Category Archives: education (Britain)

On fuckery

Roger Hallam

Crudity will set you free

Dalrymple writes:

Secular holiness is an unpleasant trait, and it is always a pleasure to see the unfrocking of a secular bishop.

Roger Hallam is the founder of his evangelical church, the Extinction Rebellion. In an interview with the Hamburg newspaper the Zeit, Hallam declared that genocides were

like, a normal event. [Das ist ein fast normales Ereignis is the Zeit‘s translation.]

The Belgians, for instance,

went to the Congo in the late 19th century and decimated [sic] it. [Die Belgier kamen im späten 19. Jahrhundert in den Kongo und haben ihn dezimiert.]

In this context, the Holocaust was

just another fuckery in human history. [Nur ein weiterer Scheiß in der Menschheitsgeschichte is the Zeit‘s elegant rendering.]

Jean-Marie Le Pen

Dalrymple comments:

Hallam might appear to have joined the camp of the anti-Semites such as Jean-Marie Le Pen, who called the Holocaust a detail of history, but he was not claiming that the Holocaust did not happen or that it was not serious; he was saying that it was not unique and that we should not continue to say it was unique. There has long been debate as to whether the Holocaust is typologically comparable to, for example, the Armenian genocide or the mass killings in Cambodia. No doubt something can be said on both sides of the question; I do not think anything important turns on it. The Rwandan genocide would be neither better nor worse than it was, whether it were the same as, similar to or distinct from the Holocaust.

What is appalling about Hallam’s words, Dalrymple avers,

is their crudity. The vulgarity of his expression was matched by the imprecision of his thought. The word fuckery is extremely lazy, especially when used by someone with pretensions to seriousness. It is a bit like seeing the Himalayas and saying ‘Very nice.’ A cup of tea and Bach’s St Matthew Passion are also very nice.

Nice.

It is hardly to be expected, Dalrymple says,

that a man using such a term to describe the wilful murder of millions of people with a view to exterminating their kind would be a very clear thinker.

A fucked-up educational system

But it is indicative of a

a reduction in basic educational standards. People have always written tosh, but after many years of compulsory education of the entire population, one might have hoped for a better mastery of language and grasp of what constitutes an argument.

Dalrymple says that to be reduced to using the word fuckery in the face of a catastrophe in history of any scale is symptomatic of

  • debasement of language
  • limitation of vocabulary
  • stunted imagination
  • impoverishment of thought or inability to think

The degradation of public discourse in the West

is evident, and one is tempted to say planned and deliberate. It is as if the educated classes had been trying for years to demonstrate their sympathetic identification with the lower orders by adopting what they supposed, wrongly, were their vulgar habits of speech.

Linguistic Luddism

Take Tribes, by the highly praised playwright Nina Raine, in which she depicts life in an upper-middle-class household for the benefit of an upper-middle-class audience. Opening the script at random, to page 28, Dalrymple finds the following expressions within the space of 15 lines:

  • ‘I want my fucking pen back.’
  • ‘You thieving little shit!’
  • ‘Fuck you!’
  • My arse!

Dalrymple comments that such language, more or less constant throughout the play, is the reverse of expressive except in the most primitive sense, but the intelligentsia would probably consider that to draw attention to the fact is

  • absurd
  • retrograde
  • censorious
  • sanctimonious
  • trying to turn the clock back
  • narrow-minded
  • bigoted
  • linguistic Luddism
  • inhibited

He concludes:

On this view, refinement will constrain or imprison you. But, then, we should not be surprised by a man who cannot tell the difference between genocide and pollution.

Scheiße for brains

Job vacancy

Dalrymple notes that the Social Pædagogy Director job ‘comes with a salary and a pension, probably much larger than those of the poor teacher who teaches the little dears how to read and write and sit down when they’re told’.

A short walk down Dalrymple Drive

Dalrymple lives

in a wasteland.

In the slums, known in England as ‘council estates’,

the glass of many of the windows has been replaced by plywood; such gardens as there are have reverted to grey-green scrub, with empty beer and soft drink cans, used condoms and loose sheets of tabloid newspaper in place of flowers; and the people trudge through the desolation as disconsolately as in any communist land.

Everything is

disorientatingly arbitrary, just as bureaucrats like it: compared with the average British public housing estate, the Cretan Labyrinth was a model of classical regularity.

Here, says Dalrymple,

is where the rioting underclass lives and takes its being.

  • Women shuffle along in jumble-sale clothes and fly-paper curlers, prematurely undergoing the physical shrinkage of old age, a cigarette attached by dried saliva to their lower lip.
  • Young men, bodily mature but with the mind and inclinations of juvenile barbarians, eye the world with sullen hostility, which the tattoos on their knuckles, necks and forearms not infrequently express in words. They are unemployed and profoundly unemployable: they are intolerant of any external restraint on their behaviour, and cannot fix their minds upon anything for more than a few moments.

This is a world

in which schools not merely fail to educate, but are anti-educational establishments.

