Author Archives: Steve

Beer Street, Gin Lane, and Blurred (Moral) Vision

“Potential harm to others can be alleged in practically any human action,” says Dalrymple, writing for The Library of Law and Liberty. And it increasingly is alleged, not only concerning human actions but also words, and not just regarding the public sphere but even the private. He cites this recent article in the Guardian as an example.

Read it here

Humble Pie in Short Supply

On seeing a photograph in a newspaper of a little girl at the Women’s March in Washington holding a sign that says, “I am kind, smart and important,” Dalrymple has many criticisms of a parent who would use their child in this way:

…a person who went round proclaiming, “I am important, I am important” would seem to us either pathetic, as if he were whistling in the wind of his own complete insignificance, or, if he used his supposed importance to push his way to the front of a line, say, in order to be served before everyone else, very unpleasant indeed.

A Modern Macchu Picchu

At Salisbury Review, Dalrymple writes of a building in Peru that has been favorably compared to Macchu Picchu and been deemed “the best new building in the world”, when it very clearly is not. He takes particular umbrage at the statement by one of the building’s architects that, “For us, the enjoyment of architecture is the sense of weight being borne down or supported, the feeling of moving with the forces of gravity. It’s a very primal need.”

Does anyone arrive in Venice or see the Taj Mahal for the first time and say, ‘Oh, what a wonderful sense of weight being borne down or supported’? And could anything be a primal need, of all things, that is to say a need that precedes all other needs?

Shake your head bitterly by reading this

The Wealth Gap

At Taki’s Magazine, Dalrymple takes on the idea of economics as a zero-sum game:

There is one sense in which I may by definition increase poverty if I grow richer. Suppose my wealth increases faster than that of most of the people in the society in which I live. The people in that society are poorer, relative to me, than they were before, even if, in absolute terms, they are all richer than they were before. This is not the same as active impoverishment. But since poverty is now usually defined in relative and not absolute terms, poverty can increase even where no one, not a single person, is the poorer. By the same token, a society can grow richer as everyone in it becomes poorer. This is absurd.

Read it here

Bread and Circuses

“Every day, the Guardian newspaper publishes a list of eminent persons, or persons whom it considers eminent, most of them British, whose birthday happens to fall on that day,” says Dalrymple, writing at Salisbury Review. Would you be surprised to learn that, at least on the day Dalrymple analyzed the list, the majority were from the world of popular culture? By comparison, people of more serious and genuine accomplishment seem to be given short shrift.

Read it here

On a less serious note, can it really be the case that this is the first Dalrymple essay, out of thousands he has written since we started this blog, with “Bread and Circuses” in the title? Surprisingly, that seems to be the case.

Mercy or Injustice?

At City Journal, Dalrymple writes of the rather difficult case of Jacqueline Sauvage, a French woman who did nothing for decades as her husband violently abused her and sexually assaulted all three of their daughters but then finally, at the age of 70, shot him to death. She was convicted of murder but was then recently pardoned by outgoing French President Francois Hollande:

…her lawyers characterized the presidential pardon as “an extremely strong message sent to women who suffer domestic violence. It has become symbolic. It doesn’t mean that you must kill to survive but that you must do all that is possible not to reach that stage.”

This is nonsense, of course. The message, if anything, is precisely the opposite: you will not be treated too severely if you kill your violent husband, even if you have made no other efforts to avoid his violence. If you put up with it for long enough, in fact, you can kill him.

The Red Cross pot calling the NHS kettle black

According to Dalrymple in the Salisbury Review, only 16 percent of the British Red Cross’s charity shop revenue actually ends up with the Red Cross, which then must pay its own expenses, of course.

…the question arises how the British Red Cross can raise so little money from its retail operations. After all, it receives most of its goods and a large part of its labour free of charge, and it pays reduced local taxes (a policy that should, of course, cease forthwith). It is a miracle of disorganisation, at least equal to anything seen in the National Health Service: I hesitate to call it by a name less morally neutral than disorganisation.

Read it here