Category Archives: education

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

Why politicians want to lower the voting age further

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Mila

Dalrymple notes that

the widening and lengthening of education has gone hand in hand with a decline in the civility of discourse.

Adolescence

is the age neither of good taste nor of wisdom, which no doubt is why some politicians want to lower the voting age even further. After all, what many politicians most value in voters is gullibility.

Screenshot 2020-02-02 at 07.55.34

Thirst for entertainment is a symptom of boredom

‘For that sovereign people that once gave away military command, consulships, legions, and every thing, now bridles its desires, and limits its anxious longings to two things only—bread, and the games of the circus!’ (Satire X)

Dalrymple points out that modern education

lays emphasis on the relevance of what is taught to children’s present lives rather than, as it should be, on its irrelevance.

It is partly to blame for

the very large numbers of people who cannot lose themselves, and are left to the vagaries of entertainment provided for them under our current régime of bread and circuses.

Entertainment

is one of the greatest causes of boredom, inasmuch as everyday reality can rarely compete in raw sensation with entertainment. But since dealing with everyday reality remains a necessity for most people, it results in boredom because it is compared with entertainment. Only a deeper engagement with the world can avoid or overcome this problem.

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’.

Importance of failure

Dalrymple on education

Deary catalog of modern pieties

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Dalrymple asks: ‘Celebrating’ uniqueness: how is it to be done? By getting the little geniuses to chant ‘I am unique, you are unique, we are all unique, everyone is unique!’ while holding hands and dancing round a tree as the teacher beats the rhythm on a tambourine?

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.

The British got wise to the EU

Screen Shot 2016-07-03 at 08.44.55Educated people, writes Dalrymple,

are not ipso facto always wiser than the uneducated, but they are usually surer of themselves.

He points out that education

and wisdom, let alone foresight, are not the same thing.

He cites

  • the Russian intelligentsia, not notable for their political prudence
  • the German professoriate, not notable for its resistance to Nazi ideas
  • the educated leaders of the Khmers rouges, not notable for their humanity
  • highly educated persons in Britain, not notable for voting to leave the EU

Demise of the cultivated doctor

А. П. Чехов

А. П. Чехов

If no one, writes Dalrymple, is broadly educated or cultivated,

that is the end of broad education and cultivation itself. We will be reduced to a society of technocrats, each absorbed in his own narrow specialism.

It is not, he says, a society

to which I look forward. Apart from anything else, some among us will be specialists in the exercise of power, against whom the rest of us will be defenceless.

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.