Category Archives: Orwell, George

Ztraceni v ghettu

Šokující, srdceryvné příběhy z anglických městských ghett, jež napsal literárně talentovaný vězeňský lékař a psychiatr, jsou především obžalobou levicového liberalismu a multikulturní ideologie intelektuálů. Těm se totiž podařilo přesvědčit tzv. spodinu společnosti, že je především obětí nespravedlivých společenských podmínek, ze nezodpovídá za svůj život a ze je naprosto bez šancí.

Tolerantní postoje k deviantnímu chování a ke zločinu odsuzují ty nejzranitelnější (děti a ženy) k životu v gangsterském prostředí násilí, drog a každodenní hrůzy.

Ohromná mašinerie sociální pomoci nevede k soběstačnosti ani neumožňuje únik z ghetta. Ideologická představa, že z bídy neexistuje osobní východisko, pouze sociální dávky, tak vytvořila velké patogenní společenství (24 % mladistvých neumí v Británii číst ani psát), které se paradoxně opravdu stalo obětí systému a žije v sebeklamu neviny, bezmoci a beznaděje.

Nechť se tento dramatický a strhující zápis strašlivé skutečnosti stane pro nás varovným mementem.

Ukázky z knihy:

Jako vězeňský lékař trávím sice velkou většinu svého profesionálního života na dně společnosti, ovšem díky svému psaní mám přístup i do společnosti literární. To, jak tato společnost samolibě přehlíží sociální katastrofu, k níž došlo v nejnižších vrstvách, mě děsí neméně než katastrofa sama. Ještě nikdy se tak strašlivá lhostejnost neskrývala za soucitem, ještě nikdy neexistovala taková záměrná slepota. Je to, jako kdyby se pragmatičtí Angličané změnili v národ náměsíčníků.

Je chybou domnívat se, že všichni lidé, nebo přinejmenším všichni Angličané, chtějí být svobodní. Naopak, pokud svoboda znamená zároveň zodpovědnost, pak ji mnozí lidé nechtějí – ani co by se za nehet vešlo. Ochotně by vyměnili svou svobodu za skromný (byť iluzorní) pocit bezpečí. Dokonce i ti, kteří o sobě tvrdí, že si svobody nesmírně váží, nemají zrovna nej větší radost, aby uznali následky svého jednání. Cílem milionů lidí je dělat si, co se jim zachce, a nechat za své činy pykat jiné.

George Orwell napsal, že základní povinností novodobého intelektuála by měla být obhajoba samozřejmostí a neustálý boj proti „malým smrdutým ideologiím…, které zápasí o naši duši”. Orwell tím mínil totalitní ideologie, které oslňovaly inteligenci jeho doby a bránily jí vidět zřejmé a evidentní pravdy o společnosti. Jeho napomenutí platí i dnes, přestože fašismu a komunismu už dávno odzvonilo. Zánik totality totiž zdaleka nevedl k upřímnému a čestnému hodnocení reality, ale pouze rozmnožil ideologické brýle, jimiž lidé pohlížejí na svět. Jestliže platí, že lidstvo, jak to vyjádřil T. S. Eliot, nesnese příliš mnoho pravdy, očividně dokáže snášet jakékoli množství nepravd.

Cenzura, jíž intelektuálové zakrývají pravdu, a to i před sebou, stojí proto za prozkoumání a musíme se ptát, proč tak vlastně činí.

  • Nejprve je tu fenomén vědomého popírání reality.
  • Za druhé, žongluje se s tendenční ahistorickou analogií neboli jakýmkoli precedentem.
  • Za třetí, jakmile jsou fakta pod tíhou nevyvratitelných důkazů konečně přijata, je popřen nebo překroucen jejich morální význam.

Jeden producent televize BBC mi nedávno nastínil, jak takové liberální zapírání může probíhat.
Jeho kolegové, sdělil mi, ho považují za nekonformního, za rytíře bojujícího s větrnými mlýny a možná téměř za blázna. A jak že se projevuje to jeho bláznovství? Chtěl, aby BBC natočila nepřikrášlené dokumenty o životě ve spodní třetině společnosti, o masové (a vzrůstající) negramotnosti, o masovém (a narůstajícím) nemanželském původu dětí, o rodinách s jediným rodičem, o masovém (a narůstajícím) chuligánství, násilí, bezpráví, narkomanii, závislosti na sociálních dávkách a beznaději.

