Category Archives: victims

W.E. Henley’s toxic stoicism

W.E. Henley: emotional constipation

Dalrymple draws attention to the distressing mental disorder exhibited in ‘Invictus’ (1875):

Out of the night that covers me
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance,
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbow’d.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

He notes that the deranged ‘fortitude’ and emotional repression that the poem betrays are deeply problematic, being

part of what is known, including by the American Psychological Association, as toxic masculinity.

‘Fortitude’ is treason to the self

Dalrymple says that

if only Henley had been true to himself, he wouldn’t have bothered with all that captain-of-my-soul stuff.

Instead he would have gone into

  • counselling
  • cognitive behavioural therapy
  • psychotherapy

Courses of treatment of this kind, which might usefully have been accompanied by colectomy, frontal leucotomy, Metrazol-induced convulsion therapy, laxative therapy, and insulin coma therapy (Insulinschockbehandlung),

would really have sorted him out and rid him of the poisonous notion that misfortune was something to be overcome by making the best of things.

Dalrymple points out that in advertising his neurosis by producing verse of such hysterical irrationality, Henley

set a very bad example, for not everyone can overcome misfortune as did he. By becoming famous, by achieving a great deal despite pain and illness all his life, he inhibited myriad others from admitting their vulnerability and victimhood, thereby reinforcing toxic masculinity.

Rather,

it was Henley’s duty to have been angry and resentful at his fate, thereby giving work to psychologists and psychotherapists. If everyone went round being the captain of his soul, what would there be for psychologists to do? They would need counselling about their loss of income.

Henley lived in Woking in the latter part of his life, though he also maintained a flat in this Battersea block

St John the Baptist Churchyard, Cockayne Hatley, Bedfordshire

The Guardian’s four-legs-good, two-legs-bad worldview

The newspaper’s deafening silence on South Africa

Dalrymple writes that when the South African parliament passed a motion, by 241 votes to 83, to change the nation’s constitution to allow white-owned land to be expropriated without compensation, the Guardian

was coy about reporting it. Even now, it has not mentioned the measure on its website, except indirectly.

Dalrymple asks:

Why the silence on this important development? Perhaps because it is an embarrassment to the paper’s view of the world. How is one to report the near-genocidal and famine-promoting wishes of people whose rôle in life for so many years has been that of victims of injustice?

Fashionable psychological kitsch

Harry: unnecessary and tasteless confessions

The psychobabbling British prince, writes Dalrymple, ought to be

firmly reprehended for his emotional incontinence and exhibitionism.

All kinds of

princely personages—footballers, rock stars, actors, actresses, and the like—display their inner turmoil. They parade it as beggars in some countries display their amputated stumps. Perhaps this is to head off the envy that otherwise might attach to them. See, they seem to be saying, ‘We too suffer, despite our wealth, privilege, and fairy-tale lives, which you falsely imagine to be enviable and without blemish.’

Sufferers and victims are turned into

heroes merely on account of their suffering or victimisation, so that those celebrities who confess to misery, drug addiction, alcoholism, etc., are even more to be adulated than they already were.

A wealth of absurdity in one small booklet

screen-shot-2017-02-04-at-14-00-13At the British Medical Association (the physicians’ labour union), certain persons whom Dalrymple describes as being among

the little popes of political correctness

have, he says, consigned the term cleaning ladies to

the semantic equivalent of the Index Librorum Prohibitorum.

screen-shot-2017-02-04-at-14-01-33However, he notes that

even if they were henceforth to be called cleaning persons rather than cleaning ladies, I doubt that the BMA would press for equal wages with them. All persons are equal, but some persons are more equal than others.

In the BMA pamphlet A guide to effective communication: inclusive language in the workplace, doctors are instructed not to use the expression expectant mothers but rather pregnant people. Dalrymple comments:

The BMA now lives, or wants to live, in a world in which taking offence is its own justification: the offended, or yet-to-be offended, have taken over from the victims as the world’s heroes.

screen-shot-2017-02-04-at-14-03-04

‘The British Medical Association, of which I am an undistinguished member, recently published a booklet entitled A Guide to Effective Communication, which I strongly suspected would be as helpful as a booklet entitled Improving Athletic Performance by Cutting the Achilles Tendon. I was right.’

screen-shot-2017-02-04-at-09-41-38

‘Whether anyone has ever met an expectant transsexual offended by the term expectant mother is not stated; nor is the possibility aired that, if such a being actually existed, he or she should simply be told not to be so silly.’

screen-shot-2017-02-04-at-14-10-05

‘Long experience of apparatchiks has taught me that anyone who prefaces what he is about to say—his communication—with the words “I am committed to…” will soon proceed to something unpleasant hiding in his thicket of polysyllabic euphemism. If a hospital manager, for example, says “I am committed to…” (or, even worse, “I am passionately committed to…”), you know that something is about to be closed down and its staff (except for the managers) sacked.’

'No words of mine can do justice to the wealth of absurdity that the framers of this booklet have managed to pack into fourteen pages, which has come in for well-merited mockery.'

‘No words of mine can do justice to the wealth of absurdity that the framers of this booklet have managed to pack into fourteen pages, which has come in for well-merited mockery.’

A peculiar kind of feminist populism

screen-shot-2017-01-31-at-22-20-12You will not, writes Dalrymple,

be treated too severely if you kill your violent husband, even if you have made no other efforts to avoid his violence. If you put up with it for long enough, in fact, you can kill him.

