Category Archives: Maoism

The sort of thing one would expect in a dictatorship

Out come the candles: women must be believed qua women

Femaoism on the rise

Dalrymple writes that Brett Kavanaugh’s statement to the committee after Christine Blasey Ford had given her evidence

was a very bad one. As he was soon to recognise, he spoke in a way in which he should not have spoken and said things that he should not have said. To me he sounded more like a politician than a judge.

However, Dalrymple points out that those who demonstrated to the effect that the women who accused Kavanaugh of misconduct were to be believed qua women

are guilty of flagrant sex stereotyping. They degrade their sex and render it less than human.

Dalrymple does not say that Christine Blasey Ford lied, only that

to claim that she did not do so because women ex officio do not tell lies is to diminish women as human beings.

What Ford said

was not substantiated, and insofar as there is evidence other than what she said, the evidence is against her. This is not the same as saying that her testimony was untrue; but no criminal prosecution could be brought on the basis of what she said, and even a civil case would fail. What we are left with is a mere possibility, and it seems to me unlikely that, in the absence of startling new evidence, it will ever amount to more than that.

The protesters showed

how little they respected due and established process and how fragile was their belief in the rule of law. They would let unsubstantiated allegations—provided they were of the right sort—wreck a man’s career and perhaps deprive him of a living, certainly stain his reputation for the rest of his life if not longer, principally because they didn’t like his views. This is the kind of thing one would expect in a totalitarian dictatorship, complete with staged outrage and accusations against which there can be no complete defence.

The effect of the episode is the advance of the cause of what Dalrymple calls

femaoism, an amalgam of feminism and Maoism. For some people, there is a lot of pleasure to be had in hatred, especially when it is made the meaning of life.

Femaoism

The opinion that dare not speak its name

Freedom is slavery

Diversity is uniformity

Tolerance is conformity

In today’s America, writes Dalrymple, you can have any opinion you like as long as it is a socially liberal one. Otherwise you’ll find yourself in the dustbin of history.

The view, for example, that homosexuals should not be permitted to conduct ceremonies that ape the institution of marriage

is now so outré, so utterly beyond the pale, that nobody is allowed to espouse it in public and keep his job.

Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live

If you enunciate such a view, you will be treated as if you had

pronounced himself in favour of lynching or slavery. No decent person can hold such an opinion.

The magazine Forbes judges that if you give voice to such thoughtcrime, you may be able to save your job, but only if you issue a recantation and an apology. Forbes thus, Dalrymple notes,

is the place at which billionaire capitalism meets the Maoist Cultural Revolution.

Deny for a second that legalisation of homosexual marriage is fully in the interests of natural justice, humanity and civilisation, and you will be, Forbes believes, ‘on the wrong side of history’. In other words, homosexual marriage

is not so much a legislative choice as an institution whose development was teleologically immanent in the whole of human history. It is what the Second World War was all about, though the soldiers who fought in it didn’t realise it.

Dustbin of history

Western intellectuals and the Maoist tyranny

Communist dictatorships, Dalrymple points out,

were at their most popular among Western intellectuals while they still had the courage of their brutality. Once they settled down to grey, everyday oppression and relatively minor acts of violent repression (judged by their own former standards), they ceased to attract the extravagant praises of those intellectuals who, in their own countries, regarded as intolerable even the slightest derogation from their absolute freedom of expression.

It is as if, he says,

not dreams but totalitarian famines and massacres acted as the Freudian wish-fulfilment of these Western intellectuals. They spoke of illimitable freedom, but desired unlimited power.

Mao Zedong, Dalrymple notes,

was the blank page or screen upon which they could project the fantasies that they thought beautiful.

China

was a long way off, its hundreds of millions of peasants inscrutable but known to be impoverished and oppressed by history; its culture was impenetrable to Westerners without many years of dedicated and mind-consuming study.

Western sinologists,

almost to a man, upheld the Maoist version of the world, some of them for fear of losing their access to China if they did not, and thereby created the impression that Maoism was intellectually and morally respectable. And so perfect conditions were laid for the most willing and total suspension of disbelief.

Mao’s Thoughts

— that is to say, clichés, platitudes, and lies — were treated by intelligent and educated people as if they were more profound, and contained more mental and spiritual sustenance, than Pascal’s.

As so often before,

mere reality as experienced by scores of millions of people was of little interest to intellectuals by comparison with the schemata in their minds and their own self-conception. ‘Let the heavens fall so long as I feel good about myself’ was their motto.

