The Loss of Virtue and the Economic Crisis

Dalrymple recently spoke at The Iona Institute in Ireland on the subject of the economic crisis there (and throughout the Western world). In keeping with views he has expressed elsewhere, he blames the crisis on a modern outlook that has rendered the cardinal virtues increasingly unpopular:

Thus we see governments viewing or at any rate subconsciously recognising easy credit and asset inflation as a way of courting popularity, a popularity necessary in order that they should retain the power that, as individuals, they craved and which they made the main aim of their lives. If in the process it meant the large scale corruption of the population, so be it. And, for reasons only too obvious to mention, bankers were happy to go along with it.

An avidity for power, then, combined with a deeply materialistic outlook on life, which regarded an increased level of consumption as the summum bonum of human existence, lay behind the crisis, and certainly not only in Ireland. Greed, either for power or easy gain, acted everywhere in our societies.
You can read the text of the speech here (hat tip: Ravi).

18 thoughts on “The Loss of Virtue and the Economic Crisis

  1. Mxymaster

    I don’t think the doctor gives himself enough credit for being that rarest of creatures, the spiritually fit agnostic. For most of humanity, agnosticism = materialism, which = consumerism (what else is there?). And then they tend to think that they can cut off the legs and the tabletop will float.

  2. Jackson

    Edmund Burke’s famous dictum that men are qualified for liberty in exact proportion as they are (or have been in the past) prepared to place a limit on their own appetites.

    Theodore Dalrymple

    Whilst I don’t agree with everything anyone says, I’d say that Britain (at least) fails in proportion as they are inclined to ignore Dalrymple.

    The Military Industrial Structurally Adjusting Shock Doctrine Complex, is basically the pimp/pander of the permissive… the gangster to our inner Moll’s… promiscuity, liquid love (Bauman) is only viable when the ‘gangster’ can leverage people’s ‘right’ to have their appetites or envious anxieties (unavoidably aroused and amplified in such permissive society) gratified or assuaged through ultimately ecologically destructive subventions of the state.

    (obviously not a Dalrymple quote) but you can probably see how what may appear to be my ‘left’ ‘conspiratorial’ leanings are actually rather conservative.

    bit off topic, but thought I’d just pitch that in.

  3. Jackson

    Just for the record, I mean, I can be a bit reckless when commenting on the web… I threw the ‘ecologically destructive’ reference in because ‘green’ issues tend to be co opted by the more left leaning when actually I think they’d be so much more effectively addressed if bad ‘left liberal (Bloombury/Ibsen?)’ attitudes prioritised. I daresay I don’t need to tell anyone that who frequents this site.
    You only have to read the likes of this

    (a sure, extremely ugly, symptom of the loss of virtue so proudly flaunted in Britain), to surely realize that you don’t need to think primarily about the loss of rain forests or fresh water to recognise the necessity of addressing such problems.

    But you see

    “appetites or envious anxieties, unavoidably aroused and amplified in such permissive society”

    Fairly prominent elements of ‘feminism’ ought to be grateful to vulnerable young girl’s from eastern Europe for relieving the stress of not being sexually ‘successful’ in the way that is constantly celebrated…

    No, of course they shouldn’t, they should be horrified, but joining up the dots, and responding appropriately, just isn’t going to happen any time soon.

  4. soin

    I’m very interested in this subject and I myself do alot of research as well. Either way it was a well thoughtout and nice read so I figured I would leave you a comment. Feel free to check out my website sometime and let me know what you think soin.


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