Chtěl, aby si lidé uvědomili, co se u nich za rohem vlastně odehrává. Doufal, že upozorní na devastující účinky fragmentace, lépe řečeno, atomizace rodiny, již liberální legislativa, sociální inženýrství a neblahé změny v kulturním vnímání od konce 50. let 20. století tak silně podporují.
Jeho nadřízení v BBC přivítali jeho návrhy blahosklonně.

Nejprve ovšem popřeli fakta. Když přišel s nevyvratitelnými důkazy o existenci zmíněných jevů, obvinili ho z amorálního šíření paniky.
Když dokázal, že jevy, na něž fakta poukazují, jsou vážné a že se rychle šíří celou společností, sdělili mu, že se s tím nedá nic dělat, protože jde o nevyhnutelnou součást moderního života. Když namítl, že jsou výsledkem záměrné politiky, chtěli vědět, jestli touží po návratu starých špatných časů, kdy rozhádaní manželé byli nuceni žít spolu.

A když na to odvětil, že co se napáchalo, lze rovněž alespoň zčásti opravit, vytasili nakonec svůj trumf.
Na tak nezajímavé téma nemá smysl něco natáčet.
Britskou veřejnost přece nebude nikdo rušit při její neoblomné náměsíčné chůzi ke společenské katastrofě, před níž ji její křehká ekonomická prosperita zcela jistě neuchrání.

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Encounter in Pyongyang

The Study House in Kim Il-sung Square

The Study House in Kim Il-sung Square

Strolling through the North Korean capital, Dalrymple finds himself

in the enormous and almost deserted square in front of the Grand People’s Study House. (All open spaces in Pyongyang remain deserted unless filled with parades of hundreds of thousands of human automata.)

A young Korean slides surreptitiously up to him and asks:

Do you speak English?

It is, says Dalrymple, an electric moment, for in North Korea, unsupervised contact between a Korean and a foreigner is as unthinkable as shouting, ‘Down with Big Brother!’ Dalrymple nods. The young Korean says:

I am a student at the Foreign Languages Institute. Reading Dickens and Shakespeare is the greatest, the only pleasure of my life.

It is a

searing communication. We parted immediately afterwards and of course will never meet again. For him, Dickens and Shakespeare (which the régime permitted him to read with quite other ends in view) guaranteed the possibility not just of freedom but of truly human life. Orwell and Huxley had the imagination to understand why—unlike me, who had to go to Pyongyang to find out.

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The Nauru Regional Processing Centre

A wonderfully Orwellian name, says Dalrymple, for a holding camp for would-be refugees to Australia

A wonderfully Orwellian name, says Dalrymple, for a holding camp for would-be refugees to Australia

Fille de joie (nom féminin)

La prostitution: Bois de Boulogne

La prostitution: Bois de Boulogne

Feminists, writes Dalrymple,

ought to be ferociously opposed to ladies and gentlemen, with its connotation of bogus and condescending gallantry directed towards women by putting them first. They should be fighting for gentlemen and ladies (if the word ladies is permissible at all), for at least such a formulation would reveal plain and undisguised the oppressive and selfish nature of patriarchy.

The change from the impersonal he to the impersonal she in politically correct texts — i.e. most academic work — is, of course,

not spontaneous but ideologically driven. There is alternation between the two impersonal pronouns which could not have come about except by conscious effort.

We have entered, Dalrymple points out, the realm of Newspeak. The next step in the Orwellian struggle

would be to bring sanctions to bear on countries with languages whose nouns have gender. In French, for example, prostitution is feminine. Is this not a gross insult to women worldwide?

Web of the Cultural Revolution

Screen Shot 2015-06-21 at 08.45.15

(by Rowlandson)

The spider needs its prey to live

Dalrymple writes:

When a Nobel prize winner can be hounded from his university chair by the harridans of the internet (or any other self-constituted group of fanatics), the outlook for freedom of speech is not good. The West, having undergone its own Cultural Revolution, has taken up the baton of Maoist self-criticism.