Infantile but lethal fantasies of the Left

Socialists of the upper crust and their love of faraway génocidaires

The UK left-wing broadcaster Channel 4 has put out a documentary in praise of Sendero Luminoso (‘Shining Path’), the Maoist cocaine-smuggling group of Peruvian mass murderers.

Richard Willoughby-Gott (educ. Winchester and Corpus Christi College, Oxford), the upper-class English journalist, is currently literary editor of the London newspaper the Guardian. A onetime spy for the Soviet Union, Willoughby-Gott describes the documentary as

a magnificent coup de théâtre.

Dalrymple comments:

Theatre is what Latin American guerrilla movements have always been to this type of west European intellectual. All their mind’s a stage, the ideas and concepts merely players. Guilt-laden that they are excluded by their

  • tastes
  • interests
  • inclinations
  • education
  • dress
  • mode of speech

from communion with the common people of their own country, they project their infantile fantasies of union with the people on to distant lands, from whose peasantry they need fear no rejection.

The Wykhamist-Leninists: Richard Willoughby-Gott speaks in praise of the Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chávez. To his right is Seumas Milne (educ. Winchester and Balliol College, Oxford), the upper-class ‘executive director of strategy and communications’ for the UK’s Labour Party

The need to put Mao Tse-tung Thought before legal niceties

Dalrymple writes that at the height of the Cultural Revolution,

I found it difficult to believe that anyone outside China could take Mao’s Little Red Book seriously. A platitude, after all, does not become an apothegm when a million people wave the volume in which it is contained in menacing synchrony.

Nevertheless, one of Dalrymple’s medical student colleagues

converted to Maoism and threw a brick through a police-station window.

Next morning,

he harangued the magistrate for three-quarters of an hour on the need to put Mao Tse-tung Thought before legal niceties. Eventually, the magistrate leant forward and said, ‘That’s all very interesting, Mr D—, but I’m afraid it’s time for lunch.‘ When the Maoist medical student — now probably an exemplary general practitioner — refused to desist from his harangue, he was carried to the cells below screaming.

Eviscerator of the idiocy of the age

If fame were the reward of merit alone, writes Dalrymple, Simon Leys (Pierre Ryckmans)

would have been one of the most famous men. Not that he would have greatly enjoyed such fame: his probity and attachment to higher values was too great for that. He combined in his person qualities that are rarely so closely associated: erudition and scholarship, taste, intellectual honesty, wit, literary gifts. I admired Leys more than any other contemporary writer.

Leys was a connoisseur of Chinese culture

and viewed its barbarous destruction with horror; he abominated Maoism at least two decades before it became obligatory for right-thinking persons to do so.

The Cultural Revolution, Dalrymple notes,

was not a very funny subject, since it was one of the greatest episodes of vandalism in history and caused the death of a million people; but Leys wrote so as to make you laugh. He was contemptuous of Western Mao-fanciers.

Dalrymple explains that

Leys’ guiding star was cultivation (in a broad sense) and his bêtes noires barbarism, stupidity and humbug. There was no better sniffer-out of humbug, the besetting sin of intellectuals.

Leys, Dalrymple points out,

could eviscerate the idiocy of an age in a few lines.

For example:

If one thinks of the great teachers of humanity — the Buddha, Confucius, Socrates, Jesus — one is struck by a curious paradox: today, not a single one of them would be able to obtain even the most modest teaching post in one of our universities.

To be right before the time is right to be right — unforgivable!

The well-known (except in Flanders) sinologue Simon Leys (Pierre Ryckmans) was, writes Dalrymple,

proud to be Belgian, though he spent more than half his life in Australia.

French universities

despised Leys because of his consistent, but early, anti-Maoism.

Dalrymple comments:

There is no greater sin in academia than to be right before the time is right to be right.

The Mephistophelian superstate

Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 08.47.25

Jackpot

Dalrymple notes that José Manuel Barroso’s trajectory has been

  1. revolutionary Maoist student
  2. prime minister of Portugal
  3. chief apparatchik of the European Union
  4. vice-president of Goldman Sachs with special responsibility for advising the bank on how to mitigate the effects of Brexit (for the bank, not for Europe)

Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 08.57.17The attraction of the EU

for those who are prepared to endure its tedium and its requirement always to speak in langue de bois is evident. It offers a golden reward in exchange for the obliteration of personality, character and scruple. It plays Mephistopheles to a hundred minor Fausts.

Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 08.59.22

Broken windows

Screen Shot 2015-10-15 at 08.41.39

Charming

Dalrymple picks up a copy of A China Passage by J.K. Galbraith, the American fellow traveller who was highly esteemed and very wealthy (he spent his winters at Gstaad) but who also possessed a touching simplicity and modesty.

