Category Archives: ruthlessness

The acme of Nature’s redness in tooth and claw

Dalrymple writes that many cuckoos are

  • sly
  • ruthless
  • exploitative
  • parasitic
  • wicked

Notre Dame de Belzébuth

It might, writes Dalrymple, be worth conducting a survey

to establish how people imagine the demographic profile of the median American witch. For myself, I can only say that the image of Hillary Clinton comes to mind: a million Hillary Clintons flying about on broomsticks.

He imagines witches to have

that facial expression of ruthless self-righteousness, or self-righteous ruthlessness, that la Clinton wears like a mask in the Noh drama. It would also be interesting to know the voting pattern of modern American witches; my guess is that they are at least 90% Democrat. It is easy to imagine a ‘Witches for Hillary’ committee, but rather harder to imagine a ‘Witches for Donald’ one.

The Donald’s clownish rodomontade vs Hillary’s ruthless self-righteousness

screen-shot-2016-11-17-at-08-47-07Dalrymple notes that Donald Trump is regarded,

somewhat melodramatically, as a proto- or sub-Mussolini. Private Eye, the satirical weekly, published photos of Musso and Trump taken from the same angle, and the physical resemblance was remarkable.

Hillary Clinton, he says,

would be the choice of most Europeans. They believe, by no means justifiably, that she would be less dangerous for the rest of the world than the volatile and unpredictable Trump.

screen-shot-2016-11-17-at-09-04-14There is, Dalrymple points out,

a smugness about the European attitude to the American election. It couldn’t happen here: no serious politician of Trump’s crassness would reach his exalted level. Not only does such assurance forget our history, it disregards the discontents under the surface that could one day erupt into something far worse than Trump’s clownish rodomontade.

And Europe’s political class

already shares Clinton’s invincible and ruthless self-righteousness. Being Clinton is never having to say you’re sorry.

Europe faces

a similar choice as that between Trump and Clinton: inchoate and resentful protest (Trump), and self-anointment and entitlement to rule (Clinton) — with an admixture of suspected financial impropriety, past and to come, in both.

The hour of defeat

screen-shot-2016-11-13-at-13-37-13Not long after the US presidential election, Dalrymple picks up a newspaper. Leafing through it, he comes across, amid all the Trumpery, a picture of Hillary Clinton in the hour of her defeat.

The photograph did something that I previously should not have thought possible: it made me feel sorry for her, for it was the photograph of an old woman. The skin round her neck had become wrinkled as a turkey’s; her face was no longer as smooth as a plastic surgeon’s dream; she exuded no longer a false youth, as if the years had taken no toll of her; and defeat, sorrow, and grief, perhaps even a kind of senile incomprehension, were in her eyes.

screen-shot-2016-11-13-at-13-41-46It is, says Dalrymple,

one thing to experience a hopeful ambition ignominiously shattered at a time in life when there is still time for another, but it is quite another thing when it is too late for any comparable ambition to be realised.

He is surprised by his feeling of sympathy,

I who had previously detested her for her ruthless self-righteousness and self-righteous ruthlessness, with one eye always fixed on high moral principle and the other on the main chance, the latter always seeming to triumph over the former.

screen-shot-2016-11-13-at-21-36-05But Dalrymple’s sympathy does not go very deep or last very long. Those who live by ambition die by ambition.

If you make the achievement of power the meaning of your life and you are thwarted in it, some kind of collapse is only to be expected.


A noted practitioner of alternative medicine

Screen Shot 2016-08-05 at 17.14.08

Machiavellian MD: his goal is global mastery for the greater glory of Cathay

Dalrymple explains that in a series of novels by Sax Rohmer, Fu Manchu is a shadowy physician

of brilliant intellect. He is intent upon taking over the world on behalf of China.

Dr Fu’s

medical accomplishments are unconventional.

His therapeutic armamentarium includes

  • obedient and well-trained poisonous scorpions
  • obedient and well-trained Australian death adders
  • obedient and well-trained poisonous centipedes
  • immensely strong and malicious Ethiopian baboons

Dalrymple notes that the diabolic doctor, in his laboratory in Museum Street, WC1,

manages to extract a gaseous anæsthetic from the common puffball.

Screen Shot 2016-08-05 at 18.35.42Dr Fu performs

what sounds like genetic modification on various dangerous organisms that might later come in handy.

He is possessed of

ferocious cunning and ruthlessness.

Screen Shot 2016-08-05 at 17.03.27In The Devil Doctor, he

tries to get Dr Petrie to kill Nayland Smith with a samurai sword to prevent him from being eaten alive by Dr Fu’s starving Cantonese rats – the most ravenous in the world.

Screen Shot 2016-08-05 at 17.38.48

Sinister, merciless cunning

Screen Shot 2016-08-05 at 17.36.56Screen Shot 2016-08-05 at 17.34.24Screen Shot 2016-08-05 at 17.33.05Screen Shot 2016-08-05 at 17.40.40Screen Shot 2016-08-05 at 17.47.38 Screen Shot 2016-08-05 at 17.48.28

Voracious vermin of Guangdong

Voracious vermin of Guangdong

The scorpions are obedient

The scorpions are loyal to Dr Fu

Horn of Africa baboons: of great strength and highly malicious

Horn of Africa baboons: of huge strength and malice

Screen Shot 2016-08-05 at 18.12.14

The indestructible doctor

Dr Fu and assistant at work in his Museum Street lab

Dr Fu and assistant at work in his Museum Street lab

What Blair says about the British people

A modern Briton

A modern Briton

One of Blair’s motives for going to war might have been

an eye to his post-retirement value on the very lucrative American lecture circuit.

Blair, Dalrymple notes,

shows a greater avidity for vulgar high living than any recent holder of his office.

