Category Archives: psychopathy

Glamour of ultra-violence

Dalrymple writes that when, as a medical student, he emerged from the cinema having seen the 1971 film of the Anthony Burgess novel A Clockwork Orange (1962),

I was astonished and horrified to see a group of young men outside dressed up as droogs.

He explains that in England, the film’s detractors

wanted it banned, charging that it glamourised and thereby promoted violence.

Anthony Burgess: his A Clockwork Orange (1962) remains a novel of immense power. Linguistically inventive, socially prophetic, and philosophically profound, it comes very close to being a work of genius.

The young men dressed as droogs

seemed to confirm the charge, though of course it is one thing to imitate a form of dress and quite another to imitate behaviour.

Still,

even a merely sartorial identification with psychopathic violence shocked me, for it implied an imaginative sympathy with such violence; and seeing those young men outside the cinema was my first intimation that art, literature, and ideas might have profound—and not necessarily favourable—social consequences.

Dalrymple notes that Burgess came to dislike the novel

because he did not want to go down in literary history as the author of a book made famous, or notorious, by a film.

From strumming guitars to decapitation in three months

Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 08.49.34Dalrymple notes that in the Dhaka cafe terror attack, the six Islamist killers

were not downtrodden, like so many of their countrymen. They were scions of the small, rich, and educated local élite. They were privileged as only the rich in poor countries can be privileged.

Vice

knows no class barriers and education is often more an aid than a hindrance to evil committed in the name of ideology.

Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 08.50.21The Soviets recruited their useful idiots in the West

not from the supposedly ignorant proletariat but from the ranks of the educated.

But even such pitiless people as the Soviets

did not expect their recruits personally to hack people to death if they could not recite the Communist Manifesto—and go straight to heaven as a result.

1Some of the Bangladeshi perpetrators

fanaticised themselves only recently. The parents found it difficult to believe that their sons—previously polite and without apparent problems, indeed with ‘humanitarian’ sentiments of the modern kind—should have suddenly turned so psychopathically brutal.

The killers

could not have expected anything but a smooth passage through life. Lack of prospects was certainly not what impelled them.

After the downfall of Communism, Islamism

is the only ideology that supposedly answers all life’s questions and can appeal to the adolescent search for certainty about what life is for. It appeals only to born Muslims and a small number of converts. It has none of the cross-cultural appeal that Communism did. But why person x rather than person y falls for it—that is a question that can never be fully answered.

Omertà of the Mohammedan convicts

Bourhan Hraichie

Bourhan Hraichie

Men don’t need ideology to be psychopathic sadists, writes Dalrymple, but it may help.

Against the interpretation of Bourhan Hraichie’s attack on Michael O’Keefe

as a manifestation of purely personal sadism is his previously expressed support for the Islamic State — a case of elective affinity, no doubt.

The Mid North Coast Correctional Centre in Aldavilla, outside Kemsey

The Mid North Coast Correctional Centre in Aldavilla, outside Kemsey

There is also the fact that

no one in the cells nearest to Hraichie called the guards on their emergency bells for fear of retaliation by Hraichie and his acolytes.

In other words,

there was a powerful group of prisoners in the jail who thought and felt as Hraichie did, or would at least obey his orders. The Islamists are thus a kind of prison Mafia, with their own version of omertà.

Extraterritorial Molenbeek

Screen Shot 2015-11-21 at 09.18.29The jihad capital of Europe

Brussels is slightly more than a quarter Muslim, Dalrymple points out, and nearly all Molenbeek residents are Muslims of North African background. The place, he writes, is

virtually extraterritorial as far as the Belgian state is concerned—apart from the collection of social security, of course.

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A popular bar in the quarter. Mine host: Ibrahim Abdeslam

Dalrymple lists some of the features of the terrorist haven:

  • all women wear headscarves
  • young men dress like American rap music fans
  • police rarely enter and are far more concerned not to offend Muslim sensibilities—for example, by not being seen to eat during Ramadan—than to find or capture miscreants who make the area dangerously crime-ridden
  • businesses pay no taxes but are not investigated for evasion by the tax authorities: it is the tax authorities who do the evading
  • Islamist preaching and plotting is rife, but nothing is done to stop it, in order to keep the tense and fragile peace going as long as possible
  • sympathy for terrorism is the norm—or, it would be more correct to say, no one dares publicly voice opposition to it

Screen Shot 2015-11-21 at 09.18.01Incubator of Islamist evil

Molenbeek, Dalrymple explains, is thus

the perfect place for psychopaths with an illusion of purpose to flourish and make plans undisturbed by the authorities, while being supported by the welfare state.