What was Professor Sir Timothy Hunt’s wrongdoing? During a speech at a luncheon for women scientists, he remarked lightly, ironically,

Self-criticism

Self-criticism

Let me tell you about my trouble with girls…things happen when they are in the lab…You fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticise them, they cry.

Hunted down

Such is the modern thirst, writes Dalrymple,

for moral or political outrage, which is the tool of the mediocre to bring about their revenge upon the gifted, that words are now taken in the most literal sense and given thereby the worst possible interpretation. The mediocre wait to take offence as a spider awaits its prey in a web; the spider needs its prey to live, the mediocre their offendedness to feel a sense of purpose to their lives.

Struggle session

Struggle session

Red guards of the internet

Professor Hunt was forced to resign

by what in effect was a witch hunt, or a lynch mob.

Dalrymple points out that

science doesn’t need women, it needs scientists, just as art needs artists and literature needs writers; whether they are men or women is irrelevant. There is no female science any more than there was Jewish or bourgeois science, of late unhappy memory.

Screen Shot 2015-06-21 at 08.52.07Heresy

It is not truth

that is the aim, but power. That is the purpose of propaganda in totalitarian regimes: to force starving people to acquiesce to the proposition that they have never eaten so well.

Screen Shot 2015-06-21 at 08.53.27It is

a totalitarian demand that a cell biologist, in order to be able to work at all, should subscribe to the current political orthodoxy, whether it be right or wrong. It is constitutive of these times in which diversity is claimed as the highest good that there should exist a demand that everyone should think alike or at least not utter heresies in public.

Orwellian

The aim, says Dalrymple, is that of Newspeak in Nineteen Eighty-Four:

that certain things should not only be unsayable but unthinkable.

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If we had only listened to Honeyford

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 22.25.58If we had done so, we should not have sown what we are reaping

Ray Honeyford, who was headmaster of a ghetto school in Bradford in the early 1980s, knew, writes Dalrymple, that

the official multiculturalist educational policies that he was expected to implement would sooner or later lead to social disaster.

When he exposed the folly of these policies,

the advocates of ‘diversity’, who maintain that all cultures are equal but that opinions other than their own are forbidden, mounted a vicious and vituperative campaign against him. He was branded a near-murderous racist and drummed out of his job.

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 22.26.28His ideas were

logical, sensible, and coherent. He argued that Islamic immigrants needed to be integrated fully into British society. He did not believe that the cultural identity necessary to prevent the balkanisation of our cities into warring ethnic and religious factions implied a deadening cultural or religious uniformity. On the contrary.

He

enunciated painful truths that were tangential to his central argument: for example, that Pakistan (the country of origin of most of the immigrants in his area) had been unable throughout its history to develop either democratic institutions or a culture of tolerance.

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 22.25.16The ghetto school, called Drummond Middle, was a

piece of high-Victorian public architecture, grand without being overbearing, and conveying implicit aesthetic and moral lessons to its pupils, however humble the homes from which they came. The collapse of the cultural confidence that had produced such a school building was soon complete: after Honeyford’s departure, the school quickly received an Urdu name and was burned down beyond repair by an arsonist.

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 22.26.14Honeyford brought his troubles down upon him when he published an article exposing the follies of multicultural education in the Salisbury Review. The Review’s name

hardly ever appears without the qualification that it is rabidly right-wing, implying that no intellectual engagement with the ideas expressed in it is ever necessary—only the kind of opposition appropriate to dealing with brownshirts and blackshirts.

An unremitting campaign gathered steam,

under the leadership of local politicians and pressure groups, some of which sprang up expressly to get him fired. He received death threats. A few small children learned from their parents to chant ‘Ray-cist! Ray-cist!’ at him and to hold up denunciatory placards, some with a skull and crossbones. The Bradford Education Authority considered the possibility of a court order against the demonstrators, but it decided that such an order would inflame passions. Thus political extremists learned a valuable lesson: intimidation pays.

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 22.25.44Honeyford was

mild-mannered and unexcitable. He was a believer in the virtues of plain speaking—formerly a tradition in the north of England. He thought that different opinions might be tolerated, not having grasped that the purpose of those who argue for cultural diversity is to impose ideological uniformity.

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 22.25.28He believed in the redemptive power of education and in

the duty of schools to give the children of immigrants the same educational opportunities as everyone else. His only regret about the affair was that it drastically shortened his teaching career. It is a tribute to the power of Orwellian language that a man who believed these things should successfully have been labeled a racist.

