Though he has often noted the disastrous effect of mass fatherlessness, Dalrymple expresses his discomfort with David Cameron’s official criticism of it, in today’s Independent:
Sentimentality is frequently the reverse side of the coin of cruelty, and this was shown by Mr Cameron’s call in the same article for the stigmatisation of absent fathers. It is one thing for stigma to arise spontaneously from a society’s shared mores, when such stigmatisation may be for good or evil, or some mixture of both. But it is quite another when the head of a government calls for it.
Are we to have a National Stigmatisation Agency, complete with public denunciation ceremonies, to which admission could be charged? This might help to reduce our deficit, but it would be very nasty.
In resorting to the sentimental use of his own happy relations with his father, Mr Cameron was implicitly expressing contempt for the people of his own country, whom he thereby deemed incapable of grasping an argument about the desirability of fatherhood for children without the aid of Hello! magazine-type illustrations. This is to reduce our politics to the intellectual level of American tele-evangelism.