The Belgian prime minister, Dalrymple reports,

The young people of Molenbeek warmly welcome you

The young people of Molenbeek

has virtually admitted that the area was extraterritorial to Belgium, and out of all control. The time had come ‘to focus more on repression’, he said.

But

whether the determination or sufficient political unity necessary to carry it out will last is doubtful. Repression requires discrimination; we live in a regime in which murderers may come and go, but social security goes on forever.

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Molenbeek folk

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Molenbeek: a vibrant community

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Molenbeek as it was

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Molenbeek past

Psychopathic æsthetic arrogance

Repulsive and barbaric

Repulsive and barbaric

The Shard (2012), writes Dalrymple, is

grossly incompetent.

It

unbalances an already much damaged skyline

and is an example of

the devastation wrought by barbaric architects.

The egotist Renzo Piano imagines that

his adolescent rebellion is something to be proud of.

Technical advancement,

for which gigantism is often a metonym, is mistaken for improvement.

The Shard would, says Dalrymple,

be perfect for Dubai: its glassy vulgarity would hardly attract notice there. But London is not Dubai even if its prosperity is built, metaphorically, on sand.

Modernity

is the most fleeting of qualities, and useless for assessing the worth of anything. Fascism and nylon shirts were once modern, but no one would now call them the finest flower of the human mind or spirit.

Fuck you

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 07.57.38These words, writes Dalrymple, are

the chief motto of British service industries.

They are also chosen, he points out, by

a surprisingly large number of auto-tattooists for the exercise of their dermatographical art.

He recalls a patient who

had the two words tattooed in mirror writing upon his forehead, no doubt that he might read them in the bathroom mirror every morning and be reminded of the vanity of earthly concerns.

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 07.49.36The seemingly minor social phænomenon of tattooing affords us, says Dalrymple,

a little glimpse into the Hobbesian moral world inhabited by a section of the population with whom we normally have little contact: they actually want to be considered psychopathic.

A considerable number of the auto-tattooed inject themselves with swastikas. At first Dalrymple thought this was

profoundly nasty, a reflection of their political beliefs.

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 08.08.54But in his alarm he had failed to take into consideration the fathomless historical ignorance of those who do such things to themselves.

People who believe (as one of my recent patients did) that the Second World War started in 1918 and ended in 1960—a better approximation to the true dates than some I have heard—are unlikely to know what exactly the Nazis and their emblem stood for, beyond the everyday brutality with which they are familiar, and which they admire and aspire to.

A little more stigma, please

Screen Shot 2015-04-05 at 19.44.37It would have saved the lives snuffed out by this amok-pilot

Andreas Lubitz’s problem, writes Dalrymple, was

one of character rather than of illness.

He was a narcissist whose enthusiasm for fitness was

not for fitness for any end other than a purely self-regarding one. The picture of him out running, pouting as if engaged on something serious and staring ahead with earphones in his ears to exclude the outer world from obtruding on him in his self-absorbed bubble, suggested a man more than usually self-centred.

Screen Shot 2015-04-05 at 17.37.28He is reported to have been

determined to make more of a mark in the world than his native talents would permit, reducing him to the necessity of doing something terrible to catch the attention of the world that he so craved, and no doubt felt that he deserved. For narcissists, anonymity is the worst of fates.

Dalrymple says he cannot help but think that Western culture

is propitious to the promotion of narcissism of the type that I suspect that Lubitz suffered from — or made others suffer from.

Screen Shot 2015-04-05 at 17.36.37Psychiatry

will never make the likes of Lubitz whole. We shall never be putty in technicians’ hands. That is not the same as saying that he should have been allowed to fly aëroplanes. A little more stigma and prejudice would have saved the 149 lives he so egotistically snuffed out.

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Jihad’s appeal to psychopaths

Screen Shot 2014-06-21 at 21.59.32The concept of jihad, writes Dalrymple,

is perfectly suited to giving psychopaths the idea that their viciousness serves an ideal other than their own gratification.