Category Archives: ingratitude

Compassion is better as a retail than as a wholesale virtue

Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 21.31.17No doubt, writes Dalrymple, there are exceptional people

who are able to feel compassion towards populations or categories of humans. But they are few. The more widely a person’s compassion is cast, the thinner it tends to be spread, until we begin to suspect that it is not compassion but a pose or an exhibition of virtue — humbug, at best an aspiration, at worst a career move.

State-subsidised bogus charity

State-subsidised bogus charity

The welfare state, Dalrymple points out,

  • protects people from the consequences of bad choices and fosters and encourages those choices, which follow the line of least resistance or favour instant gratification over longer-term desiderata
  • undermines the taking of individual responsibility, especially where the economic difference between taking it and not taking it tends to be small
  • favours the undeserving more than the deserving, in so far as the undeserving have a capacity or talent for generating more neediness than the deserving. (They also tend to be more vocal)
  • dissolves the notion of desert. There is no requirement that a beneficiary prove he deserves what he is legally entitled to. Where what is given is given as of right, not only will a recipient feel no gratitude, it must be given without compassion — without regard to any individual’s situation
Save the aid workers

Save the aid workers

The difference between public and private charity

is not that the former does not consider personal desert while the latter does; Christian charity does not require that recipients be guiltless of their predicament. It is the spirit in which the charity is given that is different. That is why large charities so closely resemble government departments: you cannot expect a bureaucracy to be charitable in spirit.

Why do you hate me? I’ve never helped you

Screen Shot 2016-02-07 at 13.13.20Dalrymple is reminded of the old Hindustan proverb when a patient makes a claim against him (later thrown out by the court as vexatious).

I had, from kindness, prepared a medical report for him free of charge, only to be presented by him with a claim of $375,000 for negligence a few months later.

The proverb might also be understood by some Swedes. Dalrymple writes:

Not without a certain moral grandiosity, and probably from a sense of guilt at its good fortune, Sweden—or at least its political élite and its large social-democratic middle class—decided to start accepting refugees from countries such as Iraq and Somalia, beginning in the 1990s. A gulf soon opened between the pays légal and the pays réel. Officially, all was welcoming, generous, and equal; in reality, urban ghettoes were springing up, with all their attendant problems.

Perhaps Sweden

has been generous towards its newcomers; by most European standards, the unemployment rate among the children of immigrants is low, though it is twice that of the general population and reaches 40 percent in some places.

But

generosity does not necessarily produce gratitude,

and some youths of the housing projects turned to

looting and burning the People’s Home, as the Swedes like to call their country.

There has been much rioting in recent years, greeted in the rest of Europe with a certain quiet satisfaction.

No one likes to have a moral exemplar held up constantly before him, and the riots suggested that the exemplar was not so exemplary.

Dalrymple points out, inter alia, that subsidies and spending on social programmes

have made it possible for many immigrants to avoid integrating or learning Swedish. The combination of social security and vast cultural difference is dangerous.

Dalrymple’s Somali phrasebook

Screen Shot 2015-07-12 at 00.35.50Dalrymple arrives at Mogadishu airport and is greeted by a painted notice that says

Congratulations for arriving safely.

He is armed with a phrasebook — published during the days of Soviet influence — containing the Somali for

  • May I have a closer look at this lathe?
  • I belong to a youth movement.
  • We should like to learn something about the health resorts of your country.
  • What is the income of your collective farm?

Screen Shot 2015-07-12 at 00.04.57Also

Give me the opera glasses, please.

But the phrasebook does not contain the Somali for

Thank you.

Screen Shot 2015-07-12 at 00.00.53Screen Shot 2015-07-12 at 00.06.19