The Church of Grievance

A hat tip to Gavin for notifying us of this essay in the November 28 edition of National Review, wherein Dalrymple explains the mindset of the Occupy Wall Street protesters:
Having known no shortage, they are not grateful for an abundance that exceeds all previous abundance, nor do they enquire where it has come from. For them, abundance is natural, hardship anomalous. By the standards of all previously existing humanity, and much of humanity that still exists today, they are — in short — spoilt.
Many among them are sufficiently spoilt that they revolt against what has spoilt them, namely the regime of private property. They have absorbed and made their own a prejudice that is widespread and that they believe to be generous, namely that against the rich, though it is an open question whether this or racial prejudice was responsible for more deaths in the last century.

4 thoughts on “The Church of Grievance

  1. Terry Wall

    This is a surprisingly unthoughtful comment as to the things that are currently upsetting Wall Street protesters and other people who have time in their lives to engage their brains.
    While we are grateful that developing technology has allowed us to utilize the worlds limited resources and banks were part of the grease that lubricated those achievements,there is much wrong with the side effects that also appeared.
    The single minded obsession with profit at the expense of pollution, whether it be the air that we rely on, the land on which we live and the oceans that have such an important role in managing the environment on which we all rely.
    The widening gap between rich and poor citizens, between rich and poor nations is further evidence that good can be made better.
    Human nature is intricately linked with avarice and does need rules, else anarchy will prevail. Witness the ever increasing reports of people who express a lack of agency with others, the distrust of leaders, lawyers, police et al.

  2. Jaxon

    “Having known no shortage, they are not grateful for an abundance that exceeds all previous abundance, nor do they enquire where it has come from. For them, abundance is natural, hardship anomalous.”

    Admittedly I agree this is surely rather unfair to a lot of the protesters. I kind of lost sight of Dalrymple’s specifics here… allowing my more personal ‘grievances’ (that TD often expresses so well) to be my default assumption of what he was saying.

    It is true that most people, including myself (I’d like to think much less so in recent years) have a very serious deficit in appreciating our unprecedented abundance and therefore (to return to my tiresom refrain) the necessity of probity at all levels of society – not just bankers, or until bankers and corporates place moral chains on their activities.

  3. Jaxon

    Speaking of the tragedy of the commons, Roger Scruton has a book due out, Green Philosophy. I think a fairly central concern is with NGO’s – how people expropriate personal, local, responsibility to the tragedy of the commons at the global scale; particularly the negative externalities of ‘evil’ corporates. Dalrymple also briefly discusses this in Litter.

    At the moment there’s heated debate over Britain surrendering sovereignty to Brussels.
    Regrettably people fail to recognise that this occurs more on the basis of the aggregation of our daily activities, habits, than on the occasional vote or referendum – this is expropriation, or attribution of responsibility.

    We vote with our money, this was the great dream of the invisible hand… but ‘credit’ is not our money – so such voting is tantamount to quantatative easing.

  4. Jim

    My only complaint is that you (meaning Steve) did not tell us that this is a subscription only article, as many NR articles are free. That’s not a big deal, as that just means I’ll have to go to the library to read it.


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