Category Archives: Trump, Donald

Reductio ad Hitlerum

The comparisons of Donald Trump with Adolf Hitler are, writes Dalrymple,

coming thick and fast.

People are far from reluctant

to compare others with Hitler in a non-metaphorical way, or to espy full-blown Nazism on the faintest of analogies.

There is, Dalrymple notes,

a vast and extensive literature to help Americans (and others) to know ‘what it was like to be Jewish in the time of Hitler’, much of it of sufficient quality to supply the imagination; and if really we can ‘start to imagine’ it after ten days of Trump, this would be testimony either to our ignorance or to our lack of imagination, or both—the very ignorance or lack of imagination that allows us to make such outrageously far-fetched comparisons in the first place.

Delicacy of the Donald

Trump’s Arabian circumlocution

What the US president expressed to the Saudis, Dalrymple tells an interviewer (‘The Manchester suicide bombing and the minds of terrorists’, from 10:50), was

euphemistic, to say the least. And to be saying it in Saudi Arabia, which is much more closely concerned with terrorism in Western Europe than Iran has been, is slightly alarming.

Dalrymple is not persuaded that the Riyadh government can be regarded as separate and distinct from the Wahhabi fanatics.

Trump’s coarseness and vulgarity

Dalrymple is no admirer of Trump. Far from it. The taste of this casino magnate, he writes, is that of your average oil sheikh: lots of money but no style. Dalrymple differs with some of his US friends on this, arguing that Trump’s vulgarity and coarseness really do matter.

Ik ben geen bewonderaar van Donald Trump: ik kan me er niet toe brengen een bewonderaar te zijn van een casinobouwer wiens persoonlijke smaak doet denken aan dat van de gemiddelde oliesjeik. Veel geld, weinig stijl. Anders dan sommigen van mijn Amerikaanse vrienden die voor hem hebben gestemd, denk ik dat zijn grofheid en vulgariteit er wél toe doen. Ik denk ook dat het waarschijnlijk is dat het nettoresultaat van zijn politieke carrière de grip van politieke correctheid zal versterken op de harten en geesten van de jongeren. Laat dat nu net de groep zijn op wie die grip nu al meer dan sterk genoeg is.

They have learnt nothing and forgotten nothing

Thus, says Dalrymple, the partisans of political correctness confronted with the election of Donald Trump. Their response, he points out, is to

carry on as before, causing the same bitter reaction everywhere.

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Caterwauling from across the pond about Trump

Commenting on Dalrymple’s ambivalent attitude towards Donald Trump, a reader writes:

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screen-shot-2017-02-12-at-11-20-38But when we go north of the border, Dalrymple equivocates not at all. Justin Trudeau, he says, is a man born to Original Virtue, and just to look at pictures of his face, which radiates self-proclaimed goodness and Leftist smugness, is to experience disgust — the sensation you get when you’ve had too many marrons glacés: mild nausea accompanied by a general feeling of stickiness.

Maar het is niet president Duterte waar ik de grootste afkeuring voor heb op het wereldtoneel, zoals het in feite zou horen. Nee, het is iemand die in mijn ogen vele malen hatelijker is, namelijk Justin Trudeau (of moet ik zeggen Sint Justin Trudeau?), de premier van Canada. Ik moet al walgen enkel van naar foto’s te kijken van zijn ongelofelijk zelfvoldaan gezicht, dat straalt van de zelfverklaarde goedheid. Een goedheid die in schril contrast staat met de rest van de menselijkheid, zeker ten zuiden van de Canadese grens. Het veroorzaakt dezelfde sensatie als het eten van te veel marrons glacés: lichte misselijkheid vergezeld van een algemeen plakkerig gevoel.

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Shrill exhibitionist wailing over Trump’s victory

screen-shot-2017-02-11-at-23-21-26Dalrymple is no great admirer of Donald Trump, but he notes that the despair that greeted the US election result was as shrill and exhibitionist as was the euphoria that greeted the coming to power of Trump’s predecessor.

The best thing you can say about Trump, Dalrymple says, is that he has the courage of his bluntness.

Anyone, Dalrymple points out, who reads the transcript of Trump’s utterances enters mazes from which there are no obvious exits.

But for the world to despair — well, this is to accord Trump more importance than he deserves, Dalrymple argues. Those who call Trump’s election a catastrophe do the man too much honour.

