Category Archives: nonentities

A demagogue and a terminal bore

Chávez bestrode his country like a colossus inflated with gas

Resentment, notes Dalrymple,

is the nourishing broth in which demagogues like Castro and Chávez grow and thrive. The worse they make the situation, the better their explanation for it. We were right all along! See what they are doing to us! Since resentment is self-reinforcing, the demagogues are always sure of at least some support, however obvious the disaster they have wrought.

Dalrymple says that he is not prescient, far from it, but

I knew from the moment that Chávez took power that his rule would end disastrously. Whatever the parlous state of the country at the time he took power, he could only make it worse. (I reviewed a book by one of those fools whose wishful thinking flits like a butterfly from revolution to revolution and from radical to radical, and who took Chávez at his own estimate.)

A disaster from which Venezuela will take generations to recover

Chávez

was the kind of leader who could produce a shortage of saltwater in the Pacific. It was only appropriate that he should so have admired Bolívar that he named his ‘revolution’ after him, for Bolívar’s life ended miserably and his plans were utterly set at naught. ‘He who serves the revolution,’ said Bolívar at the end of his life, ‘ploughs the sea.’

Dalrymple points out that Chávez was

a charismatic nonentity, a terminal bore whose mind was stuffed with cliché, verbiage, and resentment. He bestrode his country like a colossus inflated with gas. He never said in a minute what he could say in an hour; if he had a fundamental belief, it was ‘I speak to an audience, therefore I am.’

His constant appeal

was to resentment, the most sustainable of all emotions. (It can last a lifetime and, being easily transferred, is heritable).

Chávez’s

resentful charlatanry, his patent-medicine-salesmanship of quick political and economic solutions, was a disaster for his country from which it will take generations to recover.

McDonnell and the Glastonbury mob

Dalrymple points out that the most recent demagogic statement by John McDonnell, described as the shadow chancellor of the exchequer, proves that he is

unfit for public office.

It was

a grossly inflammatory, as well as erroneous, thing to say; no doubt he would defend it in his own mind as conducing to a Leninist heightening of the contradictions.

McDonnell has, in his career, been

at the very least equivocal on the subject of political murder; the question for him appearing to have been who is being murdered and who is doing the murdering.

The shadow chancellor

was not aiming at truth in his statement, but at a kind of incitement: an incitement to a gratifying sense of moral outrage among his audience that would assist his accession to power. He was appealing to an uncritical mob mentality, and it appears that at Glastonbury, where he spoke, he found one.

Dalrymple comments:

A mob mentality is gaining ground in this country, and all that stands between the rest of us and it is Theresa May, a nullity’s nullity; and even if she were replaced by palace coup, it would only be, most likely, by another nullity. Our choice, then, is between people who do not even have the courage of their lack of convictions and dangerous demagogues: not a happy choice, perhaps, but I know on which side I stand.

The cultural triumph of psychobabble

Theresa May: the little ones shall experience distress no more

The British prime minister, Dalrymple reports, has

spotted an opportunity to demonstrate to her sentimental electorate how much she cares for even the least of them by announcing that she wants to put a mental health professional, i.e. form-filler, in every school.

There is, says Dalrymple, a new social contract:

I will listen to your shallow clichés about yourself if you will listen to mine.

Her

compassion by proxy, at taxpayers’ expense, is typical of the behaviour of modern politicians, who need to show their electorates that they are not the heartless or ruthless ambitious nonentities that they might otherwise appear to be. An uncritically sentimental population is a perfect flock to be fleeced in this way, sheep for the shearing.

May’s project, Dalrymple points out,

is also typical of the process of simultaneous work creation and work avoidance that marks the modern state, a process that turns it into a trough from which many may feed.

Prolefeed from the British state broadcaster

screen-shot-2017-03-04-at-23-06-35Publicly funded frivolity

Dalrymple notes that the BBC is

dedicated to reducing the IQ of the population and reducing its attention span. Its content is a distasteful mix of sport, the sexual antics of politicians, and gossip about celebrities who have achieved nothing.

The English Perón

Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 22.09.02

Always on the lookout for new worlds to ruin

A merciless enemy of liberty

The British repeatedly elect, writes Dalrymple,

nonentities distinguished only for their ambition and relentless pursuit of office. Mediocrity and ambition often combine with vast self-regard.

An example is Tony Blair. In the US it is not appreciated

how ferocious and inveterate an enemy of freedom Mr Blair is. Perhaps the most dangerous thing about him is that he doesn’t know it: he thinks of himself as a guardian of freedom, perhaps the greatest such guardian.

It would be almost correct to call Blair

a fascist, were it not for the fact that he is unaware of it.

Blair’s emphasis on youth as the source of all wisdom and strength

is reminiscent of Mussolini.

His notion of the Third Way

has fascistic overtones, and reminds one of Juan Perón.

Blair is

always on the lookout, not for new worlds to conquer, but for new worlds to poke his nose into and to ruin, or ruin further.

In Britain once, most people

had an idea of virtue that was intensely focused on their individual conduct, irrespective of whether they were rich or poor. People did not believe that poverty excused very much. One of the destructive consequences of the spread of sociological modes of thought is that it has transferred the notion of virtue from individuals to social structures, and in so doing has made personal striving for virtue (as against happiness) not merely unnecessary but ridiculous and even bad, insofar as it diverted attention from the real task at hand, that of creating the perfect society: the society so perfect, as T.S. Eliot put it, that no one will have to be good. It is that kind of society in which Mr Blair believes.

The public-private lives of famous nonentities

Dalrymple tries 'to imagine what it would be like to be interested' in the lives of such people, but 'I never get very far. I do not even begin to succeed'

Dalrymple tries ‘to imagine what it would be like to be interested’ in such people, but ‘I never get very far. I do not even begin to succeed’

Rules for political apparatchiks

Screen Shot 2014-05-31 at 02.33.42Inside the prison of political correctness, peopled as it is by characterless nonentities, you must abide, Dalrymple points out, by these rules:

  • Never say anything without consideration of its effect on the polls
  • Never say anything that might upset anyone too much
  • Never put truth above political expedience
  • Never make an (authentically funny) joke in case someone takes it badly

In many countries of Europe, Dalrymple writes,

there is the feeling that there is now a caste of professional political careerists notable for nothing except their avidity for office, whose only outstanding quality is their ambition, whose view of the world is that from the back of an official car, and who, whatever the apparent petty disagreements between themselves, are united by a class solidarity in their conflictual relations with the rest of the population, with whom they share very little: not their interests, not their culture, not their concerns, which they do not even take seriously.

When it comes to a general election in France and Britain,

the hold of the ‘traditional’ politicians, whose class solidarity is greater than any rivalry between them, will be maintained.