Category Archives: tolerance

The opinion that dare not speak its name

Freedom is slavery

Diversity is uniformity

Tolerance is conformity

In today’s America, writes Dalrymple, you can have any opinion you like as long as it is a socially liberal one. Otherwise you’ll find yourself in the dustbin of history.

The view, for example, that homosexuals should not be permitted to conduct ceremonies that ape the institution of marriage

is now so outré, so utterly beyond the pale, that nobody is allowed to espouse it in public and keep his job.

Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live

If you enunciate such a view, you will be treated as if you had

pronounced himself in favour of lynching or slavery. No decent person can hold such an opinion.

The magazine Forbes judges that if you give voice to such thoughtcrime, you may be able to save your job, but only if you issue a recantation and an apology. Forbes thus, Dalrymple notes,

is the place at which billionaire capitalism meets the Maoist Cultural Revolution.

Deny for a second that legalisation of homosexual marriage is fully in the interests of natural justice, humanity and civilisation, and you will be, Forbes believes, ‘on the wrong side of history’. In other words, homosexual marriage

is not so much a legislative choice as an institution whose development was teleologically immanent in the whole of human history. It is what the Second World War was all about, though the soldiers who fought in it didn’t realise it.

Dustbin of history

Islam compels, or it is nothing

Mohammedans, writes Dalrymple,

have seen what happened to Christianity as soon as its ability to enforce was lost. They rightly suspect that the same will happen to Mohammedanism if it is no longer able to coerce: it will become intellectually meaningless. It will be reduced to a mortal personal belief, such as the belief in the healing power of crystals or the determining influence of the planetary position.

It is therefore nonsense to say, as the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, says, that we all share the values ​​of tolerance. Indeed, says Dalrymple,

if we really shared those values, the problem we face would not have arisen.

Repression carried out in the name of tolerance

screen-shot-2017-01-04-at-18-02-08Dalrymple points out that the judge in the Geert Wilders case

had to maintain that the Moroccans were a race, because the law does not recognise nationality or national origin as grounds for legal protection from insult and critical comment. This gave rise to a certain amount of hilarity. If nationality were to be confounded with race, Dutch law would henceforth have to recognize a Belgian race, a Swiss race, etc.

The idea, writes Dalrymple,

that there are certain groups in need of special protection from offence is incoherent and condescending, partaking of the qualities that the idea is supposed to be eliminating from the wicked human mind. The number of human groups that have, or could be, subjected to humiliation, discrimination, or worse is almost infinite. Persecution on economic grounds, for example, has been at least as frequent as persecution on racial grounds. To select a few groups for special protection is irreducibly discriminatory. It is a little like protecting certain species from the ravages of hunters because they are threatened with extinction and unlike other species are unable to protect themselves by fecundity, say, or by camouflage.

A couple of members of the Belgian race

A couple of members of the Belgian race

On the one hand, when Wilders

asks a crowd whether it wants more or fewer Moroccans in the Netherlands, I try to put myself in the position of a Moroccan, or Dutch citizen of Moroccan descent, and imagine what it is like to be regarded by a popular politician, almost ex officio, as a nuisance or a plague, even though all I want to do is to fit in with the society around me. It takes little imagination to understand how uncomfortable it would be.

On the other hand,

it would be incumbent upon me as an immigrant or descendent of an immigrant to try to understand why the majority population might not want their society to be fundamentally altered by immigration and why they might be in favour of a limitation of numbers of immigrants. In fact, it is by no means uncommon for members of immigrant groups themselves to wish such a limitation, for fear of provoking a backlash.

Tact, and imaginative sympathy for others, cannot, says Dalrymple,

be legislated. The clumsy attempt to decree tolerance has inflamed the opposite.

Islam: global force for a new totalitarianism

Emblem of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood

Emblem of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood

Dalrymple wonders whether Islam is

an intrinsically totalitarian religion.

It is worth remembering, he says,

how few of us gave any attention to it as a serious political force only twenty years ago.

He suspects that

the downfall of the Soviet Union and the consequent destruction of the possibility of socialistic nationalism as a means for poor or desperate countries (poverty and desperation not being the same thing) to escape their predicament, stimulated the rise of Islam to the position of latest utopian pretender.

