Category Archives: British character

In England, inner emigration is the only option for decent people

Britishers, writes Dalrymple, are

more comprehensively surveyed as they go about their daily business than the poor Soviets ever were.

The surveillance

is intended not to protect or deter, but to intimidate.

There is in Britain, he notes,

a nomenclatura who wield great and irresponsible power, whose life is distant from that of the great majority of citizens. As in the Soviet Union, they do not own the state institutions in which they work, but they have the usufruct of them. Their privileges are wildly out of proportion either to their merits or to the privileges that others enjoy. The first-class carriages of trains, for example, are almost exclusively for their use.

Sovietisation

Dalrymple points out that England has become

a propaganda state. No matter what economies are imposed on those parts of the public services that deliver services to the public, there is always time enough and money enough in state institutions for the production and distribution of glossy propaganda to the workers who receive it compulsorily (for they are never asked whether they want it or not).

As in communist countries, the purpose of the propaganda

is not to persuade, much less to inform, but to violate the probity of the recipient, who has neither the energy nor the courage to protest against its lies, and therefore becomes in some way complicit in them. The more untrue the propaganda is, the more at variance with the lived experience of those who are subjected to it, the better, for the more completely it destroys the integrity of the recipient, rendering him docile.

Therefore, at the very time when hospitals are under threat of closure,

the staff receive glossy handouts portraying them as happy and smiling, at one with the management, just as Soviet peasants were portrayed feasting at tables groaning with produce at the height of famine.

There is

a constantly-changing langue de bois used by the hierarchy of public institutions, to disguise the reality. Words no longer have tolerably fixed meaning, but must be construed in their dialectical sense. Experience teaches, for example, that when the chief executive of an NHS institution says, ‘I am passionately committed to x,’ he means x is about to be disbanded or closed down, and about time.

Careless talk costs careers

An atmosphere of fear stalks Great Britain, says Dalrymple.

People are reluctant to speak their minds, even if what is in their minds is by no means outrageous. Whole subjects, some of them of great national importance, are beyond the pale of acceptable discussion. In the public service, underlings are afraid that their superiors might get to hear anything that contradicts the latest ideological doctrine, or that fails to use the latest accepted terminology, and that they might suffer.

Professionals have to take part in many fraudulent

ceremonial procedures, such as endless meetings of a semi-political nature, and perform bureaucratic tasks ever more intellectually corrupt and disconnected from the real goal of their work, compliance with which destroys their probity and turns them into ciphers.

Failure to protest

induces a state of self-hatred and contempt.

The best

go into inner emigration, and withdraw from public life completely.

The worst

join the apparatchiks.

Careerism, cronyism and looting of the public purse

Who is to blame for the Sovietisation of British life? Dalrymple explains that Margaret Thatcher played a large part.

Not only did she give the impression of being an economic determinist, a mirror-image Marxist, and not only was she a great centraliser, giving an impetus to the most ruthless forms of careerism and its corollary, cronyism, but she vastly increased the role of supposedly technocratic management in society, and particularly in the public service. She thought that professional managers were the way to control the vested interests of professions and public servants; in the process she created the new nomenclatura, with vested interests that dwarf all previous vested interests, and a looting of the public purse such as has not been seen for two centuries.

The Labour party,

to do it justice, saw its opportunity presented to it on a plate by the Conservatives. Trained in dialectics by those (many) among them with communist pasts, they read the situation with some subtlety. Not nationalisation, but a permanent revolution of ever-changing regulation, favour-swapping with big business, bureaucratic reorganisation, and the proliferation of parastatal bodies was the road to eternal power and the spoils it brought with it.

In the process,

the freedom and independence of the citizen had to be destroyed: a small price to pay, since they never valued it in the first place.

Dalrymple does not expect to see the Sovietisation reversed in his lifetime,

at least not without a cataclysm: and that might bring us something very much worse.

In the meantime, he has

joined the inner emigration.

An epiphænomenon in the life of the British people

It is often argued that Thatcherism played a rôle in

the terrible deterioration in the character of the British people,

but Dalrymple reminds us that

the deterioration was evident many years before Margaret Thatcher’s advent to power — which changed nothing.

Thatcher was

an epiphænomenon in the life of the British people. She spoke much, but achieved little.

