Category Archives: fascism

Psychoanalysis is that mental illness for which it regards itself as therapy

An American psychologist by the name of John Gartner argues that Donald Trump should be removed from office on psychiatric grounds:

We live in a pre-fascist society…The German psychiatric association said nothing during the rise of Hitler…We are facing a crisis that threatens to engulf the world in flames…Trump meets standards for commitment and should be required to undergo psychiatric evaluation, whether he wants to or not…The man is threatening to murder an entire country…We cannot call the authorities because the homicidal patient is the authorities.

Dalrymple notes that Gartner

displays no knowledge of or imaginative insight into what it is like to live in a totalitarian dictatorship—his Jewishness notwithstanding—despite countless memoirs, academic books, and films attesting to and describing life under authoritarian rule. Such ignorance or lack of imagination is culpable. For an American to compare contemporary life in the USA, no doubt unsatisfactory as it is in many respects, with life in a fascist dictatorship is self-dramatising, self-pitying, and an insult to those millions who suffered or died under totalitarian dictatorships.

It is legitimate to oppose the government and to despise the person of the president;

it is another thing to claim jurisdiction over whether he should be entitled to be president and whether he ought to be removed by committal to a mental institution. In the Soviet Union, psychiatrists occupied the kind of commissarship that Gartner is appealing for.

Gartner

shows an implicit contempt for US institutions and history if he thinks that the election of one allegedly unstable man can turn his country into a fascist dictatorship almost overnight.

He is

what Kraus said of psychoanalysis, a cause of the disease it pretends to cure. He believes that people who show instability, anger, paranoia, feelings of persecution, and cognitive confusion would and should be involuntarily committed for psychiatric evaluation.

Dalrymple suggests that Gartner read Chekhov’s 1892 short story Ward No. 6, in which Dr Ragin is committed to his own asylum.

Disgusted of Bridgnorth

screen-shot-2016-12-24-at-09-30-40Everywhere must be Streatham

The problem with freedom in Britain, writes Dalrymple, is that

once people exercise it, execrable taste becomes predominant and civilisation suffers.

Strolling outside the National Gallery, Dalrymple has to

run the gauntlet of the English at play. Not a single one dressed with self-respect. They chewed the gum with which the paving stones were mottled. Several had set up loudspeakers, down which they relayed their attempt at rock music. They obviously dreamed of celebrity, that ambition of the talentless. Most looked unwashed, raddled by drugs and malnutrition. What a cacophony, a descent into a circle of Hell!

Must, he asks,

freedom and equality mean that everywhere is reduced to the aesthetic level of Streatham? Is it fascist not to want to be aesthetically and auditorily disgusted everywhere?

Nationalism is fraught with danger

screen-shot-2016-11-16-at-08-37-20But so is refusal to recognise that attachment to one’s culture and history is a normal part of human experience

A democracy that stifles debate on vital and difficult matters by means of speech codes, explicit or implicit, is asking, writes Dalrymple, for a fascist reaction. He points out that in France, the genie of unease about the North African influx cannot be returned to its bottle. For the sake of democracy,

vigorous, civilised debate must replace the law of silence that political correctness has imposed.

France, Dalrymple reminds us, has

a large, undigested, and growing immigrant population from North Africa that congregates—unwanted by the bulk of the population—in huge and soulless modern housing projects that surround French cities, as if besieging them. There are now Muslim ghettoes in France so crime-ridden that the police will not enter, except in armoured convoys.

The Front national addresses

widespread anxieties that ‘respectable’ politicians have preferred to ignore for fear of appearing illiberal and unenlightened.

The party dares say on the subject of mass immigration

what many Frenchmen think and feel. A problem as essential to France’s future as how 5m North African Muslims are to be integrated successfully into French society has been left unexamined, obscured behind a cloud of wishful thinking and politically correct platitudes.

Dalrymple explains that the ‘respectable’ politicians,

by espousing the banalities of multiculturalism, left those with a desire to conserve something of traditional French identity with nowhere to go but Le Pen. By declaring that realities as obvious as the high immigrant crime rate and the resulting fear that many Frenchmen feel cannot be mentioned by the polite and sophisticated, they have ceded all public discussion of such evident facts to the impolite and the outré. The élites were the architects of the Front national‘s triumph.

The Yugoslavia de nos jours

Screen Shot 2016-06-17 at 09.04.37

Koversada socialist naturist park in Istria, Vrsar, on the Dalmatian Coast of Croatia, Yugoslavia

For those, writes Dalrymple,

who have nothing but contempt for the European Union and the political class that has formed it, these are happy days.

Clear-sighted people have long realised that

  • the single currency is unworkable without political union
  • political union is impossible with even the most minimal democratic oversight, and is therefore essentially a fascist ideal
  • in the end the so-called union will bring conflict and even violence

Having pursued, says Dalrymple,

the policy of après nous le déluge for so long, European politicians find themselves in a dilemma: they have to decide which kind of economic degradation to plump for. They can maintain demand for a time at the expense of the currency, or they can maintain the currency for a time at the expense of demand.

What British fascism looks like

Screen Shot 2015-12-08 at 07.55.55Timeservers led by scoundrels

Dalrymple grew up believing

that it couldn’t happen here; that the intrinsic decency, good sense and ironical detachment of the British would have precluded Nazism or anything like it from taking root. Now I am not so sure.

Utter vileness

does not need a numerical majority to become predominant in a society. The Nazis never had an electoral majority in Germany, yet Germany offered very little resistance to their barbarism. Evil, unlike good, is multiform. We can invent our own totalitarian evil. We have prepared the ground very well.

Hedonistic egotism, fear and resentment

form the character of a large proportion of our population, and it is a character that is ripe for exploitation. They have made themselves natural slaves.

