Latrine-cleaners and politicians

Dalrymple writes:

Someone has to do politics, just as people have to do other unpleasant jobs, such as cleaning lavatories.

That happy land

Dalrymple points out that in Switzerland, people don’t even know who their president is, he being so profoundly unimportant.

Fish and Superfish

Still Life with Goldfish, 1972, Roy Lichtenstein. Dalrymple writes of enslaved aquatic animals: ‘What about the goldfish? Are not bowls their cages? Why should it be wrong to keep robins captive, but right to enslave goldfish? Their colour? What has that to do with it? As Nietzsche would have said (had he been a goldfish), better a day as a Superfish than a lifetime of safety, subsisting merely on the infantilising pity of an owner and a daily pinch of fish food.’

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.

Guilty of supreme sordor

The Ched Evans affair was, writes Dalrymple,

emblematic of a prevalent aspect of contemporary British culture. No one who has gone down the main street of a British town at midnight on Friday could really have been much surprised by the incident.

The case illustrates

the sub-Gomorrah nature of many contemporary British enjoyments, in which women participate as enthusiastically as men. Evans has acknowledged that his behaviour was bad, though (perhaps understandably) without recognition of how disgusting it was. But it would be implausible to say that the conduct of the alleged victim was on an altogether different and higher moral plane from his.

Monstrous Macron

Dalrymple likens Emmanuel Macron’s face to that of an ‘intelligent shark‘, and notes that his voice, ‘when he tries to play the role of passionate demagogue, is enough to shatter glass’.

Fillon’s sin

It was, writes Dalrymple haltingly, perhaps

venial. They are all at it, I tell myself.

It is hypocritical, to be sure, for Fillon to attack the State whose finances he has exploited. But

is his hypocrisy any worse than that of the Leftists who argue for equality and live like élites, who are egalitarian in everything except their lives?

The unspeakable

The object of political correctness, writes Dalrymple,

is to make the obvious unsayable, or at least sayable only under the threat of a torrent of criticism or abuse.

This does violence to the mind and spirit.

Those who refrain from objecting to the false pieties of political correctness (which are intoned within organisations as regularly as in public) come to despise themselves.

Speaking power to truth

Political correctness is not a neurodegenerative disease, the doctor explains,

but it might as well be, so devastating is its effect on intellection. It appears to be infective, spreading from brain to brain. It is more like a form of chronic mass hysteria.

A little like our economic system, it must be forever expanding to survive.

The capitalist system, Dalrymple reminds us, must

stimulate new desires in consumers and make those desires as quickly as possible seem like needs, without the satisfaction of which life is rendered impossible.

Similarly, political correctness,

to extend its soft-totalitarian hold over the population, must discover new injustices to set right — by a mixture of censorship, language reform, and legal privileges for minorities. The meaning of life for the politically correct is political agitation.

Dalrymple points out that the greater the violation of common sense, the better.

It is like communist propaganda of old: the greater the disparity between the claims of that propaganda and the everyday experience of those at whom it is directed, the greater the humiliation suffered by the latter — especially when they were obliged to repeat it, thus destroying their ability to resist, even in the secret corners of their heart.

That is why the politically correct

insist that everyone use their language: unlike what the Press is supposed to do, the politically correct speak power to truth.

All that is necessary for humbug to triumph is for honest men to say nothing

The politically correct, Dalrymple notes,

never seem to become bored with their thoughts. This leads to a dilemma for those who oppose political correctness, for to be constantly arguing against bores is to become a bore oneself. On the other hand, not to argue against them is to let them win by default. To argue against rubbish is to immerse oneself in rubbish; not to argue against rubbish is to allow it to triumph.

Hide a bushel under your light

screen-shot-2017-03-05-at-17-20-51Dalrymple writes that there was a time in his life, many, many years ago, when

people were not expected to boast about their accomplishments: they were expected not to boast about their accomplishments. Self-praise was regarded as no praise: someone who praised himself was thought to be a bad character.

These days,

boasting and the expression of self-satisfaction are essential to getting on in life, to climbing a hierarchy. You have to recommend yourself, not wait to be recommended by others (which might never happen).

screen-shot-2017-03-05-at-17-17-46Dalrymple reads an article in which an interviewee is asked to summarise his or her personality in three words.

This is a question that should not have been asked, that is almost obscene, being an invitation either to self-congratulation or to arch self-deprecation, the higher and slightly more acceptable form of self-congratulation. To adapt slightly the final sentence of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus, whereof one ought not to speak, thereof one ought to be silent.

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