What Blair says about the British people

A modern Briton

A modern Briton

One of Blair’s motives for going to war might have been

an eye to his post-retirement value on the very lucrative American lecture circuit.

Blair, Dalrymple notes,

shows a greater avidity for vulgar high living than any recent holder of his office.

Dalrymple says Blair

presents us with a special puzzle. Although by no means an interesting man, in the sense that Doctor Johnson was an interesting man, we all find ourselves thinking about him at frustrating length. He is like a tune, neither loved nor lovely, that one cannot get out of one’s head.

In some ways

he appears to resemble that product of the diseased communist imagination, particularly beloved of Che Guevara, the New Man, at least in the sense that he does not resemble previous generations.

Screen Shot 2016-07-08 at 11.06.14Blair

is neither honest nor dishonest: he escapes entirely the criteria by which such a judgment of him could be made. To argue with him that what he says or does now is incompatible with what he said or did yesterday is about as fruitful as arguing a paranoid man out of his belief that the secret services of many countries are after him, or that his neighbours are listening to his thoughts through a screening device that they have invented. In short, Blair, having been born with Original Virtue, suffers from delusions of honesty.

Leaders, Dalrymple notes,

grow out of societies and a social context: they do not fall like bolts from the blue. Blair both represents, and is a cause of an acceleration in, a change in character of the British people. He is far from unique in his ability to find the happy coincidence between his thirst for money and power and the highest moral principles.

Anyone who has had dealings with the British public service, Dalrymple points out, will know that the principal qualities required for advancement within it are

  • unceasing sanctimony
  • brazenness
  • a craven dedication to orders from on high
  • an ability to justify a complete change of direction at a moment’s notice
  • a capacity for bullying those lower down the feeding chain, or those jostling for a place at the trough
  • a rigid self-control, to suppress any independence of mind or a tendency to consider the ethics of orders to be implemented

What is required in the civil servant is the ability, for example,

to present cancelled operations as an inestimable benefit to the patients concerned, while at the same time spotting niches for a little commercial activity of his own, whether it be by using the rules of employment to his own financial benefit or setting up a consultancy to advise his former employers.

Dalrymple recently met a public servant

who had risen up the ranks and had about him the air of a successful revolutionary. He travelled to London on the train first class every week (a ticket costs the equivalent of an annual working-class holiday in the sun), and attended sumptuous functions there attended by others such as himself, under the impression that by so doing he was working.

Here was the voice

of militant mediocrity, who expressed himself even in private in the language of Health Service meetings, believing that his large salary and high living at public expense were all for the good of those who paid for them. Just as the countries of Eastern Europe once had their little Stalins, so every department of every branch of the British public service has its little Blairs.

Today the ruling characteristics of the British are

  • deviousness
  • ruthlessness
  • an eye fixed on the main chance
  • sanctimony in the midst of obvious wrongdoing
  • toadying
  • bullying

As late as 1979, the British people, including administrators in hospitals, were largely upright. Some of the old virtues were seen, such as

  • stoicism
  • honesty
  • fortitude
  • irony
  • good humour

These can still be found,

but only in people who are of no importance,

for in Britain, good people

are like a defeated class.

Dalrymple says that

when words become the test of virtue, they also become the masks of vice. That is why sanctimony and ruthless self-interest are such powerful allies.

The collectivist rot in Britain

Screen Shot 2016-04-24 at 07.54.19An infantilised people

Its sense of irony, writes Dalrymple, once protected the British population

from infatuation with utopian dreams and unrealistic expectations.

But the English are sadly changed.

A sense of irony is the first victim of utopian dreams. The British tolerance of eccentricity has also evaporated; uniformity is what they want now, and are prepared informally to impose. They tolerate no deviation in taste or appearance from themselves.

The pressure to conform

to the canons of (lack of) popular taste has never been stronger. Those without interest in soccer hardly dare mention it in public. A dispiriting uniformity of character, deeply shallow, has settled over a land once richer in eccentrics than any other. No more Edward Lears for us: we prefer notoriety to oddity now.

The English are no longer sturdily independent as individuals, either. They now

feel no shame or even unease at accepting government handouts. (40% of them receive such handouts.)

Many Britons

see no difference between work and parasitism.

They are left with

very little of importance to decide for themselves, even in their private spheres.

