Category Archives: Theodore Dalrymple

Dalrymple interviewed by Peter Whittle

On sluts

Sluts, Dalrymple points out,

will go with anybody.

A woman of dirty, slovenly, or untidy habits or appearance; a foul slattern. ‘I have noted often those dames which are so curious in their attire, to be very sluts in their houses’; ‘Women are all day a-dressing to pleasure other men abroad, and go like sluts at home.’

‘Nor was she a woman of any beauty, but a nasty slut’; ‘She’s ugly, she’s old, a slut, a scold’; ‘For sluts whose husbands died’; ‘She looked the part of a ragged, slatternly, dirty slut’; ‘I lived with him for nearly six months and acted the part of cook, slut, butler, page, footman and valet de chambre.’

A woman of low or loose character, a bold or impudent girl, a hussy, a jade. ‘Come forth, thou sloven! Come forth, thou slut’; ‘A peevish drunken flirt, a waspish choleric slut’; ‘These lords have a power of wealth indeed, yet, as I’ve heard say, they give it all to their sluts and their trulls’; ‘Does that bold-faced slut intend to take her warning, or does she not?’

A sure way to revive German nationalism

Oddly enough, the Germans don’t seem keen to furnish the bazooka

Impose redistributive loans on Berlin for Keynesian purposes!

Dalrymple observes that negative-yielding bonds, representing a quarter of debt issued, are

hardly a resounding vote of confidence in the future. They are like an umbrella to protect us from an approaching monsoon.

He points out that economic gloom

is growing in Europe, where growth remains low and youth unemployment in many countries is high.

Yet-lower interest rates, penalising savers,

will not revive EU countries’ economies. Having lost control of their currencies as a result of monetary union, these countries cannot apply a fiscal stimulus.

Lagarde thinks she has the answer

We hear calls, echoed recently by Christine Lagarde, for a large European budget that can apply a stimulus to various countries as necessary. Such a budget, Dalrymple explains,

is seen by some as an antidote to the growth of populist nationalism in Europe, supposedly the consequence of the continent’s economic woes. An editorial in the Guardian, daily bible of the bien-pensants of much of the English-speaking world, was headed: The nationalism that taps into people’s angst and dislocation can be effectively challenged with a bazooka of a eurozone budget. In other words, if only governments of countries in which populism—that is to say, the popularity of one’s opponents—spent enough money to revive their economies, the people would return to their senses and re-enter the social-democratic fold that has served Europe so well—even if it led to the present trouble.

Where will the firepower of the proposed bazooka come from?

There can be only one answer under the present dispensation: from Germany. Oddly enough, the Germans don’t seem keen to furnish the bazooka. They have had some recent experience of large-scale lending, and it was not altogether happy in its results, economic or political.

A genuinely closer political union (the supposed aim of the European Union, but which Europeans have repeatedly said they do not want) might impose redistributive loans on Germany for Keynesian purposes—other countries in the EU outvoting Berlin.

It’s not easy to imagine the Germans accepting this. There could hardly be a better way to revive German nationalism, one of the eventualities that is the target of the proposed bazooka to destroy.

The situation would be even more dangerous because Germany

has achieved its pre-eminent economic position, in part, by not allowing a commensurate increase in the standard of living of its people, who may not be pleased to play the role assigned them by the EU. Polls already suggest that this is so.

Brooklyn Mephisto

Dalrymple notes that Jeffrey Epstein’s taste for orgies was

only partially sexual in origin. A man in his situation could have paid for any amount of sex, of any kind, in private. What he really enjoyed was corrupting others—and not just others, but prominent and powerful others. He enjoyed playing Mephistopheles, apart from any sexual gratification he may have had on the way.

Dalrymple explains that Epstein

was born into a modest family and pursued no glorious academic career. He was of high intelligence and very ambitious. One might have thought that his achievement of riches (by whatever means accumulated) would have assuaged feelings of inferiority that he felt vis-à-vis those who had succeeded via family connection or the conventional academic route. But great success from humble beginnings does not always, or perhaps even generally, extinguish the flames of resentment, but rather fans them.

It is a relief and joy

to prove that the great ones whose ranks the parvenu has joined are no better than he, that underneath their polished exterior and their inherited or academic distinction is still a person of crude and basic appetites. To implicate them in his depravity gives him a certain power over them: the power of equal standing. Never again will they be able to consider themselves his superior. His apparent generosity towards them is the establishment of the relationship of a blackmailer to his victim.