There had been Islamists before the downfall of the Soviet Union,

but they offered only one bogus solution among other bogus solutions. After the downfall, Islam had the field to itself, apart from liberal democracy, which is inherently messy and unsatisfying for the lazy and impatient.

Screen Shot 2016-07-29 at 08.03.02Islamism, Dalrymple points out,

is a real threat, made far worse by the cowardly response to it by most Western governments, including that of the United States.

Take the Danish cartoon crisis, which, Dalrymple notes, was highly

significant for our civilisation and way of life in the long run. There the British and American governments failed the test miserably; de facto, they gave aid and succour to the Islamists.

As for the neo-atheists, they are right to see the threat of theocracy in Islamism, but

in attacking all religion, they are like the French government which banned not only the wearing of the headscarf in schools, but the wearing of all religious insignia, despite the fact that wearing a Star of David or a crucifix has and had a completely different social signification from wearing a headscarf. In the name of non-discrimination, the French government failed to discriminate properly: and proper discrimination is practically the whole business of life. If there were large numbers of Christians or Jews who were in favour of establishing a theocracy in France, who had a recent record of terrorism, and who terrorised each other into the wearing of crucifixes and Stars of David, then the banning of those insignia would have been justified too.

Screen Shot 2016-07-29 at 08.06.20The wearing of the headscarf should be permitted again

when Islam has become merely one personal confession among others, without the political significance that it has now.

In attacking all religion so indiscriminately, the atheist authors are

strengthening the hand of the Islamists. In arguing that for parents to bring up a child in any religious tradition, even the mildest of Anglicanism, is to abuse a child, with the corollary that the law should forbid it, they are giving ammunition to the Islamists, who will be able with justice to say to their fellow-religionists, ‘See, it is all or nothing. If you give the secularists an inch, they will take a mile. No compromise with secularism is possible, therefore; cleave unto us.’

To suggest

that all forms of religion are equal, that they are all murderous and dangerous, is not to serve the cause of freedom and tolerance. It is to play into the hands of the very people we should most detest; it is to hand them the rhetorical tools with which they can tell the gullible that our freedoms are not genuine and that our tolerance is a masquerade. It is to do what I should previously have thought was impossible, namely in this respect to put them in the right.

Dalrymple on…

Screen Shot 2016-04-15 at 18.02.43♦ his reportage
I was just describing what I saw. I probably made it less terrible. I saw almost straight away that raw want was not the explanation.

♦ moral relativism
It has disastrous effects on those worst off, those least able to withstand the practical results of moral anarchy.

♦ loss of self-control
It leaves people trapped in cheerless self-pitying hedonism and the brutality of the dependency culture.

♦ the British
Now they are all the Lumpenproletariat.

♦ middle-class emulation of the barbarian
When you imitate something, the role becomes the reality.

♦ Jimmy Savile
The start of an evangelical vulgarisation that has proved unstoppable.

♦ English downward cultural aspiration
Among the causes:
Loss of confidence of the middle class (which is quite easy to enter, unlike France which is far more snobbish).
⇒ Loss of British power and influence in the world. It’s catastrophic when that happens.
In France, politicians pretend to be more cultured than they are; in Britain it’s the opposite.

♦ exports of UK vulgarity
Why anyone finds British culture attractive I can’t imagine.

♦ British urban residents
Barbarians camped out in the ruins of an older, superior civilisation they don’t understand.

♦ litter
You don’t have to wait 3,000 years for litter to become archæology before it tells you something. You can track diet, habits, attitudes, how people see the world. It’s a complete loss of interest in the public space.

♦ his character
People have great difficulty marking themselves out as individuals. I didn’t, but I’m odd. From an early age I was contrary. Not in any aggressive or egotistical way. But I was always quite happy that I knew best. It’s not true, of course, but I never let it destroy the illusion.

♦ the worst fate
To be an intelligent and sensitive person born into the British underclass. The social pressure on you to fail is enormous. I remember a girl who wanted to study French but ‘they said I was stupid because I was clever’. Can you imagine growing up in that environment?

♦ British education
A modern miracle. People come out of school knowing less than when they went in.

♦ England’s cultural level
Extremely low, at least on a mass scale. The British are so degraded culturally they can’t even answer the telephone properly.

♦ Britain’s ‘service economy without the service’
The English can’t tell the difference between service and servitude, which is a terrible thing in a service economy.

