Category Archives: demagoguery

In cachaça veritas

Political debates on television, writes Dalrymple, ought to be conducted

soundlessly, the participants having been given as much alcohol as Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva had drunk [on the day he was to go to jail].

Politicians, he says,

should be judged not by what they say, but by their facial expressions and gestures alone.

This, Dalrymple advises,

would be the way to weed out demagoguery; by their grimaces shall ye know them.

A demagogue and a terminal bore

Chávez bestrode his country like a colossus inflated with gas

Resentment, notes Dalrymple,

is the nourishing broth in which demagogues like Castro and Chávez grow and thrive. The worse they make the situation, the better their explanation for it. We were right all along! See what they are doing to us! Since resentment is self-reinforcing, the demagogues are always sure of at least some support, however obvious the disaster they have wrought.

Dalrymple says that he is not prescient, far from it, but

I knew from the moment that Chávez took power that his rule would end disastrously. Whatever the parlous state of the country at the time he took power, he could only make it worse. (I reviewed a book by one of those fools whose wishful thinking flits like a butterfly from revolution to revolution and from radical to radical, and who took Chávez at his own estimate.)

A disaster from which Venezuela will take generations to recover

Chávez

was the kind of leader who could produce a shortage of saltwater in the Pacific. It was only appropriate that he should so have admired Bolívar that he named his ‘revolution’ after him, for Bolívar’s life ended miserably and his plans were utterly set at naught. ‘He who serves the revolution,’ said Bolívar at the end of his life, ‘ploughs the sea.’

Dalrymple points out that Chávez was

a charismatic nonentity, a terminal bore whose mind was stuffed with cliché, verbiage, and resentment. He bestrode his country like a colossus inflated with gas. He never said in a minute what he could say in an hour; if he had a fundamental belief, it was ‘I speak to an audience, therefore I am.’

His constant appeal

was to resentment, the most sustainable of all emotions. (It can last a lifetime and, being easily transferred, is heritable).

Chávez’s

resentful charlatanry, his patent-medicine-salesmanship of quick political and economic solutions, was a disaster for his country from which it will take generations to recover.

Corbyn panders to the instincts of the mob

Britain, writes Dalrymple

is on a knife edge, and anti-rich demagoguery is on the upsurge.

Jeremy Corbyn

has suggested requisitioning property by fiat for reasons of social justice. Following the disastrous fire in Grenfell Tower, Corbyn proposed seizing the houses of wealthy foreigners (mostly Arabs and Russians).

Dalrymple points out that Corbyn’s policy

is to increase government spending enormously, while balancing the budget: this can only mean much higher taxation, and given his social views, this in turn can only mean taxation on the rich and even the modestly prosperous, both of whom he regards as milch cows. But unless he exercises explicit power to keep them where they are (which he would not be above attempting), they will flee, and take their capital. French exports of their rich will seem a trickle by comparison.

In Britain, says Dalrymple,

the degradation of the population has gone much further than in France. British culture, which has become one of crude and vulgar self-indulgence, is inimical to rapid improvement; and now, in addition, there has been a recrudescence of the notion that wealth derives from redistribution rather than from creation.

McDonnell and the Glastonbury mob

Dalrymple points out that the most recent demagogic statement by John McDonnell, described as the shadow chancellor of the exchequer, proves that he is

unfit for public office.

It was

a grossly inflammatory, as well as erroneous, thing to say; no doubt he would defend it in his own mind as conducing to a Leninist heightening of the contradictions.

McDonnell has, in his career, been

at the very least equivocal on the subject of political murder; the question for him appearing to have been who is being murdered and who is doing the murdering.

The shadow chancellor

was not aiming at truth in his statement, but at a kind of incitement: an incitement to a gratifying sense of moral outrage among his audience that would assist his accession to power. He was appealing to an uncritical mob mentality, and it appears that at Glastonbury, where he spoke, he found one.

Dalrymple comments:

A mob mentality is gaining ground in this country, and all that stands between the rest of us and it is Theresa May, a nullity’s nullity; and even if she were replaced by palace coup, it would only be, most likely, by another nullity. Our choice, then, is between people who do not even have the courage of their lack of convictions and dangerous demagogues: not a happy choice, perhaps, but I know on which side I stand.

Monstrous Macron

Dalrymple likens Emmanuel Macron’s face to that of an ‘intelligent shark‘, and notes that his voice, ‘when he tries to play the role of passionate demagogue, is enough to shatter glass’.

Peronist popery

Screen Shot 2013-12-08 at 02.31.00The world, writes Dalrymple,

Screen Shot 2013-12-08 at 02.32.44is full of dishonesty, corruption, cruelty, indifference and injustice. Peronist demagoguery dressed up as apostolic exhortation will not improve matters, quite the reverse.

Amen to that.