Category Archives: cultural confidence

An advanced East and a backward West

China flu and the ignominy of Europe

Anyone who has been to church in France, writes Dalrymple,

will have noticed that the direction of the tide of evangelism has reversed. It used to be from France to Africa; now it is from Africa to France. Many of the priests are African: they come to serve or convert the heathen who once colonised them.

It points, he notes,

to a loss, not only of faith but of cultural confidence. The idea of Europe preaching to the world now seems ridiculous. Europe has lost the mandate of heaven.

Who would have thought, Dalrymple asks,

even 30 years ago, that China would be sending humanitarian assistance to Italy, both in the form of medical material and technicians?

There has been a reversal

of what people in the West, for so long, took as the natural order of things.

The Wuhan virus

has revealed what Westerners would have preferred not to know: they are no longer in the forefront.

Dalrymple points out that Europe cannot even console itself that, if it has not responded with the efficiency of Korea, Taiwan, or Singapore, it is at least not authoritarian. Near where Dalrymple lives, people are required to show a laissez-passer. Taking a short walk in the district, Dalrymple says he half-expects someone to jump out of a doorway and shout

Halt! Ihre Papiere, bitte.

A Chinese aid worker loads humanitarian relief supplies bound for Italy at Hangzhou airport

We’re doomed

Screen Shot 2016-02-24 at 08.32.34The 20th century, writes Dalrymple, was Europe’s

melancholy, long withdrawing roar, and just as Great Britain would not long be suffered to be the workshop of the world, so the world did not long suffer the continent of Europe to dominate it, economically, culturally and intellectually. Europe’s loss of power, influence and importance continues; and however much one’s material circumstances may have improved, it is always unpleasant, and creates a sense of existential unease, to live in a country perpetually in decline, even if that decline is relative.

Combined with this, he points out, is the fact that most European populations

experience a feeling of impotence in the face of their immovable political élites. This feeling is not because of any lack of intelligence or astuteness on the part of the populations: if you wanted to know why there was so much youth unemployment in France, you would not ask the prime minister but the more honest and clear-headed village plumber or carpenter, who would give you many precise and convincing reasons why no employer in his right mind would readily take on a new and previously untried young employee. Indeed, it would take a certain kind of intelligence, available only to those who have undergone a lot of formal education, not to be able to work it out.

The motor of Europe’s decline, says Dalrymple, is

its obsession with social security, which has created rigid social and economic systems that are resistant to change.

An open economy

holds out more threat to Europeans than promise: they believe that the outside world will bring them not trade and wealth, but unemployment and a loss of comfort. They are inclined to retire into their shell and succumb to protectionist temptation, internally with regard to the job market and externally with regard to other nations. The more those other nations advance, the more necessary does protection seem to them.

The State

is either granted or arrogates to itself ever greater powers. A bureaucratic monster is created that is not only uneconomic but anti-economic and that can be reformed only at the cost of social unrest that politicians wish to avoid. Inertia intermittently punctuated by explosion is the outcome.

Dalrymple notes that the British government

has increased public expenditure enormously, such that the British tax burden exceeds that of Germany, which is a heavily taxed economy. The ostensible purpose has been to improve public services while serving the cause of social justice, a rhetoric that the public has hitherto believed; the hidden purpose has been to create administrative jobs on an unprecedented scale, whose function consists of obstruction of other people as they try to create wealth, and to bring into being a clientèle dependent upon government largesse (half the British population is in receipt of government subventions as part or the whole of their incomes) and results in an ‘keep a-hold of nurse for fear of something worse’ psychology.

The dependent population

does not like the state and its agents, indeed they hate them, but they come to fear the elimination of their good offices more. They are like drug addicts who know that the drug that they take is not good for them, and hate the drug dealer, but cannot face the supposed pains of withdrawal.

In the name of social justice,

personal and sectional interest has become all-powerful, paralysing attempts to maximise collective endeavour. The goal of everyone is to parasitise everyone else, or to struggle for as large a slice of the cake as possible. No one worries about the size of the cake. Après nous le déluge has become the watchword of the population.

It hardly needs pointing out that

the rest of an increasingly competitive and globalised world is not going to be sensitive to the same concerns as European governments.

The miserabilist view of the European past,

in which achievement is disregarded in favour of massacre, oppression and injustice, deprives the population of any sense of pride or tradition to which it might contribute or which might be worth preserving. This loss of cultural confidence is important at a time of mass immigration from very alien cultures, an immigration that can be successfully negotiated (as it has been in the past, or in the USA up to the era of multiculturalism) only if the host nations believe themselves to be the bearers of cultures into which immigrants wish, or ought to wish, to integrate, assimilate, and make their own.

