Category Archives: condescension

A grievance-politics entrepreneur’s imbecilic proposal

A man called Dedrick Asante-Muhammad has proposed in the London newspaper the Guardian that every American with an enslaved ancestor be given $20,000 annually for 20 years.

Dalrymple sees in this

a great deal of anxiety and self-contempt, as well as condescension. It is not deemed necessary to assist any other group in the way proposed, not even women. There is in it the suspicion that in an open society, blacks are doomed to end up, on average and as a group, at the bottom of the pile unless they are given special privileges.

Prejudice by itself, Dalrymple notes,

provided it is not universal and there are people who do not share it, does not prevent ascension on the social scale. It is not a lifetime ago that some of the élite educational institutions placed limits on the number of Jews admitted. No one would say that the Jews in America were impeded. Something similar is true of many other groups, some of which started off poorer than American blacks today, and whose members did not require subsidies to advance.

In any unequal society, he says,

life is easier for some people than for others. This is unfair, but as Thomas Sowell has pointed out, the quest for cosmic justice is both totalitarian in implication and can lead only to continual sifting of the entrails of group and individual disparities, a sifting that promotes resentment as well as conflict.

Open societies have a disadvantage.

They force you to look at your part in your situation. Unless you are a rip-roaring success, which few of us are (and those few are often not very attractive), you are forced to confront your ineptitude, lack of talent, bad choices from an early age, etc., etc. It is much easier to deny that your society is an open one, and sink into apathy, politicking, and continuation of immediately gratifying but ultimately self-destructive bad habits.

The inherent condescension of special funding of black actors

Give me the money!

Institutionalised racial discrimination

Hardly anyone, writes Dalrymple, questions the propriety of allocating funds on the basis of race. He notes that

visitors to the National Theatre or the Royal Shakespeare Company would be surprised to hear that black actors are underrepresented in the theatre, for in those companies’ productions, at least, they seem to be grossly overrepresented, presumably as a result of deliberate policy.

No one notices, either,

the inherent condescension of special funding of black actors and artists in other fields. There are no special funds, for example, for the Chinese, who are presumed able to look after themselves.

Nihilistic alienation in America

The folly of welfarism and affirmative action

Dalrymple ventures to indict

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.

He points out that,

far from ameliorating the situation, 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.

Repression carried out in the name of tolerance

screen-shot-2017-01-04-at-18-02-08Dalrymple points out that the judge in the Geert Wilders case

had to maintain that the Moroccans were a race, because the law does not recognise nationality or national origin as grounds for legal protection from insult and critical comment. This gave rise to a certain amount of hilarity. If nationality were to be confounded with race, Dutch law would henceforth have to recognize a Belgian race, a Swiss race, etc.

The idea, writes Dalrymple,

that there are certain groups in need of special protection from offence is incoherent and condescending, partaking of the qualities that the idea is supposed to be eliminating from the wicked human mind. The number of human groups that have, or could be, subjected to humiliation, discrimination, or worse is almost infinite. Persecution on economic grounds, for example, has been at least as frequent as persecution on racial grounds. To select a few groups for special protection is irreducibly discriminatory. It is a little like protecting certain species from the ravages of hunters because they are threatened with extinction and unlike other species are unable to protect themselves by fecundity, say, or by camouflage.

A couple of members of the Belgian race

A couple of members of the Belgian race

On the one hand, when Wilders

asks a crowd whether it wants more or fewer Moroccans in the Netherlands, I try to put myself in the position of a Moroccan, or Dutch citizen of Moroccan descent, and imagine what it is like to be regarded by a popular politician, almost ex officio, as a nuisance or a plague, even though all I want to do is to fit in with the society around me. It takes little imagination to understand how uncomfortable it would be.

On the other hand,

it would be incumbent upon me as an immigrant or descendent of an immigrant to try to understand why the majority population might not want their society to be fundamentally altered by immigration and why they might be in favour of a limitation of numbers of immigrants. In fact, it is by no means uncommon for members of immigrant groups themselves to wish such a limitation, for fear of provoking a backlash.

Tact, and imaginative sympathy for others, cannot, says Dalrymple,

be legislated. The clumsy attempt to decree tolerance has inflamed the opposite.

The characteristic deformation of the liberal conscience

'I have learned to be polite to the people who make these calls. I imagine that for them it is just a job like any other. Some of their contemporaries went into sales, others into the bank, yet others into insurance; they went into fraud (only a relative, not an absolute, distinction).'

‘I have learned to be polite to the people who make these calls. I imagine that for them it is just a job like any other. Some of their contemporaries went into sales, others into the bank, yet others into insurance; they went into fraud (only a relative, not an absolute, distinction).’

