social imperative to mute one’s words.

Marx

believed that crises were inevitable until the advent of his utopia, in which such phenomena as private property, banks, and the bourgeoisie would cease to exist. In Marx’s vision, the ant would lie down with the anteater.

The combination, says Dalrymple,

of scathing criticism of the present and adolescent daydreaming is irresistible to quite a lot of people.

Dalrymple notes that Marx

was one of those people who love humanity and hate men. He was in most respects an unattractive figure, cocksure, domineering, intolerant, and hypocritical—though he had an undoubted charm in the domestic circle and was both very clever and intensely cultivated.

In his writing he was

a crashing bore with a brilliant turn of phrase. Burning hatred is never far from his prose, and gives it its spice. Nowhere is it clearer that hatred is by far the strongest of political emotions.

The anteater shall lie down with the ant

A reliable and trustworthy police force is not a denial of freedom but a precondition of its exercise

This ‘all coppers are bastards’ view of the police has spread, Dalrymple observes,

to a large section of the bourgeois intellectual class. Not long ago a journalist told me, en passant, that he hated the police. I asked why: had they falsely arrested, unjustifiably manhandled, brutally interrogated him? No, he replied: he had no personal reason; he just hated them for what they were. Well, as Lear said, nothing comes of nothing: and the journalist’s hatred of the police was unlikely to have sprung completely at random and fully formed from his consciousness. I suspected, as is so often the case with opinions lightly adopted but firmly held, that this one was forged from a combination of ignorance, dishonesty, and fashion. By expressing a dislike of the police, a bourgeois intellectual is establishing his solidarity with the poor.

But the bourgeois intellectual

needs to find reasons for his opinions: rationalisation is his métier. And it isn’t difficult for him to think up such reasons with regard to the police. Their function is to defend the social order: and since the social order is widely held to be responsible for the poverty of the poor, it follows that the police are in part responsible for that poverty. They are a part of the social injustice system.

This pretence, that the police are

but the executive arm of a hypocritical bourgeoisie determined to preserve its ill-gotten gains at the expense of the poor,

is

terrifyingly shallow when tested against the experience of people who suffer weak policing.

Dalrymple points out that the idea that a juster social order would render the police redundant is

utopian nonsense.

Dead-tree legacy media

Screen Shot 2016-08-07 at 10.40.17

The Paris newspaper Libération: aimed at ageing bourgeois bohemians of left-wing persuasion, many of them with ponytails

Dalrymple knows no young person who reads a newspaper. And those few newspapers which survive, thanks to (rapidly dwindling) sales to older readers,

more and more resemble magazines.

He notes that with modern technology, newspapers

can hardly any longer be the first to break news.

As their circulations slump and journalists are sacked in large numbers, newspapers

cannot do much investigative journalism, either.

All that is left to newspapers, Dalrymple points out, is

  • gossip about celebrities
  • explanations of the obvious
  • speculation about the future based on what has happened in the recent past
  • drivel about sport
  • articles catering to modern man’s fathomless narcissism

The proletarianised bohemian intelligentsia

La gauche divine

La gauche divine

Imagining it has a divine spark (as opposed to what it thinks of as the bovine self-contentment of the bourgeois), the proletarianised bohemian intelligentsia

  • claims political allegiance with the proletariat
  • pretends to some of the tastes of the proletariat, for example that for association football
  • has a bohemian lifestyle and at the same time claims the economic advantages and privileges of a bourgeoisie

The proletarianised bohemian intelligentsia is the enemy, writes Dalrymple, of

thrift, honesty, reliability, respectability, solidity, respect for learning, willingness to postpone gratification and politeness.

Detestable petit-bourgeois attitudes

Screen Shot 2014-02-17 at 13.01.06For more than 150 years, bourgeois respectability has been under ‘concerted and rarely contradicted’ literary and intellectual attack, Dalrymple writes. The striving for respectability of the petite bourgeoisie is viewed as

not merely dull, but hypocritical and immoral….Better outright egotism than such hypocrisy, for at least egotism is sincere. Do what you like because, underneath a veneer of righteousness, that is what everyone does anyway. Riches being extracted solely by exploitation of the poor, the morality of the rich is only a smokescreen for their depredations….Besides, morality is a bore: it cramps one’s style.

The eternally hypocritical English bourgeoisie

Screen Shot 2015-05-09 at 18.15.18The British lower classes are deeply unpleasing, having been thoroughly corrupted by welfarism. But the classes of Briton that excite the most disgust are the upper middle, to which Britain’s current, lamentable prime minister belongs.

It is not just the world-class snobbery and hypocrisy of the British upper-middle classes that repel. (The snobbery and hypocrisy persist, or are even heightened, despite the nation’s third-rate, piffling status. As snobs and hypocrites, Britons punch above their weight.)

Middle-class Britons are greatly more vulgar — and sillier — than before. They are the silly-billy bourgeoisie, and the idea of duty, responsibility, probity or self-restraint is alien to them, especially if they work in that abyss of imaginary money, the City of London. Dalrymple has, for example, often drawn attention to the grotesque, insensible vulgarity of one of their favourite magazines, the How To Spend It supplement of the Financial Times newspaper. They are, writes Dalrymple,

the underclass, but with more money.

The British middle classes are ‘not a pretty sight or a grateful sound’, for they

lack refinement in their tastes, except in matters of expensive technological appurtenances…Their manners, down to their gestures and very facial expressions, are crude, coarse and brutish.