In the absence of any such belief,

the only way in which people inhabiting a country will have anything in common is geographical; and civil conflict is the method in which they will resolve their very different and entrenched conceptions about the way life should be lived. This is particularly true when immigrants believe they are in possession of a supposedly unique and universal truth, such as Islam. And if the host nation is so lacking in cultural confidence that it does not even make familiarity with the national language a condition of citizenship, it is hardly surprising that integration does not proceed.

The problem is multiplied when a rigid labour market

creates large castes of people who are unemployed and might well remain so for the whole of their adult lives. The bitterness caused by economic uselessness is multiplied by the bitterness of cultural separation. In the case of Islam this is dangerous, because the mixture of an awareness of inferiority on the one hand, and superiority on the other, is a combustible one. Latin Americans have felt it towards the USA, Russians towards Western Europe, Chinese and Japanese towards Europe and America.

The auguries are not good,

not only because of the political immobilism that elaborate systems of social security have caused in most European countries, but because of the European multinational entity that is being created against the wishes of the peoples of Europe.

The European Union serves several purposes, none of which have much to do with the challenges facing the continent. It

  • helps Germans to forget that they are Germans, and gives them another identity rather more pleasing in their estimation
  • allows the French to forget that they are a medium-sized nation, one among many, and gives them the illusion of power and importance
  • acts as a giant pension fund for politicians who are no longer willing or able successfully to compete in the rough-and-tumble of electoral politics, and enables them to hang on to influence and power long after they have been rejected at the polls
  • acts as a fortress against the winds of competition that are blowing from all over the world and that are deeply unsettling to people who desire security above all else

If we had only listened to Honeyford

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 22.25.58If we had done so, we should not have sown what we are reaping

Ray Honeyford, who was headmaster of a ghetto school in Bradford in the early 1980s, knew, writes Dalrymple, that

the official multiculturalist educational policies that he was expected to implement would sooner or later lead to social disaster.

When he exposed the folly of these policies,

the advocates of ‘diversity’, who maintain that all cultures are equal but that opinions other than their own are forbidden, mounted a vicious and vituperative campaign against him. He was branded a near-murderous racist and drummed out of his job.

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 22.26.28His ideas were

logical, sensible, and coherent. He argued that Islamic immigrants needed to be integrated fully into British society. He did not believe that the cultural identity necessary to prevent the balkanisation of our cities into warring ethnic and religious factions implied a deadening cultural or religious uniformity. On the contrary.

He

enunciated painful truths that were tangential to his central argument: for example, that Pakistan (the country of origin of most of the immigrants in his area) had been unable throughout its history to develop either democratic institutions or a culture of tolerance.

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 22.25.16The ghetto school, called Drummond Middle, was a

piece of high-Victorian public architecture, grand without being overbearing, and conveying implicit aesthetic and moral lessons to its pupils, however humble the homes from which they came. The collapse of the cultural confidence that had produced such a school building was soon complete: after Honeyford’s departure, the school quickly received an Urdu name and was burned down beyond repair by an arsonist.

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 22.26.14Honeyford brought his troubles down upon him when he published an article exposing the follies of multicultural education in the Salisbury Review. The Review’s name

hardly ever appears without the qualification that it is rabidly right-wing, implying that no intellectual engagement with the ideas expressed in it is ever necessary—only the kind of opposition appropriate to dealing with brownshirts and blackshirts.

An unremitting campaign gathered steam,

under the leadership of local politicians and pressure groups, some of which sprang up expressly to get him fired. He received death threats. A few small children learned from their parents to chant ‘Ray-cist! Ray-cist!’ at him and to hold up denunciatory placards, some with a skull and crossbones. The Bradford Education Authority considered the possibility of a court order against the demonstrators, but it decided that such an order would inflame passions. Thus political extremists learned a valuable lesson: intimidation pays.

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 22.25.44Honeyford was

mild-mannered and unexcitable. He was a believer in the virtues of plain speaking—formerly a tradition in the north of England. He thought that different opinions might be tolerated, not having grasped that the purpose of those who argue for cultural diversity is to impose ideological uniformity.

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 22.25.28He believed in the redemptive power of education and in

the duty of schools to give the children of immigrants the same educational opportunities as everyone else. His only regret about the affair was that it drastically shortened his teaching career. It is a tribute to the power of Orwellian language that a man who believed these things should successfully have been labeled a racist.

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