Psychobabble On

Dalrymple decries the psychobabble of Prince Harry’s recent confession and Theresa May’s response of offering a policy solution:

Anyone who has had dealings with the so-called mental health services in Britain, whatever they may be like in other countries (and the very notion of mental health is doubtful reality), knows that they are, as currently organized, frequently cruel and stupid, simultaneously neglecting the raving mad while concentrating their desultory and ineffective efforts upon the voluntarily inadequate…
The reason they concentrate their efforts on the voluntarily inadequate rather than the lunatics is that the former are relatively docile and predictable, while the latter may be hostile and in the modern world both drug-taking and machete-wielding. They are difficult and sometimes dangerous to deal with, and therefore best avoided, especially by mental health workers, who can rely on the police to deal with them when they become so disturbed that they can be ignored and left to their own devices no longer. Having closed down all psychiatric hospitals, we have had to build what are in effect psychiatric prisons to which patients are dragged by the police. Meanwhile, the form-filling, by ever-larger numbers of functionaries, continues undisturbed as a kind of displacement activity, in the way that mice wash their paws when confronted with a cat. They are thereby treating not their patients but their own anxieties, at the same time receiving a salary every month.
All this is a perfect model for government as a whole, which pursues policies that cause problems that then call for further policies to correct them.

Immigration Follies

Writing at Taki’s Magazine, Dalrymple says that, while it is perhaps impossible to obtain the necessary data to confirm, it appears that British immigration authorities prefer to admit immigrants or refugees that are lower-skilled and less likely to acculturate. If he is right, what could the reason be? Are bureaucrats and the intellgentsia who back them acting out of stupidity or of self-interest? Both are possibilities, he says, but they may also be driven by an illogical syllogism:

Action in pursuit of a national interest may be wrong or even evil.

Therefore, action against a national interest must, ex officio, be good.

Hence to act against the national interest is a simple rule of thumb to ensure that one is acting ethically.

Read the piece here

Silence in Paris

Almost as bad as the recent murder of a Jewish woman in Paris is the silence in the French press about it:

As every married person knows, silences can be pregnant with meaning, even if the meaning is not immediately clear. The silence in the French press about a recent startling event in Paris is surely pregnant with meaning. On Monday, April 3, an Orthodox Jewish woman, Sarah Halimi, a doctor aged 66, was thrown out of a window to her death by an African man aged 27. He was her neighbor in the flats where she lived. According to witnesses, whose testimony has yet to be confirmed, the man, who had been harassing her with insults for several days, shouted “Allahu akbar!” as he threw her.

Unleashing Arrogance, Complacency, and Mediocrity

At the Library of Law and Liberty Dalrymple reviews Unleashing Demons: The Inside Story of Brexit, calling it “one of the worst books on any subject that I have read in a long time”:

But a very bad book may, in its own way, be highly instructive, as this one is. If mediocrity can ever be said to shine, then it shines from these pages. The writer, though a journalist, has no literary ability whatsoever. He writes entirely in clichés, there is not a single arresting thought in over 400 pages, wit and even humor are entirely absent, and he seems unable to use a metaphor, almost always tired to begin with, without mixing it (“We are likely to succumb on this if they get on their high horses and cry foul”). He has no powers of analysis and no sense of history; there is no plumbing his shallows.

The Rich Are Different

A statement from Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer about punishing tax avoiders makes obvious his support for arbitrary law enforcement:

He could hardly have made his lack of scruple clearer. What ‘robust action’ has been taken against people who have avoided taxes, a perfectly legal if not always laudable thing to do? Blackmail? Threats? These are, implicitly, the words of a gangster, though the person who uttered them may not be aware of it.

Look Around

On the utterly unavoidable requirement to appreciate the small things (if one is not to be miserable):

A few years ago my wife and I planted some cherry trees on our land in France, and now they are in bloom. The strange thing is that I can stand and look at the blossom, if not for hours (one must not exaggerate), at least for several minutes at a time—and repeatedly. I enjoy watching the bees at their work. I am glad to be alive.

Pity the Poor Politicians

Living under a PC regime is bad enough (“much of that population actually wants to be offended”), but it requires a very particular personality to take it one step further, as politicians do

Most people who speak for more than a few minutes will say something stupid or offensive to someone; and thanks to cameras and microphones, all that a politician says is recordable. In effect, modern politicians live under a totalitarian regime.

Worms Have Rights Too

The Party for the Animals won a few seats in the Dutch parliament, so Dalrymple asks sarcastically: Why not a Bacterial Liberation Front?

We must stop this discrimination between and against species according to merely anthropocentric criteria. We are all—fish, seagulls, porcupines—in it together (by it, I mean life); we have to make the biosphere work, and we shall never do it so long as we believe that some species are more valuable than others. Save the cholera germ, I say!

A Pardon for M. Fillon

The scandal involving French presidential candidate Francois Fillon seems well-timed to fuel the fevered imaginings of conspiracy theorists:

Most people believe in conspiracy theories because they want to do so rather than because the evidence compels belief. Again, this brings the slight consolation that events are under human control, even if that control is malign. And, of course, the conspiracy theorist thinks he has penetrated appearances to reach into the reality of things, which makes him superior to those who have not.