Category Archives: pride

The prideful Germans beat their breasts

The doctor-writer’s diagnosis of the deep German psychopathology — and why the rest of us always end up paying a heavy price for it

Dalrymple writes that a healthy patriotism

seems to be denied to Germany. The historical reasons for this are perfectly obvious, of course. But it is more difficult to rid oneself of pride than one might think: one can become proud of one’s lack of pride.

Moral exhibitionism

When Angela Merkel agreed to take more than a million migrants,

it was easy in her gesture to see her desire to restore the moral reputation of her nation.

One motive touted,

that with its ageing and declining population, Germany needed more young labour, is absurd: there are millions of unemployed young Spaniards, Italians and Greeks on its doorstep who could have been absorbed with much less difficulty.

Still the bully

The problem arises when Germany,

newly proud of its openness to refugees, tries to make other countries suffer the consequences of its policy, in the name of some kind of abstract principle. Thus other countries, such as Hungary, are to be bullied into taking refugees or face hostility and ostracism. (No one asks the refugees themselves whether they want to be resettled in Hungary. They are abstractions in the European psychodrama, not people of flesh and blood, with desires and ambitions of their own.)

Uriah Heep

The desire of the Germans

to overcome or dissolve their German-ness in the tepid bath of European Union-ness is the consequence of a certain historiography in which all of German history is but a run-up to Nazism: in other words that Nazism is immanent in the German soul, and the only way to control it is to tie it down as Gulliver was. But this supposed need does not exist to anything like the same extent in other countries, which may nevertheless be constrained by German power, influence and financial might to follow suit. The key to contemporary Europe may perhaps be found in the character of Uriah Heep.

The nobility of Count Dankula

Count Dankula, aka Markus Meechan, recently made the following statement:

If Frankie Boyle got arrested people would be fucking furious and the police would not have any public support.

Dalrymple comments:

Here the question is not whether or not this is true, but what the difference is between being furious and being fucking furious. Is there any way to distinguish between the two, and if so, what is the test? Does fucking furious mean very furious?

But

if you can be very furious, you can presumably be slightly furious, which makes nonsense of the word furious.

Dalrymple explains that the word fucking as used by the Count

is not used to convey meaning, for it has none, but to convey an attitude to society and perhaps to life, an attitude that he probably believes to be virtuous and on which he no doubt prides himself.

The word fucking is to the Count’s language

what the ironmongery and other impedimenta are to his face: they are inserted to prove that he is a savage. And the savage is a noble being, much superior in every way to the effœte, affected, and civilised one.

The Count is one of the United Kingdom Independence Party’s candidates (representing Scotland) in the elections for the EU’s rubber-stamp parliament

The Count with his Führer-worshipping pug and fellow free-speech advocate Tommy Robinson

The curse of self-esteem

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Oh, happy, happy Caligula!

Self-love, writes Dalrymple,

used to be a vice, but nowadays it is the nearest thing to a virtue, as a supposed precondition of our own mental health (whatever that might be).

The theory is that self-love

is a precondition to success, happiness, and resilience, and should therefore be taught early and probably incessantly.

Some people think

the promotion of youthful self-satisfaction and conceit an excellent idea, the key to the little ones’ future happiness.

Dalrymple points out that criminals,

especially the vicious rather than the merely pathetic ones, have very high self-esteem. They are generally proud of how awful they have been and positively swagger with satisfaction at their own competence in the matter of causing misery to others. They too have ‘core beliefs’ about themselves, all of them highly flattering. They even think they are lovable as well as admirable.

Pride

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Ed Vulliamy: superior intelligence, education and ethical sensitivity

Moral exhibitionism: the déformation professionelle of the intellectuals

Picking up the London newspaper the Guardian, Dalrymple lights on an article by a poseur called Ed Vulliamy on the subject of the monstrosity of the wish of his countrymen to leave the EU and the various abominations of Brexit Britain.

The article contains sentences such as the following:

On the slipstream of empire, I’ve always thought — to the point of treason — of my British passport as a ‘burden of shame’, as UB40 so eloquently put it — ‘a British subject, not proud of it’. Now, trying to cling on in ‘the Continent’, it is just a downright embarrassment — not only a badge of shame, but also, worse in a way, of pointless, bellicose imbecility.

Badge of bellicosity

Badge of bellicosity

Dalrymple makes two points:

  1. This is typical of the hyperbole that followed the result of the referendum, to the holding of which few people objected before the results were known. You can have elections and referenda, so long as the results are correct.
  2. Overweening pride runs through the passage. The man who wrote it is middle-aged: he has kept his ‘badge of shame’ for decades after he could, if he had felt shame about it, have got rid of it. His pride is to have a badge of shame, extravagantly exhibited, to demonstrate his moral superiority over people who wear the same badge who are not as intelligent, educated or morally sensitive. On me this has the same effect as the sound of a nail running down a blackboard.
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‘Superbia’, detail, The Seven Deadly Sins and the Four Last Things, c. 1450-1515, attr. Jheronimus Bosch

The English then and now

Screen Shot 2015-12-21 at 09.00.33Once, writes Dalrymple, the qualities of the English population included

  • cool and ironic detachment from its own experience, that permitted it to face adversity with great good humour and modesty rather than by resort to histrionics
  • a polite restraint that was a precondition of depth of character. This restraint seemed to me heroic in an undemonstrative way; it was also the guarantor of an implicit subtlety

Today the chief characteristics of the English, Dalrymple points out, are

  • militant vulgarity
  • lack of restraint
  • arrogant loudness
  • ferocious and determined drunkenness
  • antisocial egotism
  • aggression and quick resort to violence
  • grossness of appetites
  • prideful ugliness of appearance
  • lack of finesse in any department of human existence

To gravely go

Screen Shot 2015-03-07 at 07.53.42Cemeteries: antidote to self-importance

Dalrymple likes to enter graveyards

and linger awhile. I have been like this since my adolescence. Meditation on the transience of life, intermittent rather than continuous and rejuvenating rather than paralysing, is important for achieving equanimity.

When in Paris he always stays within a stone’s throw of Père-Lachaise. He likes to wander there at random among the 65,000 graves, seeking out no-one in particular, including the tombs of the never-heard-of and of the once-heard-of-now-forgotten.

It would almost be a pleasure to reside there permanently, were it not for the rather stringent residence qualifications.