♦ emotional constipation
The British used to be known for it. Now it’s emotional incontinence.

♦ why he became a psychiatrist
The gossip.

♦ disappointment
The permanent condition of mankind. Life would be intolerable without it. We would all be so smug.

♦ tolerance
A society that tolerates everything is rather bad. Shouting, screaming, intimidation. We are prepared to tolerate public vomiting, but if you use the term ‘actress’, you are a sexist. A very well-educated lady told me public vomiting is all right: ‘They can clear it up.’ This is how the élite thinks. They are so anxious not to seem narrow-minded or bigoted, or of being ‘judgmental’.

Dread of the Muslims

Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 07.37.29The West is running scared of the Mohammedans

Muslims know that Europe is running scared of them. They feel no gratitude whatsoever for the tolerance they may encounter in, for example, Britain, says Dalrymple, but rather

contempt for the spinelessness and decadence of a country whose tolerance can so easily be turned against it, and whose liberties might without difficulty be used to propagate and eventually impose tyranny.

Their contempt is not lessened by the knowledge that British society

does not have the will to impose upon them some of its own laws, notably those with regard to the education of their children.

Oppression of women

Dalrymple writes:

I have heard in my medical practice from innumerable young Muslim women that they were removed from school by their parents at an early age, several years before the law allowed, but I have yet to hear of even a single case in which a school or the school inspectors took effective action to return such a child to the school. I concede that the white girls who remain in the schools from which the Muslim parents illegally withdraw their daughters learn little after a certain age except how to be a lumpen slut, of the kind with which this country is so exceedingly well endowed: but the law is the law, and the subsequent fate of so many Muslim daughters is far from enviable.

Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 07.34.21Needless to say, Muslim men in Europe have it much easier than their womenfolk. A man, Dalrymple points out, can

have an arranged marriage to a woman he would not have selected for himself (but who is nonetheless useful to him as a provider of domestic comfort), and lead a happy life elsewhere; a life that often includes the possession of a concubine or two, more often than not of the lumpen white-slut class. It will not come as a surprise to learn that he treats his concubine or concubines with contempt and often violence, and the fact that they are willing to put up with it confirms him in his opinion of the decadence of the West.

Extraterritorial rights

You might have thought

that the girls who have been subjected to this culture that is now so much at variance with our own would have received loud, consistent and vociferous support from feminists. On the contrary, the feminists are the dog that did not bark, because feminism has appealed to the same kind of mind as multiculturalism has appealed to. And the only way the two isms can be held in the mind simultaneously is to ignore actual real-life evidence of their incompatibility.

Dalrymple explains that the fact that no one has consistently raised a voice in defence of these girls

has played its part in persuading certain Muslims that they are extraterritorial. They know that when the government talks of women’s rights, they — the Muslims — are excluded from its rhetoric, because it would take conviction and guts to include them. They draw the conclusion that our society is running scared of them.

1Multiculturalism is not couscous; it is the stoning of adulterers

Muslims have become all too aware that Western society is, says Dalrymple,

but a rotting fruit waiting to fall from the tree.

Loosing off — from a long way away — a few missiles at, for instance, Syria

will not have changed their impression; rather, it will have confirmed it, and their opinion of the West’s cowardice.

Every multiculturalist, says Dalrymple,

believes — whether he knows it or not — that it is right to force young girls into marriages they don’t want, to deprive them of the schooling and careers that they do want, to regard them as prostitutes if they leave their abusive husbands, and to punish, even to kill, those who cross cultural and religious boundaries. As an Italian commentator once put it, multiculturalism is not couscous; it is the stoning of adulterers.

Islam has nothing to say to the modern world

Screen Shot 2015-11-15 at 14.25.23For the second time in living memory, writes Dalrymple,

we find ourselves obliged by historical circumstances to examine doctrinal philosophies that, from the abstract intellectual point of view, are not worth examining. They belong, rather, to the history of human folly and credulity: which is itself, of course, an inexhaustibly interesting and important subject.

Screen Shot 2015-11-15 at 14.43.06The first was Marxism; the second Islamism. Which of us, Dalrymple asks,

would have guessed thirty years ago that an inflamed and inflammatory Islamic doctrine would soon replace Marxism as the greatest challenger to liberal democracy? The vacuum left by the collapse of one totalitarian doctrine is soon filled by another.