The State

  • educates them (at least nominally)
  • provides for them in old age
  • frees them of the need to save money (doing so is in many cases made uneconomic)
  • treats them when they are ill
  • houses them if they cannot afford housing

Their choices

concern only sex and shopping.

No wonder, says Dalrymple, that the British

have changed in character, their sturdy independence replaced with passivity, querulousness, or even, at the lower reaches of society, a sullen resentment that not enough has been or is being done for them. For those at the bottom, such money as they receive is pocket money, reserved for the satisfaction of whims. They are infantilised. If they behave irresponsibly it is because both the rewards for behaving responsibly and the penalties for behaving irresponsibly have vanished.

Such people

come to live in a limbo in which there is nothing much to hope or strive for and nothing much to fear or lose. Private property and consumerism coexist with collectivism, and freedom for many people means little more than choice among goods. The free market, as Hayek did not foresee, has flourished alongside collectivism.

Rotten, skiving Britain

img_3044Dalrymple answers your questions on the land of scroungers

How many of the English are pretending to be ill in order to be able to live on handouts?

In Britain we have the remarkable situation where we have more invalids than after the First World War: 3m, of whom 2m could probably work.

Rewards for, to put it most kindly, the workshy. Is that not a scandal?

It is a fraud on a large scale: deeply corrupting of the recipients, who wrongly believe they are sick; the government, which shifts people out of the unemployment statistics; and the medical profession.

Aren’t the UK Tories capping working-age welfare payments at £500 per family regardless of the number of children?

It won’t work. A little bit of drug-trafficking here and illegal activity there will make up for the cuts.

Incentives to be a cheat and a slob

Why is nothing done about it? Is this wilful blindness?

The entrepreneurial parasitism of benefit recipients is not recognised by naïve bureaucrats. The recipients know how to manipulate things to get the maximum benefit; they are reacting to incentives.

Why are there so few White Britons in basic service jobs?

Culture, the welfare system and rigidities in the housing market are to blame.

Employers greatly prefer, for example, Poles, do they not?

Poles are better than the English in a work ethic sense, and they often speak better English.

Drug addicts

Do you have any time for libertarian arguments on drug legalisation?

John Stuart Mill (who ­argued that individuals should be free to harm themselves but not others) thought that fathers who abandoned their children should be put to forced labour. You don’t hear that bit quoted much by legalisation advocates.

Fifth-rate intellectuals

Who is responsible for the British mess?

Most of the blame for the social dysfunction lies with our intellectual class, who revel in this behaviour.

Familial disintegration 

To what extent do women bear some of the blame for domestic violence?

Men who commit violence against women should, of course, be put in prison, but the idea that women are playing no part in this is wrong.

The English were constipated: now they’re incontinent

Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 21.17.05Dalrymple explains that his account of Britain as a declining, broken society is

ironic in the sense that I don’t think there was a golden age in which society was whole.

But

we have to look at the problems we have. Every age looks at the problems it has, and what I’ve found in England is a refusal to face the problems: they’re just too uncomfortable.

Dalrymple says it is, to a degree, a

puzzle

as to why Britain has become more degraded than all other comparable countries. But he points to

a gestalt switch: what was regarded as good is regarded as bad, and vice-versa. Emotional constipation, once a characteristic of the British, has become emotional incontinence. People regard it as a good thing to express themselves, irrespective of whether they’ve anything to express.

For reasons of hormonal disaffection, young people are disposed to throw themselves into ideological causes. They are susceptible to ideological rot, as they are to criminality,

which is a young man’s game.

With regard to English anti-social life, Dalrymple says:

If you go to entertainment areas, there is always an element of threat in Britain.

He recounts an experience he had in Manchester, where he was staying at an hotel.

There was laughing and screaming outside at 1.30 in the morning. When I went out the next morning, I found that someone had been nearly murdered — he was in hospital, in a coma. You can’t tell the difference in England between people enjoying themselves and someone being murdered.

The grossly sordid British

How they acquired a taste for the trashy, the vulgar, the stupid and the worthless

The toffs of Auntie hired Jimmy Savile, says Dalrymple, for his cunning and ability to take advantage of changing times. He was knighted, for services to downward cultural drift.

Dalrymple writes:

Official endorsement of execrable taste was a boon to those who had to fill several channels a day for 24 hours, because stupid programmes of execrable taste are so easy to produce by comparison with those of intellectual or artistic value, which can be produced only in limited quantity.

