Category Archives: brutishness

The brutish Donald Trump

It is, writes Dalrymple,

true that Haiti is in many respects a terrible place, which is why so many people want to leave it. Yet it pained me to hear of it spoken of in such terms, because there is so much more to it than the vulgar epithet suggests. The history of Haiti is a moving one, the people valiant and their culture of enormous interest. I have been only twice, but it exerts a hold on the imagination that can never be released. The tragedy and glory of the country are mixed, and symbolise the tragedy and glory of human life.

If Dalrymple were a Haitian who had fled Haiti in search of a better and much easier life, he

should nevertheless not have been pleased to hear it spoken of in this dismissive way, indeed I would have been hurt by it. I do not presume to know how familiar Mr Trump is with Haitian history, culture, and so forth, although I have my suspicions; and of course he has principally to consider the interests of the United States and Americans, not those of Haiti and Haitians. But what he said was not witty or wise, it was hurtful and insulting. I cannot see the giving of offence by the mere employment of crude and vulgar language as anything but a vice, and it is difficult to say whether it is worse if the person employing it knows or does not know what he is doing. If he knows, he cannot care; and if he does not know, he is a something of a brute.

Looters at the ready

The threat of barbarism and mob rule

In conditions of anarchy, after, for instance, a hurricane,

a crude and violent order, based upon brute force and psychopathic ruthlessness, soon establishes itself, which regards philanthropy not as a friend but as an enemy and a threat.

While Dalrymple acknowledges that

all of us who were born with original sin (or whatever you want to call man’s fundamental natural flaws) are capable of savagery in the right circumstances,

he points out that by no means all of us

immediately lose our veneer of civilisation in conditions of adversity, however great. A veneer may be thin, but this makes it more, not less, precious, and its upkeep more, not less, important.

Looters, Dalrymple notes,

look bitter, angry, resentful, and vengeful as they go about what British burglars are inclined (in all seriousness) to call their ‘work’. The gangs are reported to have used racial taunts during their depredations. In all probability, the looters believe that, in removing as much as they can from stores, they are not so much stealing as performing acts of restitution or compensatory justice for wrongs received. They are not wronging the owners of the stores; on the contrary, the owners of the stores have wronged them over the years by restricting their access to the goods they covet and to which they believe they have a right. The hurricane has thus given them the opportunity to take justice into their own hands and settle old scores.

It is, he says,

a terrible indictment of all the efforts undertaken in recent years by government welfare programmes and institutions that practice affirmative action, such as universities, to ameliorate the condition of underclass blacks. It implies that the nihilistic alienation of the looters and gang members is as great as that to be found in Soweto at the height of the apartheid regime. Far from ameliorating the situation, then, the billions spent on welfare programmes, and the intellectual ingenuity expended on justifying the unjustifiable in the form of affirmative action, have resulted in a hatred that is bitter and widespread among those condescended to in this manner.

Too far gone for Salvarsan

Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 22.48.55Dalrymple notes that Llewelyn Powys

detested the Kenyan colonists, whom he saw as greedy philistine brutes.

In one of the stories in Ebony and Ivory (1923),

a farm labourer is so badly treated by his employer, but has so little chance of escape, that he decides not to kill himself but simply to lie down and die – and he does, his corpse being burned as ‘Rubbish’, the title of the story.

In another story,

a young man just out to the colony starts out better and more refined than the other colonists but is gradually coarsened by them. He takes a local girl as a lover but contracts syphilis from her, so virulent that the doctor tells him that even Salvarsan cannot help him. He takes a pistol and shoots himself in the head.

Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 22.54.33Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 22.53.55Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 22.54.13

Anglo-Saxon gastronomic impoverishment

British culinary imbecility British culinary imbecility

Dalrymple writes:

I happen to dislike prepared foods, though more on æsthetic than on health grounds; I see what people choose and am appalled by their choices, which seem to me to be those of overindulged children who have never matured in their tastes.

He has

no real objection to regulation of the sugar content of prepared foods, provided it was done on intellectually honest grounds. Those grounds would not be that people are incapable of acting other than as they do, but that they are too idle to cook, their tastes and pleasures are too brutish, their habits too gross, for them to be left free to choose for themselves. Someone who knows better must guide them.

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.