Category Archives: hypocrisy

The Petronian-Calvinists

Grande has traded in public as a person of the easiest virtue, whether or not she is so in reality (if celebrities such as she have a reality)

Swing of the pendulum between lascivious licentiousness and vengeful censorious puritanism

The actress and chanteuse Ariana Grande, writes Dalrymple,

is not exactly the soul of discretion when it comes to public sexual display, but rather has made a career (and a fortune) from lascivious vulgarity in word and gesture.

Dalrymple is no expert on the career of this Grande,

and indeed had never heard of her before the bomb went off in the Manchester arena during her performance there (‘concert’ seems too refined a word for her activities) and killed 22 people, including children.

When he looked Grande up on the internet he saw at once that her act

was not one that was suitable for children as young as eight years old to witness, and that there must be something very wrong with a culture in which parents thought that it was. I could not say this at the time, because of the horror of the attack, from whose evil I did not in the least want to detract. I did not want to give the impression that the parents were in any way responsible.

Fumbling cleric: Charles H. Ellis III, former Presiding Bishop of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World and pastor of the Greater Grace Temple, Detroit, gets better acquainted with the actress-singer Ariana Grande

Yet

actively to connive in filling eight-year-old children’s minds with such vulgar rubbish is a dereliction of parental duty. It is scarcely a wonder that so many British girls appear by the age of 12 to look as if their ambition in life is to be a street prostitute.

The affair of Grande and the bishop

None of this

would or does justify any assault, physical or sexual, upon Grande. It is no defence against a charge of such assault that she has traded in public as a person of the easiest virtue, whether or not she is so in reality (if celebrities such as she have a reality). She is entitled to the same protections as everyone else.

Dalrymple asks us to consider the matter of prudence.

No one has the right to break into someone else’s house and steal his belongings. But many burglaries are opportunistic; a person being inclined to steal notices that a door or window is open, and takes the opportunity, without having set out to burgle. I have a perfect right to leave my door and windows open, but surely no one would deny that I had been imprudent in doing so.

The Grande-and-the-bishop affair

exposes (as the actress said to the bishop) a curious and very unattractive aspect of our modern culture: its pendulum swing between lascivious licentiousness and vengeful censorious puritanism.

Grande has made a career — and a fortune — from lascivious vulgarity in word and gesture

We take eight-year-old children to see Grande on the one hand,

and are appalled at the faintest whiff of pædophilia on the other.

We sexualise female children as early as possible,

and recoil with horror like Victorians (or rather, like the Victorians as we imagine them to have been) when someone calls a female on the stage an actress rather than an actor.

We really are, says Dalrymple,

very peculiar, a mixture of Petronius’s Rome and Calvin’s Geneva.

No doubt

the dissolution of the distinction between the public and the private sphere has played its part in this unpleasant evolution.

Dalrymple longs for a world

in which it is still possible to be a secret and private hypocrite, so much more interesting than all this vulgar openness.

Oxfam, criminal conspiracy

Dalrymple writes that for years he banged on that Oxfam was

a criminal organisation.

People, he says,

would roll their eyes.

He asks:

Are they rolling their eyes now?

Orgies with underage prostitutes in Haïti are, Dalrymple writes,

the least of it. The orgies are a market-driven stimulus for the Haïtian economy, if an extremely tasteless and immoral one. That is more than can be said for most of Oxfam’s activities.

Bogus charity’s extreme hypocrisy

Oxfam’s real aim, he points out,

is to provide employment to those who work for it. (Governments are of course the biggest donors to this corrupt scheme.)

Legalised fraud

Money donated to Oxfam ends up in the pockets of those who work for it, including the staff, numbering 888 at the last count, at the fake charity’s grandiloquent head office in London.

Dalrymple notes that

the hypocrisy of this legalised fraud is symbolic of very many modern activities.

Oxfam

is not the only criminal in this field, and may not be the worst. The field itself is criminal.

Fillon’s sin

It was, writes Dalrymple haltingly, perhaps

venial. They are all at it, I tell myself.

It is hypocritical, to be sure, for Fillon to attack the State whose finances he has exploited. But

is his hypocrisy any worse than that of the Leftists who argue for equality and live like élites, who are egalitarian in everything except their lives?

A whining pretension to goodness

Screen Shot 2016-04-23 at 15.44.03

From Johnson’s 1755 dictionary

Dalrymple says his father

was always espousing great and grand principles expressive of his love for humanity, but had difficulty in expressing love for anyone in particular.

Dalrymple points out that cant, or humbug,

stands in the way of achieving an authentic relationship with the world. To be a humbug is to wear distorting lenses.

