Category Archives: Theodore Dalrymple

The biggest slaughterhouse

Dalrymple points out that the largest abattoir is in Denmark (Danish Crown’s superb facility at Horsens in east Jutland). The plant has, he writes,

become almost a tourist attraction, so clinically and reassuringly anæsthetic are its procedures.

Workers, he notes, become attached to their place of work, for it provides them not just with their livelihood but a social life:

Few are they who rejoice in their redundancy.

Olivia Mokiejewski, author of Abattoir People, which Dalrymple reviews, admits this, which, he says,

increases my esteem for her.

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The Leftist populist Mélenchon’s appeal to envy and hatred

Dalrymple reports that Jean-Luc Mélenchon recently spoke to a crowd demonstrating against Emmanuel Macron’s proposed changes to labour laws, and

recited the fact (if it was a fact) that France had more millionaires than any other country in Europe.

This was, Dalrymple points out,

an appeal to envy and hatred—the kind of envy and hatred that has provoked at least as much mass murder as racial hatred.

Indeed, Dalrymple notes,

the two have often been closely associated, for what anti-Semite ever fails to draw attention to the economic success of Jews?

The word ‘millionaire’ as Mélenchon — himself a millionaire, of course — uttered it was intended to evoke,

by a Pavlovian reflex, an exploitative, parasitic, fat, lazy, cynical, privileged, dishonest, heartless and undeservedly lucky person, possibly still wearing a black tail coat and silk top hat, with a cigar stuck firmly between his fat and sybaritic lips.

‘None of the news that disturbs our smugness’ is the Guardian’s motto

Not only, writes Dalrymple, is the Guardian

the sole remaining daily newspaper in Britain whose content is mostly devoted to serious matters, it is the only one that the unacknowledged legislators of the world, the intelligentsia, take seriously.

This, he explains,

is a disaster for the country. Though it occasionally allows a dissenting voice, the Guardian has consistently advocated a demoralisation of the population, followed by increased state intervention and, of course, public spending to alleviate the consequences of that demoralisation. No wonder the BBC [the British state broadcaster] advertises for personnel exclusively in its pages.

Surrounding the newspaper’s content is

an aura of dishonesty and evasiveness.

Its writers aim to avoid

something they had rather not acknowledge: the need to think, in particular about the unrealistic presuppositions of their worldview. Not ‘All the news that’s fit to print’ but ‘None of the news that disturbs our liberal smugness and sense of moral superiority’ is the motto of the Guardian.

Dalrymple in North Korea

The DPRK: the ne plus ultra of contemporary political deformity (before, that is, the epidemic of Islamism)

Footage of an apparently uniformed doctor-writer from about 31:18 and again from about 32:32 (at which he point he is holding a camera).

Dalrymple is seen looking upon the spectacle with, to put it mildly, some scepticism. Among the speakers is Robert Mugabe. We know that later in the proceedings Dalrymple refused to stand or applaud at the appearance of the Dear Leader: ‘There I sat; I could do no other.’ The doctor-writer had succeeded in embedding himself in the 1989 World Festival of Youth and Students.

Footage found on YouTube by Yakimi of the Skeptical Doctor site.

 

La vie française de Dalrymple

From the Wanderlust interview

Why young occidentals hate

Cretinous iconoclasm

Youth in the West, writes Dalrymple, is deliberately kept from any deeper knowledge of civilisation by the

ideological self-hatred that has been so strong a current of Western intellectual life for the last three or more decades, that precludes any pedagogic affirmation of the Western tradition.

This self-denigration

explains in part the kind of hatred (and contempt) that young Muslims feel. Not only does the ideological self-hatred of Western intellectuals prevent them from learning anything of the Western tradition, other than Radio One and McDonald’s, but it supplies them with the tropes with which to justify their pre-existing anger and violence.

Dalrymple notes that the self-hatred of Western intellectuals

is not genuine or sincere: they do not really want to beat our supermarkets into souks, as swords into ploughshares. Rather, the intellectual’s expression of self-hatred is directed at other Western intellectuals, to prove the self-hater’s broadness of mind, moral superiority and lack of prejudice. It is not only rebellious youth who experience peer pressure; and anyone who pointed out, for example, that for a very long time now the Western medical tradition has been incomparably superior to all other medical traditions in the world combined and multiplied a thousandfold, would forfeit approval, even though what he said was true, and obviously so.

Barbarism

Insincere ideas can become official orthodoxies, with very real consequences. The Muslims of the West

are hardly to blame if they do not realise that the posturings of our intellectuals are not intended to be taken literally. When Western intellectuals express no admiration for or appreciation of the cultural achievements of their civilisation’s past, when only denigration and iconoclasm appear to advance an intellectual’s career, when moral stature is measured by the vehemence of denunciation of past or present abuses, real or imagined, it is hardly surprising that Muslims conclude that the West is eminently hateful; it must be, because it hates itself. They haven’t heard of Marie Antoinette playing shepherdess.

The insincere play with fire

Those who claim to hate and despise themselves

will very soon be taken at their word by others, particularly by those who believe themselves to be in possession of an all-embracing creed. Far from promoting reconciliation and tolerance, therefore, multiculturalism breeds contempt, hatred and violence.

No attempt, writes Dalrymple, is ever made to explain the West’s hitherto overwhelming superiority in many fields

except by reference to injustice, exploitation and colonial depredation. That the phenomenal and unique inventiveness of the West might be connected in some way with its long philosophical and cultural development, going back to ancient Greece, is a thought that is never for a moment entertained.

