Category Archives: denunciation

The pleasures of denunciation

Young people, Dalrymple writes, are creating

a totalitarian environment in which they denounce one another.


the social media that were going to set opinion free and give voice to everyone end by stifling expression and creating fear.

The world is full of people like Madame Defarge. Denunciation, Dalrymple notes,

combines the delights of self-righteousness with those of revenge and the contemplation of the discomfort or worse of other people. It requires no courage and is within the capacity of all. In Nazi Germany and occupied France people wrote denunciations of their neighbours and others by the millions, often for the sheer pleasure of doing so and usually in the hope that they would have serious consequences for the persons denounced.

The day cannot be far off

when people will viscerally understand the danger to themselves of saying certain things on social media and will censor themselves automatically. If this continues long enough, certain things will not only become unsayable but unthinkable, for habit eventually is transformed into character. This is the point of political correctness: it aims at the most radical of dictatorships, that which requires the enforcement of no police because everyone is incapable of breaking the rules.

Meanwhile the appetite for public expressions of contrition is insatiable. Dalrymple points out that

it is not contrition that is wanted, but the humiliation inflicted on those who are forced to express it. The enjoyment is in the spectacle of the squirming of the wrongdoer.

The logic of the combination of social media and a taste for burning witches at the stake

will reduce us to a strange state of malice and blandness. The ambitious will refrain from saying anything that could offend anyone; the bland will lead the bland. Any deviation from current orthodoxy will be punished with vengeful vituperation or worse.

The orthodoxy to be adhered to

will change — as the enemy changed during the two-minute hate sessions in Nineteen Eighty-Four — as a test of the obedience and loyalty of the population. The politically correct will find new orthodoxies to enforce, new locutions to prescribe or proscribe, to keep decent society in a state of subliminal fear.

There’s no prig like a little prig

Screen Shot 2016-03-29 at 09.04.55An unpleasant 10-year-old is monkey-trained by her parents before appearing on TV to read out, from a page in front of her, politically correct fatuities.

Dalrymple’s reaction:

I was appalled by her. She had the air of a prig, a know-all and a robot all at the same time. Clearly she had been tutored, for I do not believe any 10-year-old would have found the date of the introduction of compulsory seatbelts by herself. She was put up to it.

Dalrymple is reminded of

Screen Shot 2016-03-29 at 09.06.28Pavlik Morozov, the Soviet boy who, according to legend, was killed in 1932 by his grandparents after he denounced his father to the authorities. He was reputed to be a fervent supporter of the collectivisation of agriculture. The story was a fabrication, but at least Pavlik was supposed to be 13 at the time of his death.

Little Charlotte’s

head had been filled with ideology about health and something called wellbeing. One could easily imagine her denouncing her parents to the health police for having given her a chocolate biscuit.

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