Dalrymple takes issue with the product instructions at the front of a notebook:
Well, how can journaling help you? It “is a great way to organise your thoughts, reduce mental clutter, and gain insight into who you are.” And when you find who you are—that is to say who you really are—it is bound to be someone rather splendid, not this imperfect specimen who sometimes does not tell the truth, grows irritable when things do not go his or her way, is impatient, loses his or her temper, can’t resist eating too many chocolates if they are there, eats too quickly, talks too much or too little, is spendthrift and ungenerous, is sometimes lazy, enjoys other people’s misfortunes, gossips maliciously, forgets to return telephone calls, and so forth. Journaling can help you to discover your inner perfection.
Why would the leaders of the various European separatist movements, in Catalonia, Scotland and elsewhere, make common cause with the pro-EU forces who would seem to be their strongest opponents? Dalrymple proposes several reasons, one of which is:
…the leaders of the nationalist parties or separatist groups want there to be more places at the top table—vacancies that they would then fill. They might even rise to the dizzying heights of the former Prime Minister of Luxembourg, who has long bestridden the world, or Europe at any rate, like a colossus. This he could never have done without the existence of the EU. In other words, personal ambition and the megalomania of petty potentates.
Read it here
Not many of us would want to live next to a house whose owner had installed a life-size, fake shark on his roof, as one homeowner in Headington, Oxford did thirty years ago, but the problem with architecture in Britain today is due more to over-active bureaucrats than eccentric homeowners:
The authorities in charge of preservation often bully owners of listed houses in matters of tiny detail, at great cost to those owners, while simultaneously allowing for the wholesale desecration of whole townscapes. Anyone who doubts this phenomenon should take a look (just as one example among many) at Imperial Square in Cheltenham, where a criminally hideous tower office block has been permitted to ruin the outlook of a graceful Regency terrace once and for all.
Read it at Salisbury Review
In New English Review Dalrymple praises an uncommon virtue he says is necessary for the production of great art: self-censorship…
But one faculty seems to me to be essential or indispensable in the individuals who would produce great art: namely, the faculty of self-censorship, that is a sense not merely of what should be left out, but of what should not be said. Without self-censorship, complete freedom of expression is destined by a kind of inner logic an arms-race of vulgar sensationalism.
Dalrymple makes the following aside in this piece in Taki’s Magazine about seeing art films in Paris:
The case for parliamentary democracy lies in the alternance in power, not in the wisdom of crowds or their choices. It is better that those in power should not get their feet under the table for too long, even if the people who will replace them at the table are no better than they. If it is argued, as it often is these days, that they are all the same, these competitors for power in Western democracies, and there is therefore nothing to choose between them, it is still well to remember that a cartel is preferable to a monopoly.
How does one assess the significance of the recent accident in London in which a pedestrian was hit by four cars and none of them stopped to help her? As Dalrymple notes at the Salisbury Review, it was an isolated incident:
There are many hit-and-run incidents in London every year (currently about 5000), which is highly regrettable of course, and they have increased alarmingly of late years both in absolute numbers and as a proportion of all accidents; but fatalities and serious injuries have not risen in proportion to the number of hit-and-run accidents, suggesting that the increase is mostly in incidents that are relatively minor. As far as I am aware there have been no other accidents in which the victim was allegedly hit by four separate vehicles without the driver of any stopping, as if the victim were merely an injured pheasant in a country lane.
Read it here
Dalrymple reacts in Taki’s Magazine to the list of “Sustainable Development Goals” released by the United Nations Office at Geneva:
Compared with UNOG’s totalitarianism, all other totalitarianisms—the totalitarianism of Stalin and his gulag, the totalitarianism of Hitler and his extermination camps, the totalitarianism of Pol Pot and his relocation of city dwellers to the rice paddies—were but local solutions to local problems. According to UNOG, about 6,000,000,000 human beings (or however many humanity now comprises) have a uniform list of things to do that, presumably, they must all stick with a magnet to the door of their fridge.
Intellectual curiosity can be a source of comfort to the elderly, says Dalrymple in City Journal: “No doubt a happy old age is largely a matter of luck, but it must also be partly a matter of attitude to the world, so various, so beautiful, so new.”
Observing airport display ads, Dalrymple realizes that the cult of rebelliousness has even come to, of all places, Geneva:
What did the rebellion touted by the advertisement consist of or amount to? It consisted of a male model, no longer in the first flush of youth but obviously trying to look still young (perhaps, unknown to me, he was an aging rock star), who was tattooed to his fingertips and up to his collar. To me he looked both repellent and stupid, though not by nature unintelligent. Intelligence, however, makes stupidity and bad taste all the more appalling.
Though Dalrymple supports Brexit, he says at the Library of Law and Liberty that Britain’s primary problems are unlikely to be solved by it:
And the economic auguries for Britain are indeed poor, though not only, or even principally, because of the European Union’s hostility. The fact is that Britain is unlikely to be able to take any advantage of life outside the European straitjacket because its own political class is itself in favour of straitjackets that are no better, and quite possibly worse than, the European ones. The present Prime Minister, Theresa May, is very much a statist, indistinguishable from European social democrats, and the leader of the opposition, Mr Corbyn, who might well be the next Prime Minister, is an unapologetic admirer of Hugo Chavez. It is hardly to be expected that foreign investors will place much trust or confidence in an isolated country whose next government might very well weaken property rights, impose capital controls and increase corporate taxation in favour of supposed social justice. It would not take very long to turn Britain into a northern Venezuela: a Venezuela without the oil or the tropical climate.
And for those who complain (perhaps fairly) that Dalrymple criticizes without offering solutions:
These problems…can be solved only by something more resembling a religious revival than by any likely government action. But expecting a population to bethink itself while simultaneously being offered political solutions that require no effortful cultural change is unreasonably optimistic.