Category Archives: Interviews

Dalrymple interview at The Coffee House Wall

There is a great deal here I’d like to quote. Though it is brief, this is one of the best, most revealing interviews of Dalrymple I’ve seen, and it provides answers to some of the more common, and more central, questions about his beliefs.
To what extent, as an atheist, do you ascribe value to the Judeo-Christian tradition? Is this a necessary foundation of Western civilization?
It seems to me obvious that western civilisation is Christian in origin, and those who decry Christianity are in effect decrying western civilisation. I say this as someone who is not myself religious. I believe it is possible for some people to live without religion, but probably not for whole peoples to live without it. To have a sense of transcendent purpose without religion necessitates a political ideology (which is likely to be very bad), or a belief that one is contributing to a culture. Without this, one is living in an eternal present moment, without past and without future.
Have we seen a different type of person arise in the West, as Mr. Boot proposes? How else would you explain that the virtues of respect, duty, deference and self-sacrifice seem to have been universally derided if not abandoned?
Certainly I am worried about a shallowness in the human personality that, if I may so put it, appears to be deepening. Even such things as the electronic media of communication, for those unfortunate enough to have been brought up with them, seem to hollow out human relations, making them extensive rather than intensive. As to derided ideas such as humility, proper deference and so forth, I think we live in an age of inflamed egotism, and of individualism without individuality. Never has it been more necessary, and at the same time more difficult, to mark yourself out as an individual. The slightest subordination in any circumstances is therefore felt as a wound, because the ego is so fragile, and relies on such props as the brand of trainers you are wearing.

Symposium: Why Do Progressives Love Criminals?

Frontpage Magazine editor-in-chief Jamie Glazov has conducted another symposium involving Dalrymple, this one in response to the recent books The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander and Are Prisons Obsolete? by the revolting Angela Davis. Be sure to click to the second page to read all three of Dalrymple’s contributions, among which:
A mixture of sentimentality and intellectual pride distinguishes the attitude of many liberal intellectuals towards crime, which almost never affects them personally. On the one hand there is a reluctance to believe that ordinary people can behave very badly; on the other they believe that it is the function of the intellectual to uncover the underlying ‘reality’ of phenomena (if he is not for that, what is he for?), so that it represents a loss of caste to express the ordinary man in the street’s horror at or revulsion against crime.
Thus crime has to become not really crime, but something else altogether more noble, which it takes nobility and intelligence or acuity on the part of the intellectual in turn to recognize. People don’t steal or rob because they want something and think it is the easiest way to get it; they are uttering a protest against injustice. Moral grandiosity and exhibitionism are the occupational hazards of intellectuals.
None of this should, of course, be taken to mean that we should not oppose injustice where it really exists.

Putin Forever?

Jamie Glazov, editor of FrontPage magazine, has included Dalrymple in another excellent symposium, this one a discussion of “the power of the KGB and the meaning of the new freedom movement in the streets of Russia.” Among Dalrymple’s contributions:

The question has been asked why the present opposition seems to lack the moral authority of the anti-Soviet dissidents. In part, this must surely be because of the change from totalitarianism to ‘guided democracy,’ where there is – despite the murder of journalists – some semblance of a marketplace of political and economic ideas. Where there is such a marketplace, it is more difficult to achieve moral grandeur [in dissidence], though it is much easier to say something; strange compromises and alliances are made; it is not simply a matter of courageously facing down patent monolithic evil. You can oppose Marxism root and branch, from its epistemology to its practical economic corollaries; the corruption of the Putin regime seems more the consequence of the weakness of human nature than of an ideology, and few people are quite sure what they would do if subject to the temptation of a quick fortune.

Be sure to click through to the second page for both of his remarks. Glazov also included Dalrymple in this symposium on suicide bombers, and has interviewed him on two occasions.

FSM Interviews Dalrymple

An American organization called Family Security Matters has just interviewed Dalrymple about his new book Anything Goes, a collection of his New English Review essays between 2005 and 2009.

The interview is interesting, especially as it includes discussions of Dalrymple’s use of different pseudonyms, his history with the
New English Review, his childhood and his appearance (or lack thereof) in the media.

