Category Archives: rage

Why young Muslims hate

Dalrymple explains that Muslims growing up in the West

see a society in which the summum bonum is consumerism, but whose members, through lack of money or lack of discrimination, are not even very good at that.

Young Muslims see a white society in which people do not know how to

  • dress with dignity or self-respect
  • eat well
  • enjoy themselves in a sociable fashion without an undercurrent of violence

The whites of the slums, Dalrymple points out, are

uncouth and uncultured, living in the eternal present moment of popular culture, wearing a deracinated uniform: shell suit, trainers, baseball cap. A way of life has emerged that is utterly charmless and that no sensible person would wish to emulate.

Young Muslims hear passionate disquisitions from their fathers and uncles about

  • the degeneracy of the white culture around them
  • the disastrous anarchy of family relationships among the whites
  • how superior to all this moral squalor their own traditions are

When they receive the racist taunts of their white contemporaries, they harbour a sense of their superiority. Yet, says Dalrymple, they cannot simply reproduce their fathers’ mental world. They are part modern Westerners too, with many of the same debased tastes as their white contemporaries. They

  • listen to the same music
  • eat the same fast food
  • play the same games
  • are attracted by the same baubles, such as mobile phones and designer trainers
  • adopt the same disgusting body-piercing and tattooing practices

The young Muslims

feel guilty about their lack of cultural purity. From guilty desire and surreptitious identification it is a short step to insensate hatred and rage.

The mixture of material inferiority and a feeling of spiritual or cultural superiority is a combustible one, found also at moments in their history in Russian Slavophils, the Japanese, and Latin Americans. The Muslim world, Dalrymple notes, is

acutely aware of its technical weakness and impotence: to catch up economically with the West it must adopt the West’s methods, and a large part of its culture. Even armed resistance to the encroachment of Western culture has to be carried out with Western weapons — scimitars won’t do. It is a humiliating thought for members of a proud culture that if that culture had ceased to exist three centuries ago, the world would not have had to go without any of the inventions that have shaped modern life.

Temper, temper!

The Seven Deadly Sins: Wrath. Jacques de Backer, c. 1595

Are you overcome with fury?

The answer, writes Dalrymple, is to

  • lay down your smartphone
  • send no message
  • wait for at least 24 hours, if not for ever

The chances are, says Dalrymple,

that when you are angry you are enjoying yourself, and that there is something bogus in your rage.

The European débâcle

Waarom Dalrymple meewerkt aan SCEPTR

The continent’s problems, says Dalrymple, are

largely the result of intellectual error, and frequently of dishonesty as well.

This is combined, he points out, with

a totalitarian impulse to suppress free discussion. Many subjects cannot be freely discussed, with the result that the only way of expressing disagreement with the prevailing orthodoxies and pieties is by an inchoate and destructive rage.

But let us control our rage and instead attempt to overcome political correctness

using the tools of rationality.

The totalitarian impulse

screen-shot-2016-12-08-at-20-56-23Dalrymple points out that Europe’s problems are associated with

intellectual error and dishonesty — combined with a totalitarian impulse to suppress discussion.

Many subjects cannot freely be broached, with the result that

the only way of expressing disagreement with the prevailing orthodoxies and pieties is by an inchoate and destructive rage.

My hand shakes; I want to interrupt, to shout

Zeven Hoofdzonden (detail), attr. Jheronimus Bosch, c. 1485 or after. Museo del Prado

Zeven Hoofdzonden (detail), attr. Jheronimus Bosch, c. 1485 or after. Museo del Prado

Dogmatism, writes Dalrymple,

is the reaction of those who want to know best but suspect that the metaphysical foundations of their supposed knowledge are shaky. Ambiguity disturbs them: how can there be rational criticism founded on argument and evidence, when at the same time there is no disputing taste? The solution to the tension is to stand behind a stockade of indubitable truth.

The search for certainty

is much more important than the search for truth. I know a man, an eminent writer, who has changed his opinion many times in his long life, often by 180°, but never admits to having done so. He has held every successive opinion with angry intransigence. Challenges by people of another opinion make him turn red with rage: they do not merely differ from him in opinion, they are attacking him personally. It is not true that bigotry is the exclusive province of the ignorant and stupid; there is the clever and well-informed variety, the more dangerous because the less easily recognised.

Dalrymple does not exclude himself.

