Category Archives: Guardian (newspaper)

A grievance-politics entrepreneur’s imbecilic proposal

A man called Dedrick Asante-Muhammad has proposed in the London newspaper the Guardian that every American with an enslaved ancestor be given $20,000 annually for 20 years.

Dalrymple sees in this

a great deal of anxiety and self-contempt, as well as condescension. It is not deemed necessary to assist any other group in the way proposed, not even women. There is in it the suspicion that in an open society, blacks are doomed to end up, on average and as a group, at the bottom of the pile unless they are given special privileges.

Prejudice by itself, Dalrymple notes,

provided it is not universal and there are people who do not share it, does not prevent ascension on the social scale. It is not a lifetime ago that some of the élite educational institutions placed limits on the number of Jews admitted. No one would say that the Jews in America were impeded. Something similar is true of many other groups, some of which started off poorer than American blacks today, and whose members did not require subsidies to advance.

In any unequal society, he says,

life is easier for some people than for others. This is unfair, but as Thomas Sowell has pointed out, the quest for cosmic justice is both totalitarian in implication and can lead only to continual sifting of the entrails of group and individual disparities, a sifting that promotes resentment as well as conflict.

Open societies have a disadvantage.

They force you to look at your part in your situation. Unless you are a rip-roaring success, which few of us are (and those few are often not very attractive), you are forced to confront your ineptitude, lack of talent, bad choices from an early age, etc., etc. It is much easier to deny that your society is an open one, and sink into apathy, politicking, and continuation of immediately gratifying but ultimately self-destructive bad habits.

Deep and deleterious snobbery of the metropolitan cognitive élites

Madeleine Bunting

Dalrymple remembers keenly an article in the London Guardian by Madeleine Bunting, one of the newspaper’s writers, because of what it revealed of modern upper-class British attitudes. Bunting stated that underclass girls in Britain got pregnant so young because the only alternative for them to early motherhood was shelf-stacking. Dalrymple comments:

This élite-educated columnist implied that stacking supermarket shelves was the summum malum of human existence, overlooking the fact that stacking shelves is a perfectly honourable and socially useful thing to do, is not unpleasant in itself, may not be the last job the person doing it will have, and is probably suitable for many people.

It is, he says,

the disdain that hurts, and that is what the modern upper class so successfully communicates to those below them on the social scale.

Dalrymple’s message to the likes of Bunting in all their hauteur is that they should

stop pretending that they are tormented by guilt at their own good fortune, which at the same time they do everything possible to preserve.

A sure way to revive German nationalism

Oddly enough, the Germans don’t seem keen to furnish the bazooka

Impose redistributive loans on Berlin for Keynesian purposes!

Dalrymple observes that negative-yielding bonds, representing a quarter of debt issued, are

hardly a resounding vote of confidence in the future. They are like an umbrella to protect us from an approaching monsoon.

He points out that economic gloom

is growing in Europe, where growth remains low and youth unemployment in many countries is high.

Yet-lower interest rates, penalising savers,

will not revive EU countries’ economies. Having lost control of their currencies as a result of monetary union, these countries cannot apply a fiscal stimulus.

Lagarde thinks she has the answer

We hear calls, echoed recently by Christine Lagarde, for a large European budget that can apply a stimulus to various countries as necessary. Such a budget, Dalrymple explains,

is seen by some as an antidote to the growth of populist nationalism in Europe, supposedly the consequence of the continent’s economic woes. An editorial in the Guardian, daily bible of the bien-pensants of much of the English-speaking world, was headed: The nationalism that taps into people’s angst and dislocation can be effectively challenged with a bazooka of a eurozone budget. In other words, if only governments of countries in which populism—that is to say, the popularity of one’s opponents—spent enough money to revive their economies, the people would return to their senses and re-enter the social-democratic fold that has served Europe so well—even if it led to the present trouble.

Where will the firepower of the proposed bazooka come from?

There can be only one answer under the present dispensation: from Germany. Oddly enough, the Germans don’t seem keen to furnish the bazooka. They have had some recent experience of large-scale lending, and it was not altogether happy in its results, economic or political.

A genuinely closer political union (the supposed aim of the European Union, but which Europeans have repeatedly said they do not want) might impose redistributive loans on Germany for Keynesian purposes—other countries in the EU outvoting Berlin.

It’s not easy to imagine the Germans accepting this. There could hardly be a better way to revive German nationalism, one of the eventualities that is the target of the proposed bazooka to destroy.

The situation would be even more dangerous because Germany

has achieved its pre-eminent economic position, in part, by not allowing a commensurate increase in the standard of living of its people, who may not be pleased to play the role assigned them by the EU. Polls already suggest that this is so.

Hauteur and haughtiness at the Guardian

Leafing through a copy of the London newspaper the Guardian, Dalrymple comes across the following sentence written by a woman called Bunting:

When a girl at 17 decides to go ahead and have a baby, there is no tragedy of lost opportunity other than the local checkout till waiting for her low-paid labour.

Dalrymple comments:

This sentence breathes snobbery and disdain for those who actually do such work; it assumes, moreover, that once a supermarket checkout cashier, always a supermarket checkout cashier, a fate worse than death. That there might actually be people for whom such work is suitable, and potentially not odious, does not occur to the writer.

What makes the work odious, Dalrymple points out,

is not the work itself, but those who communicate their disdain of it.

Thus snobbery, of the kind expressed by the Guardian,

makes the import of labour necessary.