In 1973, Dalrymple explains, Galbraith had visited China

in the slipstream of Nixon.

It was during the Cultural Revolution, with its

appalling suffering, in which perhaps a million people died and tens of millions were horribly persecuted, and only a few years after the greatest man-made famine in history. Nevertheless, Galbraith quotes the Sinologist John K. Fairbanks, who wrote as if he had learned his style directly from Galbraith himself:

Screen Shot 2015-10-15 at 08.44.08The big generalisations are all agreed upon: there has been a tremendous betterment of the material life and morale of the common people.

The remarks, Dalrymple points out, are extremely callous. Galbraith offers vignettes of the Cultural Revolution like this one:

The workers were rather proud of having confined their fighting to the morning. Sadly some windows did get broken.

Such is the way, writes Dalrymple, that Galbraith discusses

the greatest episode of deliberate cultural vandalism of modern history, accompanied as it was by cruelty on a gargantuan scale.

Galbraith is

Screen Shot 2015-10-15 at 08.42.05a mouthpiece of Maoist propaganda, accepting its categories uncritically. In the 1920s and 30s, sheeplike Western travellers in Russia had accepted its category of kulak. Similarly, Galbraith can write about a factory that

had been partially disrupted until the People’s Liberation Army moved in to restore order. The union I gather to have been one of the reactionary elements that aroused the antipathy of the Red Guards. It was disestablished.

This use, says Dalrymple,

of the phrase reactionary elements betrays a startling lack of awareness that visitors to the Communist world had been gulled before. Nor was Galbraith interested in who the Red Guards were or what they actually did. The fate of individual people was far beneath his notice, which explains why his anecdotes are so rarely interesting, let alone illuminating. His is a humanitarianism without a human face.

Screen Shot 2015-10-15 at 08.43.28

By an American aristocrat

Galbraith tells a story about how the Chinese farmed areas of low fertility:

We were told how one production brigade had transported soil for many miles to make one peculiarly rocky spread slightly productive.

According to Galbraith, the decline in agriculture in New England

would not have taken place if politicians rather than market forces had been in charge. The moral of the story for Galbraith?

The market can be ruthless as politicians cannot.

That market relations, Dalrymple comments,

can sometimes exact a human price is no doubt true; but to have lived through the first three-quarters of the twentieth century, and to suggest that there is any cruelty and depravity of which politicians are not capable, requires a capacity for incomprehension amounting almost to genius.

Screen Shot 2015-10-15 at 08.42.19This remark is also made in the book:

At the close of almost every meeting one is asked for ‘your criticisms’ of the institution or the New China. I’ve found one that is true, irrefutable and well-received. ‘You are smoking far too many cigarettes.’

Dalrymple comments:

Millions of people beaten, tortured, and humiliated, the remains of a millennial civilization wantonly smashed, and Galbraith bravely takes up the antismoking cause.

Galbraith wrote of the Nanking Hotel:

Sufficient for the needs of this modest, simple patrician

Sufficient for the needs of this modest, simple patrician

I have a bedroom, sitting-room, bathroom and air conditioning. But that is sufficient.

What touching simplicity and modesty, says Dalrymple. However, in Paris, having suffered such deprivation in Nanking, he is more salubriously accommodated:

I was two days at the Ritz with no grievous sense of social guilt, no insuperable problem of culture shock.

Dalrymple comments:

How delightful to be so generous, so very right all the time, and yet make a fortune and stay at the Ritz!

The time of optimism

The optimists

The optimists

Dalrymple comes across a reference in the Guardian to Maoist groups in the West during the late 1960s, a time when, the newspaper says approvingly, many young people

threw themselves wholeheartedly into the leftwing politics of optimism.

This was, Dalrymple points out,

during that great time of optimism for the Chinese people that lasted several years,

Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 08.40.43namely the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, in the course of which, Dalrymple points out,

unknown numbers of people were killed, but certainly hundreds of thousands at the least.

During the time of optimism many millions of people in China, Dalrymple reminds us, were

  • persecuted
  • publicly humiliated
  • tortured
  • Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 08.34.11hounded from their jobs
  • separated from their spouses
  • exiled
  • subjected to forced labour.

All this occurred

to the cheering sound of smashed cultural artifacts, demolished monuments,

and the

hosannas

of large sections of the Western Left.

Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 08.33.37

Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 08.34.50Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 08.41.07 Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 08.41.45 Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 08.37.05 Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 08.37.33 Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 08.35.48