We are enjoined to put ourselves in other people’s shoes before judging them too harshly, but…

When (doubtless ill-paid) telephone fraudsters ring up from India, Dalrymple asks whether showing them politeness is humanity or pusillanimity. He writes:

We often think that to make excuses for others is kindness, to make excuses for ourselves dishonesty.

Therefore should we show a bit of kindness, a bit of consideration, to members of the telephone fraudster community?

After all, perhaps not. Dalrymple says:

To make excuses for others but not for ourselves easily becomes condescension or a sense of superiority moral and even existential. We are responsible for what we do, they are not. We act, they only react.

或曰:“以德报怨,何如?”子曰:“何以报德?以直报怨,以德报德。”

Emmanuel Jaffelin: criminals deserve a bit of gentillesse

The moral exhibitionist Emmanuel Jaffelin: criminals such as murderers and rapists have difficulty in their relations with society, and are crying out for a soupçon of understanding and gentillesse

The cult of insincerity

Confucian Analects (from chapter 14):

Someone asked, ‘What about the notion that we should requite injury with kindness?’

The Master said, ‘With what then will you requite kindness? Requite kindness with kindness: requite injury with justice.’

Dalrymple writes that many intellectuals who advocate soft criminal justice and holiday-camp jails

in their heart of hearts do not believe a word of what they say.

They are just moral exhibitionists, wishing to advertise their

generosity of spirit at other people’s expense.

It is

Personally sado-masochistic, the profoundly malign Michel Foucault 'tried — using an entirely bogus historiography — to demonstrate that humanitarian reform was actually nothing of the kind, but the replacement of one kind of raw power by another, more hidden and therefore dangerous and sadistic power'

Personally sado-masochistic, the profoundly malign Michel Foucault ‘tried — using an entirely bogus historiography — to demonstrate that humanitarian reform was actually nothing of the kind, but the replacement of one kind of raw power by another, more hidden and therefore dangerous and sadistic power’

one of the sicknesses of our age, this desire to appear more compassionate than thou.

It is especially common when approaching the matter of crime, and the effects of crime

both on individual victims and on society as a whole.

Dalrymple, who avers with Orwell that ‘restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men’, points out — because however self-evident, it needs to be pointed out, often and loudly — that crime

causes fear and alters the mentality and behaviour of almost everyone in the direction of mistrust, caution and loss of freedom.

The more perverted and morally cretinous of intellectuals view crime as

an arbitrary social construction, and a criminal as someone who merely has difficulty in his relations with society as some men have difficulties in their relations with their wives.

What of prisons? Should they be therapeutic institutions, salubrious ‘places of social reintegration’, day care centres where convicts are treated no differently from other people with difficulties of one sort or another — winos, schizophrenics and the like? Or should murderers, rapists, and torturers, for instance, be made to suffer a small degree of disgrace? Is abasement, where it is called for, a bad thing? Dalrymple writes:

A cane maintains this bush in an upright position

A cane maintains this bush in the upright position

The prospect of humiliation is one of the things that keeps us upright, as a cane keeps many a rosebush upright. We are social beings because we have a capacity to feel humiliated – or it might be the other way round. There could be no prospect of humiliation if there were no actual means by which we might be humiliated.

It is

condescending to suggest that criminals do not know what they are doing, and that what they need is some kind of help to know it.

It

Inscription at the Old Bailey, above the main entrance to the building opened in 1907. 'He shall keep the simple folk by their right: defend the children of the poor, and punish the wrong-doer.' From the Book of Common Prayer, Psalm 72

Inscription above the main entrance to the rebuilt Old Bailey (opened 1907): ‘He shall keep the simple folk by their right: defend the children of the poor, and punish the wrong-doer.’ From the Book of Common Prayer, Psalm 72

empties the world of moral meaning

to call crimes mistakes, minor follies, peccadilloes,

equivalent to putting the wrong postage on a letter or forgetting to put salt in the soup. Criminal justice is not group therapy.

The purpose of the criminal law, Dalrymple asserts,

is to protect the population from criminals, not to make criminals better people.

The condescension of a later age towards an earlier

Wisdom Conquers Ignorance, Bartholomeus Spranger and Aegidius Sadeler, unknown date. Elisha Whittelsey Collection

Wisdom Conquers Ignorance, Bartholomeus Spranger and Aegidius Sadeler, unknown date. Elisha Whittelsey Collection

This we must avoid, writes Dalrymple. We should also resist

the mockery that comes so easily to the lips or pens of those who take their current state of enlightenment, attributed by them to their own personal cleverness, as the acme of wisdom.

Even the most learned of us

yet knows nothing by comparison with all that might be known and by comparison with the great ocean of truth that forever lies all undiscovered before us.