Category Archives: wishful thinking

Europe is asking for a fascist reaction

Screen Shot 2015-12-06 at 08.14.51The price the West pays for stifling debate

Nationalism, writes Dalrymple,

is fraught with dangers, of course, but so is the blind refusal to recognise that attachment to one’s culture, traditions, and history is a creative, normal, and healthy part of human experience. A democracy that stifles debate on such vital and difficult matters by means of speech codes, explicit or implicit, is asking for a genuinely fascist reaction.

He points out that in France the genie of unease about the North African influx cannot be returned to its bottle. For the sake of democracy,

vigorous, civilised debate must replace the law of silence that political correctness has imposed.

France, Dalrymple reminds us, has

a large, undigested, and growing immigrant population from North Africa that congregates—unwanted by the bulk of the population—in huge and soulless modern housing projects that surround French cities, as if besieging them. There are now Muslim ghettoes in France so crime-ridden that the police will not enter, except in armoured convoys.

The Front national addresses

widespread anxieties that ‘respectable’ politicians have preferred to ignore for fear of appearing illiberal and unenlightened.

The party dares say on the subject of mass immigration

what many Frenchmen think and feel. A problem as essential to France’s future as how 5m North African Muslims are to be integrated successfully into French society has been left unexamined, obscured behind a cloud of wishful thinking and politically correct platitudes.

Dalrymple explains that the ‘respectable’ politicians,

by espousing the banalities of multiculturalism, left those with a desire to conserve something of traditional French identity with nowhere to go but Le Pen. By declaring that realities as obvious as the high immigrant crime rate and the resulting fear that many Frenchmen feel cannot be mentioned by the polite and sophisticated, they have ceded all public discussion of such evident facts to the impolite and the outré. The élites were the architects of the Front national‘s triumph.

This is happening not only to the French. For example, the Danes

have seen that, in the name of diversity, everywhere is becoming the same. There are large parts of Copenhagen in which it is impossible now for a stranger to guess what country he is in. The Danes fear to become foreigners in their own land.

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Flüchtlinge willkommen

Screen Shot 2015-11-28 at 08.48.04So, even now, say a few Germans. In Sweden they cried (until they brought in border checks),

Flyktingar välkomna.

Dalrymple turns to Max Frisch’s Biedermann und die Brandstifter (1953), written

Screen Shot 2015-11-28 at 08.48.47in the aftermath of the Second World War as an attempt to explain (and to warn) how a patent evil like Nazism can triumph in a civilised society.

The play’s protagonist, Dalrymple explains,

is a comfortable bourgeois living in a town that is beset by several mysterious acts of arson. He is visited at home by Schmitz, a hawker, who half-persuades, half-intimidates his way into an invitation to lodge in Biedermann’s attic, and who soon brings a second hawker, Eisenring, to stay in the house.

Screen Shot 2015-11-28 at 08.34.08Gradually it becomes clear that Schmitz and Eisenring

are the ones setting the fires in the town, but Biedermann refuses to acknowledge it. His blindness arises from moral and physical cowardice, and from wishful thinking—the hope that what he sees does not really mean what it obviously means.

Screen Shot 2015-11-28 at 08.49.23Schmitz and Eisenring bring barrels of gasoline into the house and Biedermann,

pusillanimous to the last, helps them make the fuses and gives them the matches with which they burn his house down.

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.