Category Archives: injustice

How to make a man go berserk

It is, writes Dalrymple,

the small acts of personal disdain rather than the large but abstract and distant injustices that infuriate people and drive them to violence.

No better way exists

of enraging someone than to express obvious contempt for him, especially for something over which he has little control.

This is one of the reasons manners are so important:

the mannerly may disdain, but not show it.


breeds a resentment that causes people to seek revenge even at great personal cost to themselves. It renders men insensate.

Muslim zealotry and embittered materialism

Screen Shot 2015-12-06 at 14.39.01Dalrymple writes of Islamic proselytising in prisons:

An outside observer might conclude from the religious literature that he sees there that Britain is more an Islamic than a Christian country.

Prisoners are susceptible to religious conversion, by which, Dalrymple says,

they do not feel that they have simply surrendered unconditionally to society, meekly accepting its law-abiding, middle-class norms after years of flouting them. They do not simply slink away from crime, defeated by the system; they have actively chosen a new life.

A life without boundaries

is a life of torment. It is without form, a void. Islam, with its daily rituals and its list of prohibitions, is ideally suited to those who are seeking to contain their lives.

Mahometanism, Dalrymple points out, has this great advantage:

It is feared by society at large. By adopting Islam, prisoners are killing two birds with one stone: they are giving themselves boundaries so that they can commit no more crimes — of the ordinary kind — and yet do not feel that they have capitulated to the demands of society.

The extent of the secularisation of young Muslim men in prison

can hardly be exaggerated. They do not pray or keep Ramadan, or perform any other religious duties. Like their white and black counterparts, they are interested in sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll.

Their difference is that, thanks to their cultural inheritance, their abuse of women

is systematic rather than unsystematic as it is with the whites and blacks. That is the way they intend to keep it, for it is a very gratifying system.

Dalrymple explains that

the match that puts the flame to the combustible mixture is a general sense of grievance and of grave injustice.

By injustice,

they do not mean that they did not do what they were accused of having done. On the contrary, they know perfectly well that, like most other prisoners, they have committed between five and 15 times more crimes than they have been accused of, and celebrate the fact. No, by injustice they mean social injustice.

Their justice, says Dalrymple, is

an ideal state of affairs which includes an effortlessly acquired, endless supply of women and BMWs. Much religious zealotry is disappointed and embittered materialism.

The politico-religious fanaticism

of which we are rightly afraid is not the product of Islam alone, but of an amalgam of Islam with sociological ideas according to which people are victims of structural injustice, of the modern equivalent of djinn, such as institutionalised racism.

Jail and the Left

Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 08.17.07The Left, writes Dalrymple,

has never been easy with the idea of prison because the majority of those imprisoned are not only poor, but guilty of property crimes; and in its heart of hearts, the Left still thinks of property as theft and crime as a kind of spontaneous redistributive justice. To imprison anyone, therefore, in the name of property is to commit injustice.

Postcard from Salisbury

Rhodesia was in many ways admirable. The settler regime was, writes, Dalrymple, 'in truth a remarkable one, with a very small élite who produced and ran a functioning, though not of course a just, state'.

Upon qualifying as a physician, Dalrymple sets off with alacrity for Rhodesia, a place which he finds to be in many ways admirable. He has landed a job at a hospital there. The settler regime, he writes, is ‘in truth a remarkable one, with a very small élite who run a functioning, though not of course a just, state’.

We dare not protest at ugliness

Screen Shot 2015-05-23 at 09.51.33Social democracy has been disastrous for art and architecture

Dalrymple points to a fact that only an adolescent, a fool or a madman would contest, that the artistic production of

mediæval and renaissance Florence (with a population a seventh of that of Akron or a quarter of that of Croydon) is of greater value than that of the whole of the western world (with a population 7,000 times greater) for the last seventy years.

We social democrats, Dalrymple writes,

fear beauty and scarcely dare protest at ugliness. Since beauty is often and so obviously the product of unjust societies, we are afraid of it. Beauty is tainted by injustice; and since nowadays we value justice, fairness and equality above all things, and make them the touchstone of value, beauty makes us uneasy.

Replying in a public forum to an art critic of a British newspaper who extolled London as an art capital, Dalrymple gently pointed out that London’s entire contemporary output

was not worth one picture by Memling, and what’s more was never going to be.

Dalrymple told this critic that if London was really (which it is plainly not) an art capital city compared with all the others,

that only went to show how artistically impoverished the world had become.

In such an environment, one of near-circumambient modern ugliness, what is our artistic task? It is, writes Dalrymple, as far as we can

to preserve remnants.

Das Jüngste Gericht (detail), attr. Hans Memling, 1467-71, Muzeum Narodowe w Gdańsku

Attr. Hans Memling, Das Jüngste Gericht (detail), 1467-71, Muzeum Narodowe w Gdańsku

Il Duomo di Firenze: Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, 1296-1436, designed by Arnolfo di Cambio, dome by Filippo Brunelleschi

Il Duomo di Firenze: Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, 1296-1436, designed by Arnolfo di Cambio, dome by Filippo Brunelleschi

It’s unfair

Screen Shot 2014-02-22 at 01.43.07We spoilt brats would moan, ‘It’s unfair!’ The rejoinder of our schoolteachers — and possibly even of our parents, if we had good ones — was: ‘Life is unfair.’

Dalrymple points out that unfairness is

built into the nature of existence itself and is something that we have to learn to accept if we are to have tolerable sublunary lives. I’m not sure I’ve learned to do it myself.