Dalrymple says Blair

presents us with a special puzzle. Although by no means an interesting man, in the sense that Doctor Johnson was an interesting man, we all find ourselves thinking about him at frustrating length. He is like a tune, neither loved nor lovely, that one cannot get out of one’s head.

In some ways

he appears to resemble that product of the diseased communist imagination, particularly beloved of Che Guevara, the New Man, at least in the sense that he does not resemble previous generations.

Screen Shot 2016-07-08 at 11.06.14Blair

is neither honest nor dishonest: he escapes entirely the criteria by which such a judgment of him could be made. To argue with him that what he says or does now is incompatible with what he said or did yesterday is about as fruitful as arguing a paranoid man out of his belief that the secret services of many countries are after him, or that his neighbours are listening to his thoughts through a screening device that they have invented. In short, Blair, having been born with Original Virtue, suffers from delusions of honesty.

Leaders, Dalrymple notes,

grow out of societies and a social context: they do not fall like bolts from the blue. Blair both represents, and is a cause of an acceleration in, a change in character of the British people. He is far from unique in his ability to find the happy coincidence between his thirst for money and power and the highest moral principles.

Anyone who has had dealings with the British public service, Dalrymple points out, will know that the principal qualities required for advancement within it are

  • unceasing sanctimony
  • brazenness
  • a craven dedication to orders from on high
  • an ability to justify a complete change of direction at a moment’s notice
  • a capacity for bullying those lower down the feeding chain, or those jostling for a place at the trough
  • a rigid self-control, to suppress any independence of mind or a tendency to consider the ethics of orders to be implemented

What is required in the civil servant is the ability, for example,

to present cancelled operations as an inestimable benefit to the patients concerned, while at the same time spotting niches for a little commercial activity of his own, whether it be by using the rules of employment to his own financial benefit or setting up a consultancy to advise his former employers.

Dalrymple recently met a public servant

who had risen up the ranks and had about him the air of a successful revolutionary. He travelled to London on the train first class every week (a ticket costs the equivalent of an annual working-class holiday in the sun), and attended sumptuous functions there attended by others such as himself, under the impression that by so doing he was working.

Here was the voice

of militant mediocrity, who expressed himself even in private in the language of Health Service meetings, believing that his large salary and high living at public expense were all for the good of those who paid for them. Just as the countries of Eastern Europe once had their little Stalins, so every department of every branch of the British public service has its little Blairs.

Today the ruling characteristics of the British are

  • deviousness
  • ruthlessness
  • an eye fixed on the main chance
  • sanctimony in the midst of obvious wrongdoing
  • toadying
  • bullying

As late as 1979, the British people, including administrators in hospitals, were largely upright. Some of the old virtues were seen, such as

  • stoicism
  • honesty
  • fortitude
  • irony
  • good humour

These can still be found,

but only in people who are of no importance,

for in Britain, good people

are like a defeated class.

Dalrymple says that

when words become the test of virtue, they also become the masks of vice. That is why sanctimony and ruthless self-interest are such powerful allies.

Evil tenants

G.J. Pinwell, Landlord and Tenant, 1871

G.J. Pinwell, Landlord and Tenant, 1871

Recently one of the tenants of Dalrymple’s next-door neighbour

did a bunk, owing him £3,000 in rent.

A quick investigation

established that she had done this all her life: she had cheated and swindled landlords for decades. She had many court judgments against her; not one had been executed. Obtaining such a judgment only added to the losses incurred by her successive landlords.

Tenants have a tendency to

turn their rented properties into sties, make unreasonable demands, withhold payment and regard any ill-conduct towards their landlord as justified ipso facto.


have little redress against the ruthless or dishonest.

Cameron’s repellent utterances

Complacency and ruthlessness masked by sentimentality

Utter complacency and ruthlessness, the reverse side of the coin of sentimentality

Dalrymple points out that the language used by David Cameron, the British prime minister, is

deeply repellent.

It is

a mixture of undignified and condescending demotic and mid-Atlantic psychobabble. Just as Mr Blair was never Anthony, so for Mr Cameron dads are there for you (the kids), so that there comes a time when you (the kids) turn to them (the dads) and a light bulb suddenly flicks on inside your head. Psychobabble, the language of Rousseau’s Confessions without the confessions, does not come much shallower than this.

Screen Shot 2015-07-19 at 08.28.35The choice of language is

a transparent attempt by Mr Cameron to persuade the public that he is just a normal chap – or as he would no doubt put it, guy – who happens to have found his way into 10 Downing Street, in more or less the same way I sometimes go down to the Castle Tea Rooms for my lunch.

Screen Shot 2015-07-19 at 08.55.25Worse still is the sentimentality of what Cameron has to say, closely allied as it is, to

utter complacency and ruthlessness, both express and implied.

Screen Shot 2015-07-19 at 08.27.28

What is it about Cameron that repels?

Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 23.26.34The British prime minister: a repulsive, ruthless sentimentalist who contemns his own countrymen

The language David Cameron uses, writes Dalrymple, is

a mixture of undignified and condescending demotic and mid-Atlantic psychobabble.

Especially repellent is

the sentimentality of what he has to say, closely allied as it is, to its utter complacency and ruthlessness, both express and implied.

Cameron’s actions, says Dalrymple,

cause me to shudder in the way I shudder when a singer misses a note. There is something wrong, kitsch or ersatz about it. An office-seeker who is prepared to parade his sentiments in public is ruthless, not sensitive. Sentimentality is frequently the reverse side of the coin of cruelty.

Implied in everything Cameron does is

contempt for the people of his own country,

whom he deems

incapable of grasping an argument about the desirability of fatherhood for children without the aid of Hello! magazine-type illustrations. This is to reduce our politics to the intellectual level of American tele-evangelism.