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Dalrympian Confucianism

analectsDalrymple draws attention to Analects 13.3:

子路曰。衞君待子而爲政、子將奚先 子曰。必也正名乎。子路曰。有是哉。子之迂也 奚其正 子曰。野哉、由也 君子於其所不知、蓋闕如也。名不正、則言不訓。言不訓、則事不成。事不成、則禮樂不興。禮樂不興、則刑罰不中。刑罰不中、則民無所措手足。故君子名之必可 言也、言之必可行也。君子於其言、無所苟而已矣。。

Here, Dalrymple explains, Confucius pointed to

the political dangers of saying what is not meant. If language is the medium of thought, then loose language undermines proper thought.

Leys renders the chapter thus:

Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 19.07.39Zilu asked: ‘If the ruler of Wei were to entrust you with the government of the country, what would be your first initiative?’

The Master said: ‘It would certainly be to rectify the names.’

Zilu said: ‘Really? Isn’t this a little farfetched? What is this rectification for?’

The Master said: ‘How boorish can you get! Whereupon a gentleman is incompetent, thereupon he should remain silent. If the names are not correct, language is without an object. When language is without an object, no affair can be effected. When no affair can be effected, rites and music wither. When rites and music wither, punishments and penalties miss their target. When punishments and penalties miss their target, the people do not know where they stand.

‘Therefore, whatever a gentleman conceives of, he must be able to say; and whatever he says, he must be able to do. In the matter of language, a gentleman leaves nothing to chance.’

 

Gogol for the absurdity, Kafka for the menace, Orwell for the lies

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Mistrust, fear, emasculation, and compliance with untruth in the professions and universities. Modern Western propaganda and the political-ideological correctitude that infects, among many other fields, the medical profession is not, Dalrymple writes, intended to persuade, much less to inform, ‘but to humiliate’. The less true it is, the better, for ‘by not only forbidding contradiction to its claims but demanding assent to them, the human being’s sense of independence and worthiness is destroyed from within….The more preposterous the claims and the more obvious the defects in reasoning, the more effective….This process of human destruction…is far advanced in Britain and…in the rest of the Western world’. To understand what is going on, he says, ‘it is necessary, and probably sufficient, to read three authors: Gogol for the pervasive absurdity, Kafka for the pervasive fear and menace, and Orwell for the pervasive lies’

 

Why I resent Theodore Dalrymple

Screen Shot 2014-05-12 at 14.08.03Whenever I read a passage of prose by this wretched doctor-scribbler, who has been described (I resent this) as the Orwell of his age,

I experience pleasure, of course, but before long it is commingled with irritation and finally resentment. Why should this [infernal physician] be able to put something more elegantly, more wittily, more poetically, more concisely, than I ever could? What did he ever do to deserve his talent?

The Britons to whom Stalin was and is a god

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E.J. Hobsbawm: awarded the CH for services to Stalin apologetics

What are they like, the apologists for tyranny, the supporters of Mao or Hitler or Stalin, the defenders of the gulag, the enemies of a free and open society, the admirers of terror and genocide, the ones who want to see what Orwell called the ‘boot stamping on a human face — forever’? What are creatures like Eric Hobsbawm really like?

Dalrymple brings out some of their attributes in the course of an account of a visit to North Korea as part of a delegation to the World Festival of Youth and Students.

I was accepted as a member [of the delegation] because…I was a doctor who had practised in Tanzania, whose first president Julius Nyerere was a close friend and admirer of Kim Il Sung.

He describes some of the delegates.

They were hard-faced communists, who dressed tough and cut their hair short so that their heads should appear as bony as possible. I overheard one of them describing a demonstration he had attended in England, in which there had also been a member of Amnesty International with a placard.

‘I went up to him and said, “I don’t believe in that bourgeois shit.” And he said, “Do you think political prisoners should be tortured and killed, then?” “Too fucking right, I do,” I said.’

The person to whom he related this charming little exchange laughed. What I found frightening about the pair of them was that their faces were contorted with hatred even as they laughed, and when they talked of killing political prisoners they meant it. They were members of a little communist groupuscule for whom Stalin was a god, not in spite of his crimes but because of them.

(1991)