Category Archives: handouts

The collectivist rot in Britain

Screen Shot 2016-04-24 at 07.54.19An infantilised people

Its sense of irony, writes Dalrymple, once protected the British population

from infatuation with utopian dreams and unrealistic expectations.

But the English are sadly changed.

A sense of irony is the first victim of utopian dreams. The British tolerance of eccentricity has also evaporated; uniformity is what they want now, and are prepared informally to impose. They tolerate no deviation in taste or appearance from themselves.

The pressure to conform

to the canons of (lack of) popular taste has never been stronger. Those without interest in soccer hardly dare mention it in public. A dispiriting uniformity of character, deeply shallow, has settled over a land once richer in eccentrics than any other. No more Edward Lears for us: we prefer notoriety to oddity now.

The English are no longer sturdily independent as individuals, either. They now

feel no shame or even unease at accepting government handouts. (40% of them receive such handouts.)

Many Britons

see no difference between work and parasitism.

They are left with

very little of importance to decide for themselves, even in their private spheres.

The State

  • educates them (at least nominally)
  • provides for them in old age
  • frees them of the need to save money (doing so is in many cases made uneconomic)
  • treats them when they are ill
  • houses them if they cannot afford housing

Their choices

concern only sex and shopping.

No wonder, says Dalrymple, that the British

have changed in character, their sturdy independence replaced with passivity, querulousness, or even, at the lower reaches of society, a sullen resentment that not enough has been or is being done for them. For those at the bottom, such money as they receive is pocket money, reserved for the satisfaction of whims. They are infantilised. If they behave irresponsibly it is because both the rewards for behaving responsibly and the penalties for behaving irresponsibly have vanished.

Such people

come to live in a limbo in which there is nothing much to hope or strive for and nothing much to fear or lose. Private property and consumerism coexist with collectivism, and freedom for many people means little more than choice among goods. The free market, as Hayek did not foresee, has flourished alongside collectivism.

Rotten, skiving Britain

img_3044Dalrymple answers your questions on the land of scroungers

How many of the English are pretending to be ill in order to be able to live on handouts?

In Britain we have the remarkable situation where we have more invalids than after the First World War: 3m, of whom 2m could probably work.

Rewards for, to put it most kindly, the workshy. Is that not a scandal?

It is a fraud on a large scale: deeply corrupting of the recipients, who wrongly believe they are sick; the government, which shifts people out of the unemployment statistics; and the medical profession.

Aren’t the UK Tories capping working-age welfare payments at £500 per family regardless of the number of children?

It won’t work. A little bit of drug-trafficking here and illegal activity there will make up for the cuts.

Incentives to be a cheat and a slob

Why is nothing done about it? Is this wilful blindness?

The entrepreneurial parasitism of benefit recipients is not recognised by naïve bureaucrats. The recipients know how to manipulate things to get the maximum benefit; they are reacting to incentives.

Why are there so few White Britons in basic service jobs?

Culture, the welfare system and rigidities in the housing market are to blame.

Employers greatly prefer, for example, Poles, do they not?

Poles are better than the English in a work ethic sense, and they often speak better English.

Drug addicts

Do you have any time for libertarian arguments on drug legalisation?

John Stuart Mill (who ­argued that individuals should be free to harm themselves but not others) thought that fathers who abandoned their children should be put to forced labour. You don’t hear that bit quoted much by legalisation advocates.

Fifth-rate intellectuals

Who is responsible for the British mess?

Most of the blame for the social dysfunction lies with our intellectual class, who revel in this behaviour.

Familial disintegration 

To what extent do women bear some of the blame for domestic violence?

Men who commit violence against women should, of course, be put in prison, but the idea that women are playing no part in this is wrong.

Lust

Jheronimus Bosch, Tuin der lusten (detail), between 1490 and 1510. Museo del Prado, Madrid

Jheronimus Bosch, Tuin der lusten (detail). Between 1490 and 1510. Museo del Prado, Madrid

Lust is a nearly universal human experience, Dalrymple points out. What is new, he notes, is

the loss of awareness of its status as a cardinal sin and of the disastrous consequences likely to follow when it becomes the principal guide of action.

Some must live in a world

in which, thanks to state support, there is little other guide in this important area of life—or none more important.

China’s growing might

Public life in the corrupt and decaying societies of the West, writes Dalrymple,

is frivolous without gaiety, earnest without seriousness.

Western economies such as Britain’s

cannot compete with China’s in cost of labour, of course.

But the success of China is based not just on cheap labour but on

Screen Shot 2015-06-05 at 22.27.21a powerful combination of cheap labour and an educational system that is far more serious than Britain’s.

While the British

are so obsessed with supposed social justice that they are prepared to tolerate any degree of mediocrity, China fosters talent in a Darwinian fashion, in the hope and expectation that everyone will benefit in the long run.

Michel Houellebecq's Les Particules élémentaires (1998) in English translation

Michel Houellebecq‘s Les Particules élémentaires (1998) in English translation

The stage has been reached where there is practically

nothing that the British can do better than the Chinese.

At the same time Westerners, and especially Western Europeans,

have destroyed all forms of social solidarity other than handouts from the state.

Westerners are left with

an atomised society in which no one feels he has any duty to anyone else. Widespread social, or rather antisocial, disturbances are the result.