Murder Most Academic

Dalrymple has a new essay for City Journal that discusses Stephen Griffiths, the violent British criminal and diagnosed psychopath who was accepted by the University of Bradford into its doctoral program in “homicide studies” (at taxpayer expense) and then became a serial killer. Dalrymple touches on the institutional and intellectual climate in which such a thing can occur, but his essay focuses more on the British media’s characterization of Griffith’s victims not as “prostitutes” (which they mostly were) but as “sex workers” who were supposedly not engaged in what everyone knows to be an inherently risky and sordid activity. In the process, Dalrymple offers one of his most concise descriptions of the modern liberal mind:


What lies behind these mental contortions? It is a form of sentimentality, a mask for a deeper indifference, according to which people who suffer or have led unhappy lives must be transformed into blameless victims so that we can pity them. It is as if, were they to have contributed in any way to their own situation, all sympathy for them would have to be withdrawn or abandoned. And since the liberal wants to be seen, particularly by his peers, as a man superior in compassion to everyone else, he uses all his powers of rationalization, generally increased by many years of education, to establish that such and such a group of people is without blame and thus suitably—indeed, necessarily—an object of his moral generosity. If, in the process, he comes to conclusions repugnant to common sense, so much the worse for common sense.

Read it here

Hat Tip:  Mary C. and Shishir Y.

12 thoughts on “Murder Most Academic

  1. lh.jimmie

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  2. Jaxon

    To quote Dalrymple All Sex All The Time

    “The sexual revolutionaries’ ideas about the relations between men and women—entailing ever greater sexual liberty, ever less mastery of the appetite—were so absurd and utopian that it is hard to understand how anyone could have taken them seriously. But mere absurdity has never prevented the triumph of bad ideas, if they accord with easily aroused fantasies of an existence freed of human limitations.”

    That just about sums everything up for me… so long as the government can play gangster to our inner Moll’s most people will consent.

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  4. Louise

    Calling people who have been murdered ‘victims’? Well, good gracious, whatever next?

    If there are no ‘victims’ in a murder case, there is no murder case.

    I would be very surprised if this character was pursuing a doctorate ‘”taxpayers’s expense”.

    I’m sure I’ve read this somewhere before. Round and round we go.

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  5. Steve

    Louise, you either did not read the essay or did not pay attention while reading it. I therefore find you guilty of posting an irrelevant comment, and I hereby order you to write a paper on the difference between a “victim” and a “blameless victim”.

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  6. Jaxon

    Well Louise, you actually take the time to engage in debate, that’s something surely. In society you have good cop/bad cop type dynamic, I suppose Dalrymple is more ‘bad cop’ ‘tough love’ to most people.

    What little I know of Sister Helen Prejean, she moves me to reconsider some of the tougher love of Dalrymple…

    I don’t think she’s about perpetuating the indulgent culture of exculpation that so frustrates Dalrymple.

    I think it’s fair to say he utterly dDespises privileged intellectuals, though sophisticated (sophists), essentially playing fast and loose with moral imperatives… all consciousness with little or no conscience.

    Eg The Gift Of Language:
    “The contrast between a felt and lived reality—in this case, Pinker’s need to speak and write standard English because of its superior ability to express complex ideas—and the denial of it, perhaps in order to assert something original and striking, is characteristic of an intellectual climate in which the destruction of moral and social distinctions is proof of the very best intentions.

    Pinker’s grammatical latitudinarianism, when educationists like the principal of my friend’s daughter’s school take it seriously, has the practical effect of encouraging those born in the lower reaches of society to remain there, to enclose them in the mental world of their particular milieu.”

    Louise are you more like Sister Prejean or someone who has, say, screwed around with lots of men (a previous comment of yours regarding promiscuity suggests not) and refuse to front up to your conscience, join up the dots (follow the links in the chain) of your own complicity in the undermining of civilisation, especially by doing your bit to contribute to the idea of prostitutes as blameless (innocent?) victims; throwing in your spanners of ‘compassion’ lest the chains that lead back to you become all too visible?

    “Unlike less reflective observers, Custine asked why the Russian officials should have behaved with such a manner, keenly aware that men inhabit a mental and not just a physical world and that their conduct is determined by their thoughts about the world as they have experienced it. He surmised that these border officials had been deprived of all true discretion and were deeply fearful themselves of the power to which they were subordinate.”

    But in our society people, like Fred and Rose West, are far too often subordinate to their libidos… I suppose the prostitutes’ punters were automata convenienced with a libido.

    In which case I doubt the deprivation of the expectation of self restraint, self respect, dignity, will be appropriately addressed.

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