Dalrymple asks his young patients about their experiences at school, and they are depressingly uniform:

  • violence
  • boredom
  • indiscipline
  • insolence
  • intimidation
  • truancy
  • a determination to bring everyone down to the same abysmal level

Any effort to achieve

is treated as treachery, and if persisted in leads to violence. Teachers soon come to have the same outlook as prison governors: to survive a day without serious incident is a success or even a triumph. There is no question of imparting knowledge: schooling is a form of remand in custody.

A teacher tells Dalrymple of a circular from the headmaster of his school reminding staff that physical force is not to be used on pupils, except in self-defence. The same teacher tells him about a recent parent-teacher meeting at his school:

The parents of five out of 110 pupils found time away from their videos to attend. He telephoned the father of one of his pupils whose progress had been particularly poor (or whose regression to barbarity was particularly marked).

‘I’m your son’s class teacher,’ he said.

‘Are you?’ came the reply. ‘Well you can fuck off.’ And the father slammed the receiver down.

A filthy, degraded country

England, Dalrymple points out to an interviewer, is a corrupt country. Not in the way that, for instance, Italy is corrupt, but morally and intellectually corrupt, which is worse.

  • The educational system has been ruined
  • There are large social problems (of which public drunkenness is an example)
  • The country is the dirtiest in Europe — Britishers routinely fling rubbish out of car windows to pollute the beautiful countryside, for instance

There has been a cultural revolution in the country, making it quite the opposite of what it once was.

The British educational marvel

Dalrymple asks: 'How is it possible for so many children, not of defective intelligence, to emerge from an education costing approximately £60,000 per child, still unable to perform the simplest arithmetical operations and almost totally ignorant of history, geography and many other subjects? How is this miracle of inefficiency performed?

How is it possible for so many children, not of defective intelligence, to emerge from an education costing approximately £60,000 per child, still unable to perform the simplest arithmetical operations and almost totally ignorant of history, geography and many other subjects?

Dalrymple interviews a student at a university, studying a vocational subject in which arithmetical calculations are often necessary, who cannot multiply six by seven, except by counting it out laboriously on his fingers. Dalrymple comments:

Only the British State could perform this miracle.

And Dalrymple reports that approximately half of the people aged between 16 and 25 whom he encounters in his work as a doctor in a ‘deprived area’ reply to the question,

Are you good at arithmetic?

with a question of their own:

What is arithmetic?

Screen Shot 2016-08-16 at 22.40.32Screen Shot 2016-08-16 at 22.49.03Screen Shot 2016-08-16 at 22.46.24

The British Zeitgeist

Screen Shot 2016-08-15 at 08.56.56It is one, writes Dalrymple, of

sentimental moralising combined with the utmost cynicism, where the government’s pretended concern for the public welfare coexists with the most elementary dereliction. There is an absence of any kind of idealism that is a necessary precondition of probity, so that bad faith prevails almost everywhere.

The British State

sees itself as an engineer of souls, concerning itself with what people think, feel, and say—as well as with trying to change their freely chosen habits—rather than with performing its inescapable duty: that of preserving the peace and ensuring that citizens may go about their lawful business in confidence and safety. It is more concerned that young men should not smoke cigarettes in prison or make silly jokes to policemen than that they should not attack and permanently maim their elders and betters.

One definition of decadence, he writes, is

the concentration on the gratifyingly imaginary to the disregard of the disconcertingly real.

No one who knows Britain, says Dalrymple, could doubt that it has very serious problems.

  • Its public services—which consume a vast proportion of the national wealth—are not only inefficient but beyond amelioration by the expenditure of yet more money
  • Its population is abysmally educated, to the extent that that there is not even a well-educated élite
  • An often criminally minded population has been indoctrinated with shallow and gimcrack notions—for example, about social justice—that render it unfit to compete in an increasingly competitive world

Dalrymple warns that such

unpleasant realities cannot be indefinitely disguised.

Brexit blow to the bien-pensants

Only a racist would question their right to rule over us

Only a racist would question their right to rule over us

Their view, writes Dalrymple, is that one either believes

in the rule of Messrs Juncker and Van Rompuy et al., or one goes around beating up foreigners on the street.

Britain’s intellectual class,

so dismissive of the uneducated masses who voted for Brexit, seem not to have noticed the logical fallacy in the argument that if xenophobes voted for Brexit, then those who voted for Brexit were xenophobes.

Dalrymple wonders if the country’s educational system might be

even worse than I had supposed.

The joy of spite

Screen Shot 2016-04-16 at 15.37.08The outrage that greeted the Mossack Fonseca revelations partakes, writes Dalrymple,

more of joyous spite and hatred of the rich than of any real desire to improve the world, the latter being a much weaker emotion than the former. If the rich could be deprived of their wealth, even if no one else benefited thereby, I think many people would want it.

Even if the money hidden offshore were paid in taxation,

it does not follow that public services such as schools would improve proportionately. After all, it cannot be for lack of expenditure that a significant proportion of British children are semi-literate after 11 years of compulsory attendance at school. Every country has its bottomless pits.

As for Vladimir Putin’s illicit fortune,

anyone who supposes that, were the Russian state to recover it, the Russian people would benefit…well, they are not very well versed in Russian history.