Category Archives: liberalism

More liberal times than our own

Glancing at the April 1940 edition of the Adelphi, Dalrymple observes:

It is true that the war had not yet entered its most cataclysmic stage, but it is a tribute to the liberalism of the times that, in such a moment of national emergency, people should have been able to argue for a policy [pacifism] directly contra that of the government, without hindrance or persecution.

He points out that today,

there are many subjects on which intellectuals would face more persecution, especially in universities, if they challenged received opinions, than Max Plowman [the then editor] faced from the government in the midst of a war.

The Adelphi published many Orwell essays such as ‘Not counting niggers‘ (July 1939; shown in the contents above)

Xenophobes and multiculturalists

Screen Shot 2014-05-26 at 12.51.26The pessimistic, xenophobic, and implicitly socialist attitude to immigration

The successful cultural negotiation many immigrants accomplish, Dalrymple writes,

pleases neither the racist xenophobe nor the multiculturalist liberal, who are united in the belief that assimilation is wrong in principle and impossible in practice. The former wants there to be no foreign presence at all; the latter wants to preserve the foreignness of foreigners, thus provoking the very xenophobia he claims to decry and despise.

The racist xenophobe regards the wish to migrate

as more of a threat than a compliment. Because they conceive of a national economy as a cake of predetermined size, they believe the immigrants’ slice must take the crumbs from their mouths. In times of unemployment, immigrants are said to take our jobs by undercutting wages; in times of full employment, they are said to take advantage of our generous social security system and drive up our taxes. They either work too hard, or not hard enough. They can never arrive at the right moment in the economic cycle.

For his part, the multiculturalist liberal, while he approves of, indeed enthusiastically advocates, mass immigration,

believes that all cultures are equal, except for his own, which is uniquely wicked and imperialist. Assimilation, in his view, would be yet another despicable instance of cultural imperialism — but, of course, it would also throw doubt upon his own world outlook, which he has adopted precisely to establish his own superior broad-mindedness and tolerance….Keeping foreigners in cultural ghettoes is a necessity for him, if he is to preserve his self-regard.

(2001)

How to run a business

Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 19.26.09Dalrymple recalls this scene, of some time past, at his local fishmonger’s:

An old lady, a pensioner, wanted a piece of fish for her dinner. He wrapped it, gave it her, and told her the price. She handed over her purse to him and he, seeing that she had little money, deliberately took far less than the price he had named. “Thank you, madam,” he said on handing back the purse, exactly as if she had been his most valued customer. It was all done with the greatest delicacy, and obviously with a generous heart. His business was a successful one, and its success was a precondition of his being able to act on his generous impulse.

Quotas are divisive and discriminatory

Positive discrimination, like socialism, is the anti-Semitism of intellectuals and of their political and bureaucratic allies

Dalrymple observes that

the number of categories into which humanity can be divided is infinite: only some categories can be favoured, leaving others resentful and liable to seek political redress.

Quotas

not only politicise life but embitter political life. They formalise favouritism, reinforcing the problem they are meant to solve.

Quotas inflate the role of government,

for someone has to enforce them. The demand for equality (of a kind) undermines freedom because private associations are no longer able to make the rules they wish, a necessary condition for a liberal society in which government is not overweening. The imposition of quotas is founded on the belief that everyone is a bigot unless forced by fiat to be otherwise. This is a dismal view of human potentiality.

Quotas are condescending towards those favoured but unjust towards those not favoured.

You cannot have positive discrimination without negative discrimination, often towards minorities (actually everyone is a member of many minorities). You will end up with a virtual numerus clausus such as operated in élite universities in America against Jews.

Those who favour quotas use

a form of argument similar in form, and not dissimilar in content, to that used by anti-Semites. How come so small proportion of the population should achieve such prominence in academia, publishing, journalism, the media, retailing, industry, banking, finance? The only conceivable answer is that this sector, through some subtle and conspiratorial informal organisation, manipulates itself into prominence. On this view, the Swedish academy that awards the Nobel prizes for science is some kind of front organisation for a shadowy conspiracy.

The only solution to the injustice

is countervailing political action. This kind of argument, of course, featured prominently in Nazi propaganda and, alas, was highly effective. It appeals to Man’s reptile brain.