Category Archives: goodness

Caterwauling from across the pond about Trump

Commenting on Dalrymple’s ambivalent attitude towards Donald Trump, a reader writes:

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screen-shot-2017-02-12-at-11-20-38But when we go north of the border, Dalrymple equivocates not at all. Justin Trudeau, he says, is a man born to Original Virtue, and just to look at pictures of his face, which radiates self-proclaimed goodness and Leftist smugness, is to experience disgust — the sensation you get when you’ve had too many marrons glacés: mild nausea accompanied by a general feeling of stickiness.

Maar het is niet president Duterte waar ik de grootste afkeuring voor heb op het wereldtoneel, zoals het in feite zou horen. Nee, het is iemand die in mijn ogen vele malen hatelijker is, namelijk Justin Trudeau (of moet ik zeggen Sint Justin Trudeau?), de premier van Canada. Ik moet al walgen enkel van naar foto’s te kijken van zijn ongelofelijk zelfvoldaan gezicht, dat straalt van de zelfverklaarde goedheid. Een goedheid die in schril contrast staat met de rest van de menselijkheid, zeker ten zuiden van de Canadese grens. Het veroorzaakt dezelfde sensatie als het eten van te veel marrons glacés: lichte misselijkheid vergezeld van een algemeen plakkerig gevoel.

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The sadist-moralists

The dehumanisation of people is one of the mechanisms by which atrocities are committed and accepted

The dehumanisation of people is one of the mechanisms by which atrocities are committed and accepted

Committing evil for goodness’ sake, writes Dalrymple,

satisfies the inner sadist and the inner moralist at the same time.

That is why, he says, the beheadings in the Middle East and recently in the Philippines are, for those who conduct them,

such fun.

The latest outrage, Dalrymple reports (though he is sceptical about its veracity), is the

freezing to death by ISIS of 45 of their fighters who retreated, or ran away, before the advance of Iraqi forces; ISIS is alleged to have put the men into a freezer in a forensic morgue in Mosul and then put the bodies by the roadside as a warning to other would-be cowards. For myself, I was a little surprised that as sophisticated an institution as a forensic morgue was still in existence and still functioning in the Islamic State.

Dalrymple is interested in a reader’s comment underneath a report of the alleged atrocity. The commenter describes ISIS as vermin, to be eradicated as such. Dalrymple warns:

There is by now good reason to fear resort to such metaphors, the dehumanisation of people being one of the mechanisms by which atrocities are both committed and accepted. We should fear our own worst thoughts and refrain from giving them expression, for far from assuaging such thoughts, expression of them only goes to make them more frequent and more extreme. By means of such thoughts and such expressions, we become a little more like those who are supposedly the occasion of them, who have also persuaded themselves that there exist human vermin in the world to be eradicated.

This is, he says,

a call to decency and self-control, not to political correctness. Political correctness is the means by which we try to control others; decency is the means by which we try to control ourselves. There is no doubt which is the easier to undertake, and the more pleasurable and gratifying. There is a considerable element of sadism in political correctness.

From Dr Johnson's dictionary

From Dr Johnson’s dictionary

The doctrine of the Real Him

Lavrentiy Beria

Lavrentiy Beria

This is a watered-down secular version of Christian redemption, writes Dalrymple,

with Man in the place of God. Inside every person there is a core of goodness that is more real, more fundamental, than any evil act he might have committed, and which it is the purpose of punishment to bring to the surface. Punishment is therapeutic, redemptive, in purpose and intention.

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that whole-life sentences to prison are against Man’s fundamental rights

because they eliminate the possibility of repentance and redemption (known in the trade as rehabilitation). The judges of a court that is supreme in matters relating to supposed human rights for a continent on which, within living memory, tens of millions of people have been systematically starved or abused to death or put to death industrially on an unimaginably vast scale, could conceive of no crime so terrible that the person who committed it was beyond earthly redemption.

Heinrich Himmler

Heinrich Himmler

On this basis people like Beria or Himmler

would have been eligible for parole, provided only that they showed themselves reformed characters.

A serial killer once upbraided Dalrymple

for suggesting that he – who had kidnapped at least five children, sexually abused and tortured them to death, then buried them in a remote place in the moors – should never be released from prison, on the grounds that he spent much of his time making Braille books. He had redeemed himself, and cancelled out the torture and murder of five children, by subsequent good works, expressing the Real Him; he had paid his debt to society, as if good and evil were entries in a system of double-entry bookkeeping, so that if one did enough good works in advance, one would have earned the right to torture and murder five children.

Men

can change; this is their glory and their burden, for it is the capacity to change that renders them responsible for their actions; but what they do may be irreparable.