Category Archives: Islam (intellectual weakness of)

Indispensable faculty in those who would produce great art

Joyce’s Ulysses on one of the shelves of the personal library of Theodore Dalrymple, Ardèche, 2017

Dalrymple points out that self-censorship

does not at the moment enjoy a very happy reputation. It is associated in our minds with an avoidance—a cowardly or dishonest avoidance—of difficult or dangerous subjects: the intellectual nullity of contemporary Islam, for example, or the nature of transsexualism.

However, he argues that the faculty of self-censorship is

indispensable in those who would produce great art.

It is the sense

not merely of what should be left out, but of what should not be said.

Without self-censorship, we enter

an arms race of vulgar sensationalism.

El Greco, El expolio, 1577-79, sacristy of Toledo Cathedral

The Islamists’ cyclopean view of life

The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958)

The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958)

Luckily, says Dalrymple, Western countries

are not given to lasting expressions of unanimity, the deliberate preservation of our peaceful divisions being what the struggle with Muslim fundamentalism is all about.

Dalrymple writes that the Muslim fundamentalists,

like other would-be dictators, have a cyclopean view of life, and believe that everyone else is blind. Their stupidity is matched only by their arrogance.

However,

it does not follow that our governments’ policies should be incoherent and vacillating.

François Hollande, who had not previously

seemed à la hauteur of his position, appearing more like the deputy head of a lycée in Limoges than a head of state,

promised that French nationality would be withdrawn from convicted terrorists with dual nationality, French and other, even if they were born in France. The problem is that

there is always the possibility of a miscarriage of justice.

Dalrymple says of Muslim terrorism:

I do not pretend to have the answer to the problem. I suspect that it will require long attrition rather than a final showdown. I am optimistic about the long run because of the extreme intellectual weakness of Islam in the modern world (far greater than that of Marxism, which at least produced some interesting historians), but pessimistic about the short.