Dalrymple argues that Epstein’s wish to bring people down to his level, the better to have some hold over them and feel at least their equal, was

an extreme manifestation of a commonplace egalitarian impulse to bring everyone down to one’s own level, if not lower. The pleasure we take in a debunking biography, irrespective of the greatness of the subject’s achievements, is a relatively harmless satisfaction of this impulse, though debunking can become an addiction to the point that we cease to admire any achievement. There is much greater pleasure in pulling people down than in raising them up, besides being something much easier to do. This is why egalitarians hate the privileged much more than they love the unprivileged.

That Epstein seemed to have been able with such ease to befriend and probably corrupt so many of an élite

will have the effect of casting further suspicion on the very notion of an élite. But ye have the élite always with you. There is an élite among anti-élitists.

Any policy you want, so long as it is mine

The vision of the anointed

Dalrymple writes that Britain’s Liberal Democrat leader, Jo Swinson, might very well

emerge with the most Parliament members and go into coalition with the Scots nationalists, who would impose as a condition of their adhesion a second referendum on Scottish independence.

He points out that if the nationalists were to win such a referendum,

there would be no third.

As for Brexit, Swinson

has made it plain that she would respect the result of a second referendum only if it went in favour of remaining. There has probably never been a clearer expression of what Thomas Sowell calls ‘the vision of the anointed‘ — the supposition that one’s views are so beyond moral dispute that anyone with the temerity to dispute them must be a moral Neanderthal.

Dalrymple notes that Swinson’s statement, that she would do whatever it took to prevent Brexit, including ride roughshod over public opinion,

shows how Europeanised she is. She is young and probably representative of the educated persons of her class and generation, to say nothing of those yet younger. They apparently have no objection to authoritarian rule, provided it is their own.

All-you-can-eat Oriental buffet in Nîmes

Finding himself in the Occitanian city, Dalrymple pays a visit to the Ville active, i.e. the quarter that has been desecrated by modern French architects (whom the doctor-writer has described elsewhere as the worst in the world). He writes:

There is the Restaurant asiatique (note the absence of any reference to any particular part of Asia), a giant canteen in a warehouse atmosphere, where people who have summoned up the energy to drive to its car park eat as much of the food — mostly fried several days before — as they like or are able to.

Arguably the most vacuous large monument of them all

Britishers are the worst architects in the world today, and Dalrymple reports sadly that one of them, Ian Ritchie, creator of the grotesque Spire of Dublin, believes Notre Dame’s spire should be ‘a refracting, super-slender reflecting crystal to heaven’, a glass version of his Irish monument. God help the French.

The world’s worst architect

Dalrymple explains that among Norman Foster‘s creations is

the bulbous London skyscraper known without affection by Londoners as the Gherkin.

Foster is also the designer of

a new tower that resembles a Brobdingnagian spring onion stuck upside down in the ground.

Foster has said that the spire of Notre Dame should be ‘a work of art about light’. Dalrymple comments:

This papalistic pronouncement is typical of architectural newspeak that permits architects to do what they please, irrespective of context. A church spire is, or ought to be, a monument to the glory of God, not to that of an architect, and rebuilding Notre-Dame should not be taken as an opportunity to show off.

Thunberg’s face oozes sanctimony almost as a secretion

This Swedish girl is odious

Dalrymple writes:

When few lived long, old age was respected.

But

now that almost everyone seems to go on for ever and, thanks to a declining birthrate, youth is a rare commodity, it is the young who are looked up to and accorded the kind of reverence African tribes once accorded their elders.

This is why so much attention is paid to

that odious Swedish girl, who makes Mr Podsnap in Our Mutual Friend seem about as self-doubting as Hamlet, and whose face oozes sanctimony almost as a secretion.

Dalrymple counsels:

She needs to be sent to her room and told not to come down before breakfast.

Dalrymple notes that

the cult of youth is, at heart, a very sad one. It implies that the peak of life is reached early and thenceforward it is downhill all the way.

Youth: a narrative

Dalrymple writes that

contrary to what is frequently supposed (as if no one were capable of serious or sincere reflection on his own past, or had forgotten what it was to be young), youth is not idealistic but profoundly egotistical. Even where it is hedonistic, it is censorious – towards all those who are not hedonistic. Its hedonism is not that of spontaneous enjoyment but that of putting two fingers up to Mum and Dad.

Youth

  • never ceases to think of itself even as it is claiming to agitate for the betterment of the world.
  • wants to save the planet but forgets to pick up the litter when it leaves, as (for example) attendance at the Glastonbury Festival would soon convince anyone.
  • is an unavoidable condition that we all have to go through, as diseases such as measles and whooping cough once were. Dalrymple doubts that there will ever be an immunisation against it, and perhaps it is better that this is so (one of the explanations for the rise of allergic conditions is that children grow up in too clean an environment, with not enough immunological challenges).

Dalrymple affirms that

there is no reason to make adolescence our cynosure or youth the object of a cult.