Madeleine Bunting

Het eenzame hart: curlygirl24

Dalrymple schrijft:

De Britse krant de Guardian, ongeveer vergelijkbaar met de Volkskrant, heeft een website voor mensen die een partner zoeken. Die mensen krijgen de gelegenheid zichzelf te beschrijven om zich voor anderen aantrekkelijk te maken. Hoewel zo’n beschrijving niet helemaal waar hoeft te zijn – zo zegt iedereen een goed gevoel voor humor te hebben – geven deze zelfportretjes ons toch enig inzicht in wat mensen denken dat anderen aantrekkelijk vinden.

Onlangs las ik zo’n zelfportretje van een vrouw van 30 die als nom d’internet had gekozen voor ‘curlygirl24’. Laat ik hieraan toevoegen dat de Guardian voornamelijk wordt gelezen door mensen die tot de 5 procent hoogstopgeleiden van de bevolking horen. Inderdaad hebben alle gebruikers van de datingwebsite een beroep in de artistieke, intellectuele of wetenschappelijke sfeer, althans dat beweren ze.

Dit had curlygirl24 over zichzelf te melden, en bedenk dat ze hier probeert aantrekkelijk te zijn voor anderen: ‘Ze zeggen wel over mij dat ik een paradox ben: ik heb de emotionele vaagheid die je als meisje nu eenmaal hebt, naast het vermogen om heel veel te drinken zonder om te vallen en daarbij mijn vrienden en willekeurige onbekenden in de zeik te nemen.’

Anders gezegd: ze veronderstelt dat een man zich tot haar aangetrokken zal voelen door haar vermogen of bereidheid om wildvreemde mensen grof te bejegenen. Dat is toch een interessant commentaar op de cultuur waarin zij denkt te leven. In dezelfde beschrijving van zichzelf zegt ze dat ze financieel journalist is, toch geen betrekking voor iemand zonder opleiding. Curlygirl24 behoort dus tot de intellectuele elite. Wat voor cultuur kun je verwachten van een elite die bewust prat gaat op het in dronken toestand beledigen van onbekenden?

The Guardian’s four-legs-good, two-legs-bad worldview

The newspaper’s deafening silence on South Africa

Dalrymple writes that when the South African parliament passed a motion, by 241 votes to 83, to change the nation’s constitution to allow white-owned land to be expropriated without compensation, the Guardian

was coy about reporting it. Even now, it has not mentioned the measure on its website, except indirectly.

Dalrymple asks:

Why the silence on this important development? Perhaps because it is an embarrassment to the paper’s view of the world. How is one to report the near-genocidal and famine-promoting wishes of people whose rôle in life for so many years has been that of victims of injustice?

‘None of the news that disturbs our smugness’ is the Guardian’s motto

Not only, writes Dalrymple, is the Guardian

the sole remaining daily newspaper in Britain whose content is mostly devoted to serious matters, it is the only one that the unacknowledged legislators of the world, the intelligentsia, take seriously.

This, he explains,

is a disaster for the country. Though it occasionally allows a dissenting voice, the Guardian has consistently advocated a demoralisation of the population, followed by increased state intervention and, of course, public spending to alleviate the consequences of that demoralisation. No wonder the BBC [the British state broadcaster] advertises for personnel exclusively in its pages.

Surrounding the newspaper’s content is

an aura of dishonesty and evasiveness.

Its writers aim to avoid

something they had rather not acknowledge: the need to think, in particular about the unrealistic presuppositions of their worldview. Not ‘All the news that’s fit to print’ but ‘None of the news that disturbs our liberal smugness and sense of moral superiority’ is the motto of the Guardian.

Infantile political mania

To give way to political mania is, writes Dalrymple,

to ascribe to politicians more directive power over society than they possess, except under circumstances that, thankfully, are unusual in the West.

It is

to regress to childhood, a time when one believes in the omnipotence of one’s parents who, as adults, seem as if they can do whatever they like—a power to which the child believes he will accede merely by adding years to his age.

Dalrymple doubts, for instance, whether anyone other than an intellectual or, say, the London newspaper the Guardian

ever thought that America had changed utterly and unrecognisably overnight with the election of Mr Trump.

With regard to political apathy, Dalrymple says that it can

give rise to gusts of irrational hope, particularly among the young, who then invest their favoured political figure with the power, or the aura of having the power, to remove the source of all their frustrations (real as these might be).

The rise of Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn,

who thrill the young with their preposterous and dangerous notions, is proof of this.

Call this a mass execution? Don’t make me laugh

The London newspaper the Guardian, which Dalrymple points out is

the left-liberal mouthpiece of the pensée unique,

recently ran the headline ‘The Arkansas mass executions on Easter Monday must be stopped.’ Dalrymple comments:

The emotive words ‘mass execution’ conjure up in my mind considerably more than the eight executions the state planned to perform over the course of 11 days, two of which, as far as I am aware, had been carried out at the time the headline appeared. Che Guevara would have laughed at the idea that a mere eight people put to death, let alone two, constituted a mass execution. He would have taken the use of the word as further proof of the decadence of late capitalist society and its ripeness for overthrow.

Circuses

screen-shot-2017-01-30-at-23-03-17

Jean-Léon Gérôme, The Christian Martyrs’ Last Prayer, 1863-83. Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. Circuses, writes Dalrymple, are now what Britain ‘is really about, even in the eyes of a publication destined for the upper 20th of intellectual interest and perhaps accomplishment. This would not have been so only two or three decades ago’.