When someone expresses an opinion that is very different from my own, I often feel a mounting tension, though the subject may be one that, if I am honest with myself, is of little importance or consequence to me. Certainly it cannot harm me that someone thinks differently from me about it; yet my heart begins to beat wildly, and I am sure that my blood pressure has risen. I feel an excitation, I tell myself to keep calm but I don’t succeed; my hand shakes; I want to interrupt, to shout. I am not defending truth, but my opinion. Generally I succeed in controlling myself, but occasionally I do not, especially when my interlocutor is young. I immediately feel ashamed of myself afterwards; I even feel ashamed that, at my age, I am still so little capable of detachment.

A nation of obsessed enragés cannot be free

Screen Shot 2015-09-14 at 09.07.23The empire of Marxism, writes Dalrymple, has declined into

petty Balkan obsessions, each anxious to impose its own orthodoxy by the same methods of intimidation. An increasing number of subjects are off-limits to the wary; pressure groups long ago realised that you don’t have to go in for the crudity of Islamic fatwa and the Charlie Hebdo killings to exclude unwanted commentary.

Who after the dismissal of Professor Sir Timothy Hunt

by the cowards and poltroons of University College, London, terrorised as they were by the National Union of Harridans, would dare to repeat his sentiments in public, even as a joke? If a Nobel prize doesn’t protect a man from a witch-hunt, what hope is there for the rest of us?

Freedom of expression and opinion is

a habit of the heart and a discipline, a willing suspension of outrage towards those with whom we disagree, however strongly. I say (including to myself because, alas, it is often necessary to do so), control your rage.

The case of Vester Lee Flanagan

Screen Shot 2015-09-12 at 11.07.59Dalrymple identifies three principal features: bitter paranoia, craving for celebrity, and self-righteous anger.

1. The paranoid stance

The belief, writes Dalrymple, is that

the world is so constituted as to do one down.

This has

sour compensations, chief among which is that it explains in advance all our possible failures. We fail, but never deserve to do so. We are absolved from even trying to succeed, since the forces arrayed against us are too strong; bitterness therefore increases in proportion to the alleged, or self-described, meritocracy of a society.

The advance of sociology

has given us a menu of impersonal forces from which to choose to explain away our failings and discontents. It is co-opted to become the omnium gatherum of self-exculpation.

There is grandiosity,

in so far as the paranoid person believes that much that goes on around him is directed at himself.

There have always been people of paranoid disposition, Dalrymple points out, and he cites the Azande of the Sudan, who used to believe that no one died except by the witchcraft of enemies,

Azande sorcerer

Azande sorcerer

so that it is hardly surprising that they developed a wary attitude to their neighbours and the people around them.

Where there is a cultural emphasis on racism,

an increased number of people, with a relatively high propensity as individuals to paranoia, will interpret the world in its light.

2. The apparent desire for fame

Flanagan appears to have felt an inner compulsion to be famous. Dalrymple comments:

Provided the fame sought is for valuable achievement which is a precondition of becoming famous, the desire is constructive and perhaps even necessary. But where fame is desired for its own sake, detached from any worthwhile achievement, it is malignant and loosens or dissolves moral restraint on behaviour.

Worthwhile achievement is as difficult as ever, but

self-publicity is increasingly commonplace and fame the desire of more and more people who would once have been contented with obscurity. Those with an extreme desire for fame — unaccompanied by any particular qualification for it — resort to ever more bizarre behaviour in order to reach it.

3. The claimed sense of moral outrage

Dalrymple writes that we do not think of anger as a sin any longer

but as the sign of a generous heart, at least when felt and expressed on behalf of others. To live your life without anger is to be complacent and self-satisfied. Since the state of the world gives plenty of scope for those seeking an occasion for anger, we may be angry on behalf of others all the time. The greater our anger, the greater our generosity of spirit. Since our anger is noble and generous, when we act out of such anger, we suppose that we are acting generously.

Anger

makes us love injustice, provided that it is we who are committing it. An atmosphere of rage is concomitantly one of self-righteous cruelty.

A nasty, primitive ideology

Screen Shot 2015-08-12 at 08.07.19The Islamist cause is mad, stupid and evil

Dalrymple writes that young Western middle-class Muslim plotters, of whom there are many,

are fully at home neither in the culture of their parents nor in that of the host country.

Youth

is the time when one looks outward for unifying explanations of one’s dissatisfactions, and education is in part the means by which abstractions become more real than the phenomena before one’s eyes. An extremely nasty and primitive ideology, in which a distant but perfect future appears to its adherents more real than anything in the present, lies ready to hand. According to this ideology, insensate cruelty is a sign not of bad character or sadism, but of commitment.

Young educated Muslims

think they have plenty of supposedly objective grounds for their resentment against the host society.