Screen Shot 2015-11-15 at 14.44.55Dalrymple hopes that Islamism

will pass from the world stage as quickly as it arrived on it. In the meantime, however, it can cause a great deal of havoc, and will not disappear spontaneously, without opposition, much of which must be conducted on the intellectual plane.

Yet

Western intellectuals have failed to examine Islam and its founder in the same light as they would examine any other religious doctrine of comparable importance.

Dalrymple believes that all forms of Islam are

Screen Shot 2015-11-15 at 14.47.53very vulnerable in the modern world to rational criticism, which is why the Islamists are so ferocious in trying to suppress such criticism. They have instinctively understood that Islam itself, while strong, is exceedingly brittle, as communism once was. They understand that, at the present time in human history, it is all or nothing. They are thus more clear-sighted than moderate Moslems.

The problem with Islam may be rooted

Image (latterly effaced) of Mohammed on frieze, Birch Memorial Clocktower (1917), Ipoh, Perak

Image (latterly effaced) of Mohammed on frieze, Birch Memorial Clocktower (1917), Ipoh, Perak

in its doctrines, its history and its founder.

Mohammed

connived at armed robbery, mass murder and the abduction of women. Of course, autres temps, autres mœurs, and it may be that, on the whole, he sometimes behaved better than his peers.

He was

a political genius: he understood what motivated men, and he developed a system of belief and practice, of social pressure and ideological terror, that meant that Islamisation once established was irreversible, at least until the present day. Leonid Brezhnev’s doctrine was that a country, once communist, could not become non-communist; how puny, historically, was the communist achievement beside that of Islam!

Part of private quarters (1578) of Sultan Murad III

Part of private quarters (1578) of Sultan Murad III

Islamic civilisation has many attractive qualities . At least at its summit, the Ottoman civilisation was

exquisite, and in the decorative arts was Western Europe’s superior for centuries.

But the quality of a civilisation

does not establish the truth of the doctrines current in it, nor the suitability of those doctrines for living in the modern world.

Judged by the abysmal standards of fifteenth century Europe, Islam

looks quite tolerant; but judged from the modern, post-Enlightenment perspective, it looks primitive.

Its attitude towards polytheists and atheists is

doctrinally abominable.

Islam

Screen Shot 2015-11-15 at 14.46.00has nothing whatever to say to the modern world, and as yet has no doctrinal means of dealing constructively with the inevitable diversity of human religion and philosophy, beyond the violent imposition of uniformity or second-class citizenship.

Can Moslems of moderate temperament find some way of reconciling their faith with the exigencies of the modern world?

The problem is that this reconciliation cannot be a mere modus vivendi; it has to be intellectually coherent and satisfying to last. Personally, I am not optimistic. Islamism is a last gasp, not a renaissance, of the religion. But last gasps can last a surprisingly long time.

Evil stupidity of Islamism

A puerile and barbaric canon served by malevolent cunning

One of the most sinister effects of the efforts of Islamist terrorists is that

they have undermined trust. Those under investigation turn out not to be cranks or marginals but people who are well-integrated into society, superficially at least, or who have good prospects. They are not the ignorant and uneducated.

The perpetrators are not of one ethnic or national group only. And they do not kill

because of personal grievance but because they have allowed themselves to be gripped by a stupid ideology.

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 09.05.01This means

no one can ever be quite sure whether a Muslim who appears polite and accommodating is not contemplating mass murder. Deceit is one of the terrorists’ deadliest weapons.

Why it is folly to ignore sociological reality

British society

could get by perfectly well without the contribution even of moderate Muslims. The only thing we really want from Muslims is their oil money for bank deposits, to prop up London property prices and to sustain the luxury market; their cheap labor that we imported in the 1960s in a vain effort to bolster the dying textile industry, which could not find local labour, is now redundant.

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 09.11.42In other words,

one of the achievements of the bombers and would-be bombers is to make discrimination against most Muslims who wish to enter Britain a perfectly rational policy.

The problem

causes philosophical discomfort to everyone who believes in a tolerant society. On the one hand we believe every individual should be judged on his merits; on the other, we know it would be absurd and dangerous to pretend that the threat of terrorism comes from sections of the population equally.

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 09.03.06History is full of examples

of what happens when governments and peoples ascribe undesirable traits to minorities, and no decent person would wish to participate in the crimes to which this ascription can give rise; yet it would be folly to ignore sociological reality.