Read it

Dalrymple on TV, on Radio and in Print

Dalrymple is in the media a lot more these days for his newest book Litter and for his views on the rioters in England. He will be appearing on the CNN show “Fareed Zakaria GPS” Sunday morning at 10am Eastern U.S. Time to discuss the riots. I may be wrong, but I believe this will be the first time he has appeared on television in the United States. It looks like the show is broadcast internationally, but I’m not sure in which countries.

He recently gave a very short (and poorly-conducted) interview for ABC Radio National in Australia (Hat Tip to Tom R.). Halfway through, the interviewer asked him why he was qualified to have an opinion on the topic, to which someone less-polite could have replied, “Well, why did you invite me on the show?”

Lastly, the Yorkshire Post recently did this story on the new book.

Dalrymple interviewed about Breivik in Wall Street Journal

I really enjoyed this interview, entitled “Unraveling the Mystery of Murderous Minds”, of Dalrymple by Brian M. Carney in the Wall Street Journal. Not only does Dalrymple make some great points about the attempt to understand Breivik’s motivation (we can’t), he does so in a way that highlights some of the philosophical undercurrents in the modern world:

The human impulse to explain the inexplicably horrific is revealing, according to Dr. Dalrymple, in two respects—one personal, one political. First, it says something about us that we feel compelled to explain evil in a way that we don’t feel about people’s good actions. The discrepancy arises, he says, “because [Jean-Jacques] Rousseau has triumphed,” by which he means that “we believe ourselves to be good, and that evil, or bad, is the deviation from what is natural.”

For most of human history, the prevailing view was different. Our intrinsic nature was something to be overcome, restrained and civilized. But Rousseau’s view, famously, was that society corrupted man’s pristine nature. This is not only wrong, Dr. Dalrymple argues, but it has had profound and baleful effects on society and our attitude toward crime and punishment. For one thing, it has alienated us from responsibility for our own actions. For another, it has reduced our willingness to hold others responsible for theirs.

Carney also provides a glimpse at Dalrymple’s personality.

…we find irresistible the urge to understand an atrocity like Breivik’s, even as we are repulsed by it. When asked whether we hope thereby to understand something about ourselves, the former prison doctor offers an arch denial: “Well, he doesn’t tell me much about me.” And then, with a morbid chuckle and wary look—”I can’t say for you…”

TD even gets the illustrated portrait treatment — in color, no less.

Slouching Towards Vichy: An Interview with Theodore Dalrymple by Bernard Chapin

Writer Bernard Chapin has conducted another interview with Dalrymple, this time for Pajamas Media. By my count, this is the fourth such interview by Chapin, who always does a great job getting to the heart of Dalrymple’s thoughts. This interview covers many of the topics raised in Dalrymple’s new book The New Vichy Syndrome (from Roger Kimball’s Encounter Books), which as Chapin notes differs from the work of other conservative writers on the subject of Europe and immigration:

Bernard Chapin: In terms of tone, your work is downright optimistic in regards to the effects of mass European Muslim migration. This makes it a contrarian view among conservatives. Mark Steyn’s best-seller, America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It, paints a far grimmer picture. Is it possible that all the concerns over a coming Islamic EU are overblown?

Dr. Dalrymple: I am not downright optimistic, but more nuanced. I think the problem lies at least as much with us as with them. By our cowardice, often inadvertently, we support and encourage Islamism. There are many stories of Christmas decorations being taken down, no reference to Christmas being made in case they should offend, etc., when no demand from the Muslim population that these things should be done has actually been made. It is, if you like, an anticipatory cringe that encourages the extremists to push a little harder at what they think is a half-open door. A fine American example of the genre is Yale University Press’s recent book on the cartoon affair.
Read the full interview here

PJM Political interview

Ed Driscoll of Pajamas Media interviewed Theodore Dalrymple last Saturday on his PJM Political radio show on the Patriot channel of Sirius satellite radio. The 20-minute interview touched on the highlights of Dalrymple’s new book The New Vichy Syndrome. Dalrymple argues in the interview that Western liberal intellectuals have seized on the inevitable dark periods of history to undermine confidence in Western society; that the great artistic, moral and technical accomplishments of Western civilization have been rejected or ignored; and that while extreme Islam does represent a challenge to the West, it is mostly a function of simultaneous doubt among Muslims about the future of Islam and the spinelessness of the Western elite.

Listen here