De wanhoop die gepaard ging met de verkiezing van Donald Trump leek me even schel en exhibitionistisch als de euforie bij Obama. Ikzelf ben geen grote bewonderaar van President Trump. Het beste wat je over hem kan zeggen, is dat hij evenveel moed heeft als botheid. Wie de uitgeschreven versie leest van wat hij allemaal zegt, gaat binnen in doolhoven waar er geen duidelijke uitgangen zijn. Voor de hele wereld wanhopen omwille van hem, of tenminste doen alsof, is hem echter meer belang toekennen dan hij heeft of verdient. Al diegenen die zijn verkiezing een ongelofelijke catastrofe noemen, doen de man te veel eer aan.

Slashing corporate tax is perfectly rational

One cannot say, writes Dalrymple,

that the past few months in Western civilisation have provided a model of reasoned debate worthy of imitation. We have reached the stage—the nadir—at which, if Donald Trump were to issue a decree to the effect that two and two made four, his opponents would shriek that they didn’t, they made five.

Of course Trump, says Dalrymple, is not

exactly blameless. When it comes to argumentation, he is no Socrates.

However, Trump’s proposal to cut tax on corporate profits to 15% from 35% is, Dalrymple notes,

perfectly rational. 15% of a lot is more than 100% of nothing.

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How Trump lets the side down

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Can you forgive him?

This compulsion to keep election pledges

The leader of the free world, Dalrymple notes,

seems to be doing what is unforgivable in a democratic politician, for it will make life difficult for all the others who come after him: he is keeping, or trying to keep, his election promises.

Could anything, asks Dalrymple,

better prove his complete lack of probity?

Trump’s adolescent reply to Streep’s drivel

screen-shot-2017-01-15-at-21-43-25It was only to be expected, writes Dalrymple, that Meryl Streep

should use the Golden Globes to prove her virtue by criticising the president-elect. Donald Trump is a target whom it is almost impossible to miss, and insofar as everyone needs an object of disdain and reprobation, he performs a valuable public service. Even quite bad people can, with some justification, feel morally superior to him in some respect or other.

Streep’s attack, Dalrymple notes,

was neither unexpected nor original.

If she had

come out in favour of Mr Trump’s Mexican wall, and threatened Mexico with war if it did not pay for it, her speech would have been marginally more noteworthy.

As it was, Trump’s response

was the more interesting. He seems to have a rhinoceros hide and a very thin skin at the same time.

Trump replied that Streep was overrated, presumably as an actress. This, says Dalrymple,

was a very adolescent reply. I know nothing of Ms Streep as a person, whether she is good or bad or something in between (as most of us are), and I am not interested; but she is a very good actress, and this would be so even if she were a Nazi, a Communist, a flat-earther, a vegetarian, a spiritualist, a sadomasochist, or a child molester. Her acting ability has nothing to do with the justification of her opinion (or lack of it).

For the president-elect to react

like a child in a playground quarrel is alarming. Someone should take his mobile phone from him. If there is one person in the world who does not have the right of spontaneous free public expression, it is the president of the United States.

Postcards from Costa Mesa

screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-17-15-11Political correctness

Olga Pérez Stable Cox is professor of human sexuality at Orange Coast College, Costa Mesa. She recently delivered herself of the view, in the course of a lecture at the college, that the election of Donald Trump, whom she described as a ‘white supremacist’, was ‘an act of terrorism’. Moreover, she said, ‘we have been assaulted’.

Ms Cox should not have spoken in this way, Dalrymple contends.

As a characterisation of events in America it is so inaccurate or imprecise, at the same time so feeble and inflammatory, that it bespeaks either an inability to control herself or a lack of intellect (or both), neither of them admirable qualities in a university lecturer.

The lecture theatre, he says, is no place for teachers to express their raw political opinions to young people who are dependent upon them for good marks.

screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-17-12-26A North Korea of the soul

On the other hand, says Dalrymple,

the student who recorded and spread her comments widely was also acting in a destructive fashion, perhaps without fully realising it. If everything we say or do can be recorded and published without our consent, we shall soon be living in a North Korea of the soul. No conversation will be truly private, no group of people will be trusted not to contain its digital Judas. The only safety will be in silence.

screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-17-09-56How to parry

The proper response to political correctness, Dalrymple argues,

is not unbridled insult, or vituperation that is supposedly equal and opposite to whatever it is that political correctness asserts. It is resort, incessant if necessary, to reason, which may employ irony and mockery but not crudity.

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