In The Salisbury Review Dalrymple offers a slice of modern London:
As I passed Euston Square station, I paused to listen to a tall black man, with the seat of his grey flannel tracksuit perched half-way down his buttocks, talking loudly into his mobile phone and gesticulating wildly for emphasis…
I could hardly be accused of eavesdropping, since the young man was speaking so loudly in a public place. His tone was aggrieved, not that of injured innocence but of injured guilt, which of course is a very much stronger emotion.
‘They’re trying to say I hit this white bloke and he went down. They’re not looking at what led up to it. It must be on CCTV, but they’re just not looking.’
It must have been on CCTV because everything these days is on CCTV. He paced up and down in his agitation. Evidently he had attacked someone in a station.
[‘]My train was in three minutes! Three minutes! And they’re trying to say…’
Note that a slice indicates only one small portion of something.
Dalrymple notes, in The Salisbury Review, Jose Manuel Barroso’s progression “from revolutionary Maoist student to Prime Minister of Portugal to chief apparatchik of the European Union to vice-president of Goldman-Sachs with special responsibility for advising the bank on how to mitigate the effects of Brexit (for the bank, of course, not for Britain or Europe)” and concludes:
The attraction of the European Union for those who are prepared to endure its tedium and its requirement always to speak in langue de bois is evident. It offers a golden reward in exchange for the obliteration of personality, character and scruple. It plays Mephistopheles to a hundred minor Fausts.
Of course we should all blame the perpetrator of the Nice attack, Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, for the crime. But there was an accomplice, political correctness:
The 84 dead might be said to be the victims of political correctness and the ever-expanding doctrine of human rights. Lahouaiej-Bouhlel was born and raised in Tunisia and, a totally unskilled man, was given leave to enter and stay in France only because he had married a French citizen of Tunisian origin in Tunisia. The decision to allow him into France was based on an abstract doctrine of human rights—in this instance, the right to family reunification—rather than on France’s national interest, which is never allowed to enter into such decisions.
As it turned out, the marriage was not a happy one, though it produced three children. Lahouaiej-Bouhlel was very violent to his wife (witnesses testified that this violence was not merely occasional), and she divorced him, but of course it was impossible to deport this père de famille, for to do so would have been contrary to his children’s right to a father. His children therefore acted as his permis de séjour, his leave to stay, which was duly renewed when the original ran out.
Dalrymple has long made no bones about the fact that he finds sports utterly worthless, or even worse than that. After quoting in Taki’s Magazine an eye-opening letter on the subject from Pliny (eye-opening as one of those items of history that so clearly connects ancient behavior to contemporary, and thus proves the permanence of the human condition), he adds:
For a brief period we had made an advance over Pliny’s time, but I suppose regression to the stupid was inevitable. And in a strange way, reading Pliny’s letter is reassuring. If human folly has remained much the same and taken a similar form over two millennia, then one finds it easier to accept it just as it is, as inevitable, and to feel no duty to reform or enlighten it. And—let us be frank—one has follies of one’s own.
Though he supported Brexit, Dalrymple warns against referenda as means of deciding political questions, going through the four British exercises in direct democracy since the mid-20th Century, ending of course in the recent Brexit vote:
So far, these attempts at direct democracy, alien to British tradition, cannot be said to have brought much in the way of wisdom and enlightenment, let alone happiness.
The referendum of remaining or leaving the European Union was, in the words of the Duke of Wellington about the Battle of Waterloo, a damned close run thing. It could have gone either way. It gave a result that was clear without being overwhelming. It exposed social and geographic divisions that were probably better-hidden. And it exposed those with only a skin-deep commitment to majority rule, for those who lost soon claimed that those who voted the other way were uneducated, ignorant, xenophobic and racist, whose votes therefore did not really count. Moreover, just 37.5 per cent of the eligible population (a slightly higher proportion than that which voted for the Scots nationalists in the general election) voted for so a momentous decision. But to object to the results of a referendum only after the results are known, and not to the referendum as a method of deciding a question, is to show utter contempt for those who voted the other way. There a[re] few better methods of sowing social discord – which we may yet reap.
A Guardian writer, among the many elites who considered all Brexit supporters xenophobes, proclaimed his “badge of shame” at being British after the vote, no matter that he now lives in France anyway. In The Salisbury Review Dalrymple notes the irony in such prideful “shame”:
But the interesting thing about the passage above is the evident and overweening pride that runs through it. The man who wrote it is middle-aged: he has kept his ‘badge of shame’ for decades after he could, if he had felt genuine shame about it, have got rid of it. No, his pride is to have a badge of shame, extravagantly exhibited, in order to demonstrate his moral superiority over other people who wear the same badge who are not as intelligent, educated or morally sensitive as he. This is the prideful shame of the poseur, of the moral exhibitionist. Moral exhibitionism is now the déformation professionelle (I use the French expression to establish that I am no xenophobe) of the intellectuals.
NOTE: I apologize for the recent gap in posts, as I was away on a very enjoyable visit to the good doctor in France.
Dalrymple begins this piece at Taki’s Magazine with a paean to mediocrity:
Though derided and despised, there is much to be said in favor of mediocrity. It is comfortable and unthreatening, unlike excellence; it makes no demands on us. Who can stand the strain of having to be brilliant all the time, or of having to be careful never to say a banal or obvious thing? Who, when he is tired from a hard day’s work, or even from the mere passage of a large number of hours since he rose in the morning, wants to flog his brain into the maximum activity of which it is capable? One longs, then, for the anodyne, for the un-thought-provoking—in short, for the mediocre.
Dalrymple has in the past diagnosed Tony Blair as suffering from delusions of honesty, but now he wants to rethink it. After all, his condition may not meet the last requirement of a delusion:
The only question that remains, then, is whether his fixed false belief is incongruous with his culture. Here the matter is slightly more difficult to decide: after all, he won three elections and colleagues supported him for many years. And he is by no means unique in the political class to suffer from this delusion…
The Canadian government is considering the issuance of sex-neutral identity cards to appease those who claim to have “gender dysphoria”. At Salisbury Review, Dalrymple notes that there is no such accommodation for those with Dissociative Identity Disorder, a condition many times more prevalent. So this is “unjust and intolerant discrimination”, right?
Read it here
Yet another horrific terrorist attack by Muslim extremists, and yet again its perpetrators are not those struggling through poverty:
On the contrary, they were scions of the small, rich, and educated local elite. They were privileged as only the rich in poor countries can be privileged.
Where a child is cruel to animals, thieving, lying, and disobedient from an early age, we expect little good of him later in his life. It seems the perpetrators were not like this, nor could they have expected anything but a smooth passage through life. Lack of prospects was certainly not what impelled them.
Adolescence is a turbulent time, of course, and some privileged young people in impoverished countries feel guilt at their own privilege (not that it prevents them from exercising it); revolutionary movements are often led by some sprig of the upper class.