Dalrymple recently received a circular headed New ethnic categories that began with the words,

As you may know, we are required to monitor the ethnic origins of our staff.

Who, he asks,

was this ‘we’ of whom the circular spoke: no names, only ‘the human resources unit’ (Orwell could have done no better). No decent reason for this fascistic practice was given; the ‘we are required’ being the final and irrefutable argument. It is a fair bet that not a peep of protest was uttered in the office of the ‘human resources unit’ when this circular was sent round. Would anyone have mentioned the fact that the Dutch bureaucracy’s refusal to destroy census data on the religious affiliations of the Dutch population on the eve of the German occupation greatly aided the subsequent elimination of Dutch Jewry?

Septic isle

Every public service

has been weakened by the ethos of obeying centralised orders. Doctors, teachers, the police, social workers, prison officers, crown prosecutors, university dons have all been emasculated by the ‘need’ to obey orders that they know are fatuous at best, and positively destructive or wicked at worst.

The organised lying

not only blunts critical faculties and makes it impossible to distinguish true information from false, but morally compromises those who participate in the process. The more state employees conform to the rules laid down, the more helpless and degraded they become, which is the ultimate purpose of these rules.

The public,

gorged with bread and benumbed by circuses, is indifferent. I can’t help thinking of the murder of psychiatric patients and the mentally disabled in Nazi Germany. Neither the public nor the medical profession protested to any great extent (though, instructively, those few doctors who did protest were not punished for it). This terrible crime was made possible, though not inevitable, by an entire cultural context. We, too, are creating a cultural context in which great state crimes are possible.

It could happen here

When Dalrymple sees

the routine inhumanity with which my patients are treated by the state and its various bureaucracies, often in the name of obedience to rules, I think that anything is possible in this country.

When he sees

the mobs of drunken young people who pullulate in our city centres every weekend, awaiting their evil genius to organise them into some kind of pseudo-community, and think of our offices full of potential Eichmanns, I shudder.

British fascism

will no doubt be touchy-feely rather than a boot in the face – more Kafka than Hitler – but it will be ruthless nonetheless.

Psychopathic æsthetic arrogance

Repulsive and barbaric

Repulsive and barbaric

The Shard (2012), writes Dalrymple, is

grossly incompetent.

It

unbalances an already much damaged skyline

and is an example of

the devastation wrought by barbaric architects.

The egotist Renzo Piano imagines that

his adolescent rebellion is something to be proud of.

Technical advancement,

for which gigantism is often a metonym, is mistaken for improvement.

The Shard would, says Dalrymple,

be perfect for Dubai: its glassy vulgarity would hardly attract notice there. But London is not Dubai even if its prosperity is built, metaphorically, on sand.

Modernity

is the most fleeting of qualities, and useless for assessing the worth of anything. Fascism and nylon shirts were once modern, but no one would now call them the finest flower of the human mind or spirit.

Tourette syndrome

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 08.17.24Dalrymple visits Éveux, outside Lyons. He views the Sainte-Marie de La Tourette priory (Le Corbusier and Iannis Xenakis, 1953-60). It is, he says, very simply

hideous.

It is a building that

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 08.18.29might just as well serve as the torture facility of an all-powerful secret police.

For totalitarian architects like Le Corbusier, writes Dalrymple, Man is nothing more than

a machine for inhabiting a unité d’habitation. Everything is to be standardised, from space itself to teacups, with no individuality allowed or possible.

For Le Corbusier, who was no architect but who like all successful fascists grew to master propaganda and self-promotion, life was

a technical problem to be solved by a single correct solution. Concrete, right-angles, highways, steel, glass.

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 08.21.16Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 08.27.23Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 08.28.15

 

The world’s ugliest building

Centre Georges Pompidou. 1971-77, Renzo Piano, Richard Rogers and Gianfranco Franchini

French fascism HQ: Centre Georges Pompidou, 1971-77, Renzo Piano, Richard Rogers and Gianfranco Franchini

Keep your enmities in good repair

Screen Shot 2015-07-24 at 07.25.25Dalrymple does so by visiting a Le Corbusier exhibition at the Centre Georges Pompidou. He writes:

I can hardly think of a figure worthier of hatred than Le Corbusier, still hero-worshipped in French architectural schools.

A few of the French, he notes, have — too late — woken up to the fact that

Screen Shot 2015-07-24 at 07.36.09Corbusier was a fascist, not in the debased 1968 sense of the word, but in the boot-in-the-face 1938 sense of it. A page of his writing, or a glance at his plans for the Ville Radieuse, should have been sufficient to convince anybody of it.

Radiant

It radiates totalitarianism

Faiblesses de l’architecture européenne

The European construction

The European construction

Dalrymple was having a good day until he picked up the Paris newspaper the Figaro and came across the following sentence:

This [No vote in the Greek referendum] opens a new period in the history of the European construction, in so far as, for the first time, the exit of a country from the eurozone appears as a possible, some would say desirable, outcome.

Dalrymple fumes:

I don’t know how many times I have seen the words European construction used without it being said what exactly, or even approximately, was being constructed: indeed, I have never seen them used in so frank a manner. You can, perhaps, go on a journey without knowing your destination (just about), but you cannot construct anything without knowing what it is that you are constructing.

Under construction: the Berlaymont in happier days. It was completed in 1967

Under construction: the Berlaymont, Brussels, in happier days. It was completed in 1967

It is obvious, says Dalrymple,

what those who use the words European construction in a positive sense mean: a European superstate that will, on account of its size and economic weight, be a superpower. How otherwise could a former prime minister of Luxembourg take his place in the sun of power?

How best to characterise the European construction?

Megalomania? Fascism without the boots (so far)?

The European construction euphemism should, says Dalrymple, be banned.