He confesses that

I am a humbug on occasion, and in my youth was a humbug practically all the time. Youth is the golden age of humbug — the expression of supposedly generous emotions that it has to a much lesser extent than claimed.

Dalrymple explains the difference between hypocrisy and cant.

  • Johnson

    Ibid.

    hypocrisy is, or can be, a social virtue. To express a sympathy or an interest that you do not in the slightest feel can be almost heroic when it is done for humane reasons, and is often socially necessary. Hypocrisy is to social life what oil is to axles

  • cant is always poisonous, among other reasons because it is designed to deceive not only others but ourselves. It doesn’t entirely succeed in this latter task because a still, small voice tells us that we are canting, to which our preferred solution is often to cant harder, like drowning out something we don’t want to hear by turning up the wireless. That is why there is so much shrillness: people are defending themselves against the horrible thought that they don’t really believe what they are saying

There is no subject, says Dalrymple, to which cant attaches more than humanity.

Who will admit that he doesn’t love humanity, that it wouldn’t matter to him in the slightest if half of it disappeared, that he can sit through the news of the worst disaster imaginable (provided far away) and eat his dinner with good appetite?

Screen Shot 2016-04-23 at 15.28.36

José de Páez, Sacred Heart of Jesus with St Ignatius of Loyola and St Aloysius Gonzaga, Mexico, c. 1770

No,

in order to be a good person you have to pretend to be lacerated by awareness of suffering anywhere and show your wounds like Christ showing his heart in one of the Baroque Spanish colonial paintings.

But in fact

most people do not love humanity; misanthropy is far more widespread than love of humanity.

As soon as we are in the public arena,

we must start to mouth sentiments that are not ours in words that mean nothing. We start to cant. We must display the wounds we feel at the imperfections of the world. We must award ourselves, and pronounce, creditable motives that we know are not ours.

Commercial concerns

are in the canting game. They claim to be working to bring about greater equality, survival of rainforests, amelioration of climate change, participation of fat children in sport, and anything other than their true aim, which is mostly to sell products that are superfluous to people who don’t need them. (I accept that this is the necessary force that makes our economic world go round.)

We are now

chronically humanitarian.

Dilemma over mass migration to the West

Merton, a London suburb

Merton, a London suburb

Dalrymple writes that the change in the ethnic and cultural origins of the inhabitants of the Western world’s towns and cities

is so obvious that no one could possibly miss it. Some glory in the change, some detest it; it is difficult to be neutral, or even merely objective.

He says that on the subject of illegal immigrants to the West and the change

in the ethnic and cultural composition of our societies, I confess that my thoughts and feelings are inconsistent and contradictory.

Screen Shot 2015-06-26 at 09.00.52Economic migrants are often

brave and enterprising, and have no desire to sponge on the state, but rather to work and improve their lives.

In the West they find themselves

in a sea of strangeness, incomprehension, hostility, or indifference.

Western countries appear to

Screen Shot 2015-06-26 at 09.12.51need people to come to us from impoverished lands, and this is so despite the fact that we have a substantial fund of unemployed people. Why this should be I leave to labour economists; I suspect it has something to do with the rent-seeking behaviour of a large percentage of our population (including me).

Immigrants to the West are often people of

Screen Shot 2015-06-26 at 09.18.04warmth, kindness, humanity and mannerliness. These qualities induce a slight feeling of shame in belonging to a culture in which these qualities should seem exceptional rather than normal. It is we, not they, who are so often crude.

On the other hand, Dalrymple cannot

view with delight the disappearance of the culture in which I grew up, which is being absorbed into a minestrone of no particular savour. I do not want to see my society changed irreversibly by an uncontrolled influx of immigrants.

Screen Shot 2015-06-26 at 08.56.33Knowing another culture is not

simply a matter of patronising a restaurant of its cuisine from time to time. It is the work of years if not of a lifetime. Consider that multiculturalism condemns us to be strangers to one another; and, while all cultures have their charms, they may not all be compatible in their conceptions.

Screen Shot 2015-06-26 at 09.25.46Dalrymple points out that

most people who support mass immigration are personally less keen on taking the social consequences.

For instance, in France recently,

Désolé

Désolé

someone contacted more than 40 media personalities who publicly supported immigration and asked whether they could assist personally with lodging an immigrant. Though each was rich, none said he could do so for more than a day or two, each finding a good excuse.

United in decadence

Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 07.43.52France and Britain are

very similar in their inability to tackle the problems that confront them. Both countries are sleepwalking to insignificance and international oblivion.