(2007)

Edenic Vienna

Screen Shot 2015-04-07 at 07.52.24Dalrymple writes that in The World of Yesterday, Zweig describes

the happiness of living in a cultivated and tolerant cosmopolitan society in which politics were secondary, any wars (like government itself) were small, limited, distant, and unimportant, personal freedom reached its apogee, and everything had the appearance — delusory, of course — of solidity and permanence. People felt they could plan for the future, because money would always retain its value and interest rates would never change. The joy of material progress, evident year after year, was unclouded by the realisation that man remained a wolf to man.

The author of 'Amok' and 'Mary, Queen of Scotland and the Isles'

The author of ‘Amok’

Hapsburg Vienna, in Zweig’s view,

was deeply civilised because it was politically and militarily impotent.

However, Zweig

evaded the question of how to protect the peaceful sheep from the ravening wolves.

In Zweig’s Vienna,

Zweig père

Zweig père

informal rules and conventions governed people’s lives far more deeply than laws or rights conferred by legislators. He recounts, for example, that his father, though a multimillionaire mill owner easily able to afford it, refused to dine at the Hotel Sacher, since it was the traditional haunt of the Empire’s upper aristocracy. He would have felt it tactless to obtrude where he was not really wanted; and (an almost inconceivable attitude today) he felt no bitterness at not being wanted. His actual freedoms were more than enough for his appetites.

Hotel Sacher

Hotel Sacher

Conservator of civilisation

Zweig in 1900

Zweig in 1900

The secondhand book dealer’s vital contribution

Dalrymple writes that in Buchmendel (1929), Stefan Zweig

indicates symbolically, and with great force, the destruction of cosmopolitan tolerance by the nationalist madness of the First World War in the fate of a single person.

Buchmendel

is a Jewish peddler of antiquarian books in Vienna. For many years before the outbreak of the war, he carried out his business in a Viennese café. Buchmendel lives for books; he has no other life. He is astonishingly learned, in the offbeat way of secondhand book dealers; every scholar in Vienna (the Vienna, recall, of Brahms, Freud, and Breuer, of Mahler and Klimt, of Schnitzler, Rilke, and Hofmannsthal) consults him on bibliographical matters.

Screen Shot 2015-04-06 at 22.13.23Buchmendel is otherworldly.

His wants are few, his interest in money minimal. The café owner is happy to have as a customer a man consulted by so many eminent men, even though he consumes little and occupies a table all day. The café owner understands, as does everyone else, that Buchmendel is a contributor to, because he is a conservator of, civilisation, and being a civilised man himself, he is honored to welcome him.

But the war supervenes.

Buchmendel is arrested, because he has written to both London and Paris, asking why he has not received copies of bibliographical reviews. The military censors assume that this correspondence is a code for espionage: they can’t conceive that a man could concern himself with bibliography at such a time. The  authorities discover that Buchmendel, born in Russian Galicia, is not even an Austrian citizen. Interned in a camp for enemy aliens, he waits two years before the authorities realise that he is only what he seems, a book peddler.

Screen Shot 2015-04-06 at 22.13.04On his release, Vienna has changed.

No longer the centre of an empire, it has become the impoverished capital of a monoglot rump state. Buchmendel’s café has changed hands; the new owner does not understand or welcome Buchmendel and ejects him. Buchmendel’s life has fallen apart, as has the civilisation to which he was a valuable contributor; now homeless, he soon dies of pneumonia.

Zweig makes it clear

that though Buchmendel was eccentric and his life one-dimensional, even stunted, he could offer his unique contribution to Viennese civilisation because no one cared about his nationality. His work and knowledge were vastly more important to his cosmopolitan customers than his membership in a collectivity.

Screen Shot 2015-04-06 at 22.13.54No man was more sensitive than Zweig

to the destructive effects upon individual liberty of the demands of large or strident collectivities. He would have viewed with horror the cacophony of monomanias — sexual, racial, social, egalitarian — that marks the intellectual life of our societies, each monomaniac demanding legislative restriction on the freedom of others in the name of a supposed greater, collective good. His work was a prolonged (though muted and polite) protest at the balkanisation of our minds and sympathies.

Screen Shot 2015-04-06 at 22.14.50