Savile was a militant vulgarian to the last,

as his gravestone demonstrated. But it is only the vulgarity of modern British gravestones to a slightly higher degree.

Savile was

both a beneficiary and shaper of contemporary British taste: he found it bad and left it worse. If his field had been art instead of prolefeed, the critics would have praised him for being avant-garde and transgressive.

Savile was a product

not just of the BBC, but of the British people, of whose taste he was a true reflection.


The English then and now

Screen Shot 2015-12-21 at 09.00.33Once, writes Dalrymple, the qualities of the English population included

  • cool and ironic detachment from its own experience, that permitted it to face adversity with great good humour and modesty rather than by resort to histrionics
  • a polite restraint that was a precondition of depth of character. This restraint seemed to me heroic in an undemonstrative way; it was also the guarantor of an implicit subtlety

Today the chief characteristics of the English, Dalrymple points out, are

  • militant vulgarity
  • lack of restraint
  • arrogant loudness
  • ferocious and determined drunkenness
  • antisocial egotism
  • aggression and quick resort to violence
  • grossness of appetites
  • prideful ugliness of appearance
  • lack of finesse in any department of human existence

Moral delicacy on Facebook

All we want is attention

All we want is attention

The internet and Facebook, Dalrymple notes,

are certainly bringing into prominence the intrinsic decency and sense of fair play of the English,

as well as their

refined use of language.

He cites the Facebook contributions that greeted the reduction of the sentence given to Lee Kilburn. Mr Kilburn, Dalrymple explains,

Screen Shot 2015-10-25 at 11.58.04is a 42-year-old man of previously good character who was driven to distraction by children who constantly knocked on his door and ran away. His wife had just been diagnosed with a brain tumour. Mr Kilburn chased one of the children who had knocked on his door, and there are two versions of what happened: he says he ran after her, grabbed her and she fell, he fell on top of her and she broke her nose on the ground; she says he punched her and broke his nose.

Mr Kilburn admitted that he had lost his temper and was in the wrong, but denied that he had intended to injure the girl. The judges agreed that there were mitigating circumstances, freed him from jail and suspended his sentence. One response on Facebook to the judicial decision read as follows:

Screen Shot 2015-10-25 at 11.59.15I’d go inside [i.e. be admitted to prison] just to wrap a quilt round his neck and stab the **** in his skull until his head is drained, no remorse, no mercy, dead! His cell would be covered in red.

Dalrymple comments:

Screen Shot 2015-10-25 at 12.00.42The moral delicacy of the man who wrote this is evident from his refusal to spell out the four-letter word he wanted to use to describe Mr Kilburn. The line has to be drawn somewhere.

He asks:

Did people have sentiments such as the above before Facebook enabled them to be expressed anonymously in public, or did the possibility of expressing them in public anonymously call them forth?

Screen Shot 2015-10-25 at 12.02.49

Rottrollen (detail), 1917. John Bauer. Pen and wash

 

Drunken retching as self-realisation

Screen Shot 2015-07-03 at 08.15.24The British, Dalrymple points out, are

despised throughout the world wherever they congregate in any numbers.

In any English town on any night of the week you will see

scenes of charmless vulgarity, in which thousands of scantily clad, lumpen sluts scream drunkenly, and men vomit proudly in the gutters.

It has been suggested that the English might be able to develop civilised Mediterranean café culture. Dalrymple remarks:

You might as well preach the comforts of the igloo and the tastiness of whale blubber to the Maasai.

Much of the British population believes

not only that it has no duty to control itself, but that it is harmful to try to do so. It believes that screaming, smashing bottles, vomiting, urinating against walls in full view of others, swaying drunkenly in the gutter, and hailing strangers to give them lifts, are essential to its health and emotional wellbeing, that drinking in this fashion is Aristotelian catharsis.

For the English,

there can be no higher accolade for a night out than that no trace of it remains in the brain. ‘Getting wasted’ and then behaving antisocially before passing out is the pinnacle of social life.

Just as the British government is so corrupt that it does not know that it is corrupt, so the British people

are so lacking in self-respect that they do not know that self-respect is desirable.

In England, drunkenness

to the point of brutish amnesia is regarded as admirable, a high achievement.