In the West, Muslims

do significantly worse educationally and economically than any other group. A larger proportion of Muslims leave school with no qualifications than any other minority. While young Hindus have a youth unemployment rate below the national average, Muslims have a rate much above it. Young male Muslims are filling British prisons, while there are very few Hindus or Sikhs in prison. In these circumstances, the young educated Muslims form an élite that, with the misplaced and arrogant idealism of youth, feels a responsibility to enlighten, lead, or liberate their less fortunate brethren, of whom there are many.

Many young Muslims reject communal self-examination

in favour of conspiracy theories and the exaggeration of supposed grievance, for of course the only defect of Muslim society that believers permit themselves to admit is unjust powerlessness vis-à-vis the unbelievers.

One taboo subject is

the pivotal role of the suppression of women in reinforcing Muslim stagnation. But if you discourage half of your population from seeking education or a career, as occurs in some Muslim populations, it is hardly surprising in a modern economy that educational and economic levels are, in the aggregate, low.

Muslim journalists repeatedly write in Western newspapers that

Muslim anger must be understood and presumably assuaged or appeased: as if Descartes had written, ‘I’m angry, therefore I’m right.’ But rage is not its own justification, and the rage of young men is frequently misplaced. They project outwards what they feel inwards; and, if they have sufficient intellectual sophistication to do so, they give their petty discontents — and the discontents of the would-be bombers are petty — a vast significance. Education gives them the mental dexterity conceptually to transmute concrete evil into abstract good.

The result is often murderous

when un-self-critical and self-pitying anger meets ideology. The compass of the evil done by the uneducated angry is usually small by comparison with that done by the educated (or at least, the technically trained) angry. The worst the uneducated can manage is a mob and a riot. It takes education, or training, in close alliance with resentment, to put evil more extensively into practice.

What do we care about a fucking piano?

A still from footage taken in Phnom Penh after its fall in April 1975. A grand piano also features in Dalrymple's Monrovia Mon Amour, in the chapter describing a visit to the Centennial Hall. Dalrymple writes: 'Lying on the ground…was a Steinway grand piano (the only one in the country…), its legs sawn off. The body of the piano, still gleaming black and in perfect condition, was in direct contact with the floor, while the three sawn legs were strewn about….A long-contemplated but long-frustrated revenge upon a whole alien civilization…. simmering rage and envy….Michel took photos of the stricken instrument….How long…before some post-modernist composer has a pianist not play the instrument but, in front of the audience, saw off its legs, to the craven applause of critics afraid to be thought stupid or reactionary?….We felt we had secured something of a scoop….We returned to the Olympic Hotel….There we found two…British photographers….I described to them…the destruction of the piano….’What do we care about a fucking piano?’ one of them said….I despaired then of my own country.'

A still from footage shot in Phnom Penh, April 1975. A piano also features in Dalrymple’s Monrovia Mon Amour, in a passage about a visit to the Centennial Hall. Dalrymple writes: ‘Lying on the ground was a Steinway grand piano (the only one in the country), its legs sawn off. The body of the piano, still gleaming black and in perfect condition, was in direct contact with the floor, while the three sawn legs were strewn about. A long-contemplated but long-frustrated revenge upon a whole alien civilisation… Simmering rage and envy. Michel took photos of the stricken instrument. How long before some post-modernist composer has a pianist not play the instrument but, in front of the audience, saw off its legs, to the craven applause of critics afraid to be thought stupid or reactionary? We felt we had secured something of a scoop. We returned to the Olympic Hotel. There we found two British photographers. I described to them…the destruction of the piano….’What do we care about a fucking piano?’ one of them said. I despaired then of my own country.’

Centennial Hall

Hirsi Ali versus Islamism’s fellow travellers

Screen Shot 2015-07-04 at 22.41.33Proselytiser for the European Enlightenment view of the world

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, says Dalrymple, is right to insist

that a profound change in the relations between the sexes is the key to Muslim integration into Western society.

For many young Muslim men in the West, Dalrymple points out,

a powerful appeal of Islam is the sanction that it gives to their domination of women. This domination provides them an ex officio source of self-satisfaction that discourages further effort, and simultaneously deprives their society of the talents of women. The natural result is material and intellectual failure by comparison with other religious groups; and disappointment leads to morbid hypersensitivity to criticism, insensate rage and the blaming of others.

Many in the West,

from a combination of fear and self-hatred, are unwilling to make the distinction between a respect for the right of people to practise a religion within the law, and an exaggerated respect for the religion itself. Hirsi Ali rightfully pours scorn on the fellow travellers of obscurantism.