The French

Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 08.11.53cannot tackle the rigidity of their labour market, that makes the creation of new jobs or new enterprises so difficult, because no politician has the guts to do it. Everyone in France is ready to struggle, even violently, for the preservation of his own little privileges and protections (while pretending to do so for the good of humanity – the French are just as hypocritical as the British). France’s social model produces fonctionnaires like the savannah produces termites, and allows certain categories of workers to retire on a very high percentage of their salary almost as soon as they have begun to work.

Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 08.16.42The British

cannot tackle their abysmally low educational and cultural standards, which are obvious even on landing at a British airport, because no politician has the guts to do it — politicians prefer the tried and trusted policy of après moi, le déluge. Successive British governments have comprehensively destroyed the British educational system: a high percentage of British children leave school less literate than Tanzanian peasants [and this is reflected in low productivity and generalised gormlessness].

La belle France, left, and England, dear England

La belle France, left, and England, dear England

The proletarianised bohemian intelligentsia

La gauche divine

La gauche divine

Imagining it has a divine spark (as opposed to what it thinks of as the bovine self-contentment of the bourgeois), the proletarianised bohemian intelligentsia

  • claims political allegiance with the proletariat
  • pretends to some of the tastes of the proletariat, for example that for association football
  • has a bohemian lifestyle and at the same time claims the economic advantages and privileges of a bourgeoisie

The proletarianised bohemian intelligentsia is the enemy, writes Dalrymple, of

thrift, honesty, reliability, respectability, solidity, respect for learning, willingness to postpone gratification and politeness.

Bathtime at the Pecksniff Hotel

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 22.29.39Ne sutor ultra crepidam

Entering his hotel room, Dalrymple finds an

unctuous, mendacious, and mildly hectoring and even bullying notice on the towels in the bathroom.

It reads:

You care, we care, we all care about our environment and carbon footprint. Please take care and only have towels washed when needed.

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 22.51.56Yet it was necessary only

to step outside the hotel to prove that ‘we’ do not all care about the environment. Many of us drop litter; many of us tread our chewing gum into the ground; many of us make unnecessary noise; many of us render the world slightly more ugly than it need be by our careless appearance in public. Many, indeed most, of us consume vastly more than we need. Many of us take unnecessary journeys because we cannot think of anything else to do. Many of us would not even be able to define our carbon footprint, let alone care about it.

Seth Pecksniff, shield of virtue

Seth Pecksniff, shield of virtue

The very word ‘care’

now has a Pecksniffian ring to it, thanks to its use in this kind of canting message. ‘Let us be moral,’ said Mr Pecksniff. ‘Let us contemplate existence.’

The notion that ‘we’ of the hotel chain

do and ought to care more about the environment than, say, about reducing the chain’s laundry bill and thereby increasing its margin of profit (a perfectly respectable and reasonable thing for ‘us’ of the chain to do) is absurd and to me repellent.

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 23.31.26

A worthwhile movement

We despise

the Victorians for their habit of dishonest moralising,

but ours

is an age of ultracrepidarian hypocrisy in which everyone claims to care deeply for everything except that which concerns him most.

The state of sexual enlightenment

Screen Shot 2015-04-18 at 18.42.04Gone, writes Dalrymple,

are the days of unhealthy concealment, of absurd Victorian taboos that led to the application of cruel and cumbersome devices to children to prevent masturbation, to prudish circumlocutions about sexual matters, to the covering of piano legs to preserve the purity of the thoughts of men in the drawing room. We are at ease with our sexuality.

For the first time in history

we can enjoy sexual relations without any of the unnecessary social and psychological accretions of the past that so complicated and diminished life. No more guilt, shame, jealousy, anxiety, frustration, hypocrisy, and confusion. Free at last!

But

Screen Shot 2015-04-18 at 18.49.28

George Grosz, Circe, 1927

 

Comrade Madam

Samson with Madam

Sampson with CM

Nadine Gordimer’s nickname was coined, Dalrymple points out, by the comedian-satirist Pieter-Dirk Uys, and indeed

no entomologist ever fixed an insect to a board with more precision than did Uys with those two words,

which

summed her up to such perfection. If concision is next to Godliness, Uys is a prophet.

Gordimer, writes Dalrymple, combined communist views, wealth and a certain social manner, and had ‘a voice to etch glass with’. She

was the type of person who had never, in her entire life, lifted or carried anything for herself.

Uys with Mbeki

Uys with Mbeki

Her acolyte Anthony Sampson

treated her as one might an orchid in the Arctic. He made sure that she never had to do anything for herself.

Ridiculous and dishonest, Gordimer was

the ne plus ultra of a certain type.

Yet of course,

the fundamental conflict between what people espouse, and how they live and want to continue living [was and is] not confined to Gordimer…