Category Archives: offensiveness

The non-entity in Number 10

A politician who excites only contempt

Dalrymple notes that Theresa May, the British prime minister,

has only one clear policy: to remain prime minister.

To be sure, he says,

every politician aims to stay in office as long as possible. Nevertheless, one would still hope that those who attained it had some idea what to do with it. A politician with only ideas is dangerous, no doubt, but one entirely without them is contemptible.

A stranger to strategy and tactics

May, writes Dalrymple,

pins her hope of remaining in office on not offending anyone too deeply, neither to the right nor to the left of her. At a dinner party, this might be a good principle, but politics is not a dinner party. Those who try to offend no one also please no one, and in times of crisis give the impression not of compromise and flexibility but of lack of principle and pusillanimity.

Faced by the challenge of Brexit, May,

who seems like a stranger to strategy and tactics, has opted for an evasive immobility, perhaps in the hope that something will turn up and prevent her from having to make any painful decisions.

Politics is not a dinner party

The brutish Donald Trump

It is, writes Dalrymple,

true that Haiti is in many respects a terrible place, which is why so many people want to leave it. Yet it pained me to hear of it spoken of in such terms, because there is so much more to it than the vulgar epithet suggests. The history of Haiti is a moving one, the people valiant and their culture of enormous interest. I have been only twice, but it exerts a hold on the imagination that can never be released. The tragedy and glory of the country are mixed, and symbolise the tragedy and glory of human life.

If Dalrymple were a Haitian who had fled Haiti in search of a better and much easier life, he

should nevertheless not have been pleased to hear it spoken of in this dismissive way, indeed I would have been hurt by it. I do not presume to know how familiar Mr Trump is with Haitian history, culture, and so forth, although I have my suspicions; and of course he has principally to consider the interests of the United States and Americans, not those of Haiti and Haitians. But what he said was not witty or wise, it was hurtful and insulting. I cannot see the giving of offence by the mere employment of crude and vulgar language as anything but a vice, and it is difficult to say whether it is worse if the person employing it knows or does not know what he is doing. If he knows, he cannot care; and if he does not know, he is a something of a brute.

Why so many Western tourists are detested the world over

Screen Shot 2015-07-13 at 07.46.11 After their act of desecration, four of the Mount Kinabalu cretins spent three days in a Malaysian prison and were fined $1,000 each. The people of northern Borneo, Dalrymple points out, ‘were not evangelising for their beliefs; on the contrary, they were welcoming strangers to come to their place that they regarded with reverence and awe. Common courtesy should have been enough to suggest to these people that they should not act in this fashion. This behaviour was gross in its offensiveness’

One of the effects of the silly, noxious Western ideology of multiculturalism, writes Dalrymple, is that it renders people utterly

uninterested in, or insensitive to, the ideas or feelings of people of cultures other than their own.

Anyone who has tried to understand another culture,

or even master literature in a foreign language, knows that it requires great effort and determination and not just an occasional tasting of a different cuisine. It is unlikely that anyone could master both Pali Buddhist scriptures and the ninth-century Arabic of Moslem philosophers.

The doctrinal, abstract commitment to respect other cultures

is not the same as the effort to understand just one of them.

Dalrymple draws attention to the detestable fashion among Westerners of photographing themselves naked at temples or other sites of cultural or religious significance (though not at mosques — these Westerners are stupid but not insane, so, like their intellectual leaders, they pick targets they think are soft). According to the Paris newspaper the Monde,

it is a kind of epidemic.

Screen Shot 2015-07-13 at 08.30.49 They got off lightly

Dalrymple expresses his revulsion for the actions of Western tourists in Borneo and elsewhere. He singles out the British, saying:

The conduct abroad of tourists from my own country is notoriously disgusting and disrespectful of local mores.

He points to the connection between multiculturalism as received wisdom and the foul behaviour of these tourists.