Category Archives: personal responsibility

Australia’s fauxpology

The situation of the Aborigines in Australia, writes Dalrymple,

was and is tragic, and would still be tragic even had the settlers behaved from the first in the best possible or morally ideal fashion. (It is not in human nature that they should have done so, least of all in a rough-and-ready and very young frontier society.)

He points out that

there is no obvious or easy answer to the problem of a Stone Age people who come into close contact with a vastly superior material culture. Neither total assimilation nor preservation in what amounts to a living ethnographic museum is a complete or satisfactory solution; probably such a solution does not exist, which is the tragedy.

However,

a blanket apology and the granting of group economic privileges is hardly the way to cultivate a sense of personal responsibility in a population now decimated by alcoholism and brutalised by family violence. Quite the contrary: psychologically, if not in strict logic, it will allow a man to beat his wife and blame history.

Dalrympian meditations

Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 08.48.36It is accepted without argument today, writes Dalrymple, that a man

is not in the least responsible for his personality or character.

This is, he points out,

a far cry from Marcus Aurelius’s view that a man could, and ought to, cultivate his own character.

Social liberals, he asserts, are too guilty or cowardly to acknowledge the realities of the social universe they have wrought, one in which there is

no place for children or childhood.

Believing that man is the product of his environment, social liberals

have nevertheless set about creating an environment from which it is truly difficult to escape, by closing off all the avenues and bolt-holes. They have destroyed the family and any notion of progress or improvement. They have made a world in which the only freedom is self-indulgence, a world from which—most terrible of all—prison can sometimes be a liberation.