Category Archives: Puritans

Grim smug Leftist performing animal

Self-righteous guru: hell is being preached at eternally by this humourless puritan

Greta Thunberg, writes Dalrymple,

is to self-righteousness and self-satisfaction what Mozart was to music — a prodigy.

But unlike Mozart,

she is an unattractive child, the grimness of her humourless puritanism being inscribed on her face. She has added a vision of hell: being preached at by her for eternity.


awfulness (of which she is unaware) is not really her fault. Her transformation into a celebrity is the work of adults.

The exaggerated respect with which her pronouncements have been received

will be a matter of wonder to future generations. She has addressed not only crowds but parliaments, where she has been accorded a mixed status:

  • guru because she has uttered the tenets of a powerful doxa that so many thirst to believe
  • performing animal because she is so young to perform so unexpectedly well

Thunberg’s humourlessness

is a great asset in the modern world, for when earnestness is mistaken for seriousness and gaiety for frivolity, a sense of humour is not only unlikely to flourish, it is likely to be reprehended. Literal-mindedness has become so general a psychological phenomenon that jokes, most of which are directed against someone, are sure to be taken in their most literal meaning.

Humour has become dangerous. But Thunberg is safe; Dalrymple notes that

the very idea of a joke seems alien to her. I suspect that she is one of those persons who is puzzled when people laugh.

No such thing as an honest Nigerian

Screen Shot 2014-05-18 at 23.56.45There is no such thing as an honest Nigerian is a common Nigerian saying, Dalrymple explains.

I did not find this to be so,

he says (in the course of a discussion of Boko Haram),

at least in the dealings of Nigerians with me. But where there is gross corruption, there are people foolish enough to think that puritanism of one horrible kind or another is the solution.

The lost joys of bear-baiting

Dalrymple believes Macaulay was only partly right when he said the Puritans objected to the sport

not because it gave pain to the bear but because it gave pleasure to the spectators.

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