In the mental world of many young people in the West, and especially Muslims,

the difference in the wealth of nations is the result of plunder, not invention and innovation, to be redressed by more effective plunder in the opposite direction.

No attempts are made at school to induct young people into the tradition of Western civilisation,

for fear of offending their parents’ cultural sensibilities if they are, say, Muslim; though no more efforts in that direction are made on behalf of kafir youth. Both kafir and Muslims enjoy the fruit without ever knowing the tree. They are like the East End boys of old, who thought that milk came in bottles because they had never seen or heard of cows.

Not everyone’s favourite uncle

Grimble of the Gilberts

The people at the admirable Dalrymple resource The Skeptical Doctor have tracked down what may be the first published Dalrymple article (in the London magazine Spectator, 26th August 1983). The subject is Sir Arthur Grimble (1888-1956), who was a member of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands Administrative Service from 1914 to 1932 (Lands Commissioner, 1922-25; Resident Commissioner, 1926-32).

Hitch is not great

Lying not far beneath the surface of neo-atheist books, writes Dalrymple,

is the kind of historiography that many of us adopted in our hormone-disturbed adolescence, furious at the discovery that our parents sometimes told lies and violated their own precepts and rules. It can be summed up in Christopher Hitchens’s drumbeat in God Is Not Great: ‘Religion spoils everything.’ What? The St Matthew Passion? The cathedral of Chartres?

The emblematic religious person in the neo-atheist books

seems to be a Glasgow Airport bomber—a type unrepresentative of Muslims, let alone communicants of the poor old Church of England.

It is

surely not news, except to someone so ignorant that he probably wouldn’t be interested in these books in the first place, that religious conflict has often been murderous and that religious people have committed hideous atrocities.

So have secularists and atheists, and

though they have had less time to prove their mettle in this area, they have proved it amply. If religious belief is not synonymous with good behaviour, neither is absence of belief, to put it mildly.

In fact, says Dalrymple,

one can write the history of anything as a chronicle of crime and folly. Science and technology spoil everything: without trains and I.G. Farben, no Auschwitz; without transistor radios and mass-produced machetes, no Rwandan genocide.

Hitchens, Dalrymple notes, fell prey to the illusion that the striking of trivial attitudes was generosity enough for a lifetime. He

commodified his dissent, albeit in a niche market (though niches in America are larger than entire markets elsewhere).

While his brother has thoroughly repented, Hitchens retained

an emotional sympathy for his former views. In others, he would no doubt espy in this intellectual dishonesty and historical distortion; in himself, he sees truth to his own generous principles.

Hitchens’s review of a reissue of Deutscher’s three-volume biography of Trotsky, for example,

presents Trotsky principally as a gifted journalist and sage — a little like Hitchens himself, in fact — the force of whose ideas, or phrases, made the unjustly powerful tremble everywhere.

Why Hitchens’s unusual delicacy over this moral monster? Because, says Dalrymple, he

was himself once a follower of Trotsky and does not want to admit that he was, by implication, a supporter of mass murder, the ruthless suppression of opponents and the kind of tyranny that made all previous tyrannies appear bumbling and amateurish.

It was not that Hitchens wanted

to bring about such a tyranny, let alone live under one (anyone who did would hardly decamp to the US). Rather, he fell prey to the adolescent illusion that the striking of attitudes is generosity enough.

Gifted journalist and sage

Other people had only

walk-on parts

when Hitchens was striking attitudes, which was most of the time, and his hatred of religion

strikes me as adolescent. We most of us know by now that religious bigotry is a bad thing — though the record of hardline secularists in the 20th century is not exactly spotless — but only an adolescent sees in the religious history of mankind nothing but intolerance. Compulsory attendance at school chapel must have been a traumatic experience for Hitchens.

Gifted journalist and sage

Fashionable Leftism of the kind espoused by Hitchens is not, says Dalrymple, a case of Lenin’s ‘infantile disorder’ or like a childhood illness such as mumps, but rather

a chronic condition with lingering after-effects and flare-ups. Those who suffer it only very rarely get over it, Hitchens being a good example of one who did not. He could never bring himself to admit that he had for all his life admired and extolled a man who was at least as bad as Stalin, namely Trotsky; and his failure to renounce his choice of maître à penser became in time not just a youthful peccadillo of a clever adolescent who wanted to shock the adults but a symptom of a deep character flaw, a fundamental indifference to important truth.

Infantile political mania

To give way to political mania is, writes Dalrymple,

to ascribe to politicians more directive power over society than they possess, except under circumstances that, thankfully, are unusual in the West.

It is

to regress to childhood, a time when one believes in the omnipotence of one’s parents who, as adults, seem as if they can do whatever they like—a power to which the child believes he will accede merely by adding years to his age.

Dalrymple doubts, for instance, whether anyone other than an intellectual or, say, the London newspaper the Guardian

ever thought that America had changed utterly and unrecognisably overnight with the election of Mr Trump.

With regard to political apathy, Dalrymple says that it can

give rise to gusts of irrational hope, particularly among the young, who then invest their favored political figure with the power, or the aura of having the power, to remove the source of all their frustrations (real as these might be).

The rise of Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn,

who thrill the young with their preposterous and dangerous notions, is proof of this.

Whan the assassin is assassinated

Dalrymple is struck by the beautiful layout of L’Assassiné assassiné, the 1933 edition of a crime novel by Stanislas-André Steeman. (The novel was reissued in 1944 under the title Le Trajet de la foudre.)