Women,

apparently weak and feeble creatures, can’t be held to the same level of legal obligation as men. They are by nature victims and nothing but victims, indeed not fully responsible human beings.

How do I appear concerned and compassionate to my friends, colleagues, and peers?

Screen Shot 2016-08-11 at 23.03.21

More humanitarian than thou, not to mention a great deal richer

This, says Dalrymple, is for the pols, the polly-toynbees, the pundits and the pampered celebs of the West the real and most pressing question raised by any social problem.

The rules are:

  • Never give the appearance of blaming the victim of any social problem, or anyone whose life is poor or unenviable, by examining the bad choices he makes
  • Refrain always from looking at the reasons for those choices, since victims are victims and not responsible for their acts, unlike the small class of human beings who are not victims
  • Do not stare at a social problem for very long. Turn to abstractions, to structures over which the victim has no control

The rawness of reality must be avoided, says Dalrymple, so that

utopian schemes of social engineering can be spun.

The bien-pensants view people as

in the grip of forces that they cannot influence, let alone control—and therefore as not full members of the human race.

That people are reduced to automata suits the élite, for it

increases the importance of its providential role in society.

How do I appear compassionate?

Screen Shot 2015-12-28 at 23.34.33How do I appear concerned and compassionate to my friends, colleagues and peers?

For pols and pundits, writes Dalrymple, this is

the real and most pressing question raised by any social problem.

It is imperative

to avoid any hint of blaming the victim by examining the bad choices that he makes. It is not even permissible to look at the reasons for those choices, since by definition victims are victims and not responsible for their acts, unlike the relatively small class of human beings who are not victims.

No member of the modern liberal intelligentsia

can stare at a social problem for very long. He feels the need to retreat into impersonal abstractions, into structures or alleged structures over which the victim has no control. And out of this need to avoid the rawness of reality he spins utopian schemes of social engineering.

He is ever on the lookout for reasons to exempt criminals from responsibility for their acts,

as a sign of his generosity of spirit.

OK, so they joined Isis. It could’ve happened to anybody

Screen Shot 2015-08-08 at 08.15.02Liberal intellectuals, writes Dalrymple,

want to divide humanity into the tiny minority of people with agency (perpetrators) and the vast majority without it (victims)—the latter requiring salvation by liberal intellectuals. The rich and powerful are perpetrators with agency; everyone else is a victim without agency.

Asked why they started taking heroin, addicts say they

fell in with the wrong crowd,

Screen Shot 2015-08-07 at 07.45.50passively,

as if by some kind of natural force.

Isis happens

A newspaper describes some ‘Portsmouth lads’ of Bangladeshi origin as ‘falling into Isis’s hands’.

Screen Shot 2015-08-07 at 07.49.21

Victims of circumstance

The use of the word lads is intended to imply that there is nothing special or different about these young men. Its use is a manifestation of wishful or even magical thinking. The men fell into the hands of Isis as an apple falls to the ground by gravitational force. It could have happened to anybody, this going to Syria via Turkey to join a movement that delights in decapitation in the name of a religion—their religion. Joining Isis is like multiple sclerosis; it’s something that just happens to people.

The word fell

denies agency to the young men, as if they had no choice. They were victims of circumstance by virtue of their membership of a minority, for minorities are by definition victims without agency.

Victims are the heroes of the politically correct

Today and as a teenager: Rachel Dolezal, who is of German, Czech and Swedish ancestry, is president of the Spokane chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. She  has been portraying herself as African American for a decade. Dalrymple writes: 'Victims are the heroes of the politically correct; their victimhood confers unique moral authority upon them ex officio. And since many would like to be a unique moral authority, it follows that they would like to be a victim. The fact soon follows the wish, at least in their own estimation.'

Today and as a teenager: Rachel Dolezal, who is of German, Czech and Swedish ancestry, is president of the Spokane chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. A single mother who identifies herself as bisexual, and represents herself as the victim both of child abuse (she was, she claims, chastised with a ‘baboon whip’) and date-rape (she declined to sue the alleged perpetrator because, she said, of his great wealth), this energetic progressive has been portraying herself as African American for nearly a decade. Dalrymple writes: ‘Victims are the heroes of the politically correct; their victimhood confers unique moral authority upon them ex officio. And since many would like to be a unique moral authority, it follows that they would like to be a victim. The fact soon follows the wish, at least in their own estimation.’

The Western longing for victimhood (reader discretion advised)

Screen Shot 2015-05-27 at 23.24.25TRIGGER WARNING: the material that follows may cause upset or distress

Content alert: this doctor-writer’s observations about the human condition are known to cause trauma in the weak-minded

Supplementary trigger warning: the term trigger warning may itself be triggering to some victims

Dalrymple writes that

what is most interesting from the cultural point of view about the preposterous nonsense of trigger warnings for Victorian books is the obvious thirst or desire for victimisation that they express.

Screen Shot 2015-05-27 at 23.27.41Victims

are the heroes of the politically correct; their victimhood confers unique moral authority upon them ex officio. And since many would like to be a unique moral authority, it follows that they would like to be a victim. The fact soon follows the wish, at least in their own estimation; and this, of course, provides much work and justifies much power for the self-proclaimed protectors of victims.

University teachers become

the curators of figurines of the finest porcelain, which only they are allowed to touch.