In a few days your friendly skeptical bloggers will travel to visit Dalrymple at his home in the south of France. If you have questions you’d like to ask of him, please submit them in the comments section of this post. I can’t promise we’ll have a chance to pose every one of them to him, but we’ll try.
The Coventry Telegraph quoted Dalrymple’s testimony as an expert witness in this article in yesterday’s edition:
“He was a jealous man, who had shown anti-social behaviour and domestic violence in the past. On this night he had seen Miss O’Connor socialising with other people, which provoked jealousy.
“My conclusion is that he was not suffering from depression or schizophrenia at the time of the killing.”
Today’s paper reports here on the testimony of the accused:
“We had a little argument outside and it continued when we got back to Claire’s house. She went straight to her bedroom, undressed and got into bed. I did the same. We carried on arguing and then I heard voices in my head telling me to shut her up.
“They were shouting at me and telling me to strangle her. I did it. I put my hands around her neck.”
Mann then demonstrated to the jury how he used his hands to grip Miss O’Connor’s neck and said that the voices told him to put a pillow over her face.
“I struck her twice to the neck with my fist. The voices told me to finish her off. I knew she had died. The voices were laughing at me and told me to get rid of her body.”
It is always hazardous to pronounce on the mental state of someone one had not met, and about whom one knows only a little and third-hand. But all the same, one is tempted…The first trap to avoid is to say person x did act y because [he] is or has z, and we know he is or has z because he did y. This is circular.But there does seem to be evidence that Breivik was narcissistic, grandiose, paranoid, socially and sexually inept, and deeply resentful. This is a horrible mixture, though any explanation will always be incomplete and not pluck out the heart of his mystery.I think it unlikely he is legally insane according to the M’Naghten rules that govern legal insanity in a lot of the English-speaking world. He knew the nature…[a]nd quality of his act and that [it] was (legally) wrong, to use the wording of the rules, and therefore would not be entitled to a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity.
MEP Daniel Hannan reports on his blog in the Telegraph that Dalrymple was awarded the 2011 Freedom Prize on Tuesday by the Flemish think tank Libera!. Bart De Wever, chairman of the Belgian political party N-VA, who Hannan calls “the winner of the most recent Belgian election, and easily the most popular politician in the country”, presented Dalrymple the award.
Flemish N-VA Party Chairman Bart De Wever (left) and Theodore Dalrymple
Most of the news stories on the event are in Dutch, and Google’s translations aren’t always easy to decipher, though some make for fun reading. Google translates this one in the Gazet van Antwerpen as “House ideologue N-falls sharply against diaper culture”. The story appears to say something close to this: “Dalrymple has become a bit like the house ideologist of De Wever’s party”. De Standaard calls him De Wever’s “ideological mentor”.
Libera! President Christophe Van der Cruysse noted that winners of the prize typically come from the Netherlands and Belgium, and appears (if Google can be trusted) to have called Dalrymple “a much needed voice in the Dutch public debate.”
The Libera! website purportedly says the prize “reflects special merit in the fight for freedom in our region” and that Dalrymple, unfortunately, currently has no Dutch counterpart.
From Hannan’s piece, entitled “In praise of Flanders, Right-wing intellectuals and Theodore Dalrymple“:
…it’s wonderful to see Theodore Dalrymple getting the recognition he deserves. His books sell massively in Flanders and the Netherlands. He is a well-known figure, too, in American conservative circles; but he hath no honour in his own country.
Why not? Largely because there is little space in British public life for Right-wing intellectuals. You can be a conservative commentator if you have a populist bent. There will always, I’m happy to say, be slots for the Kelvin MacKenzies, the Richard Littlejohns, the Jeremy Clarksons. But Theodore Dalrymple writes about Koestler’s essays and Ethiopian religious art and Nietzschean eternal recurrence – subjects which, in Britain, are generally reserved for the reliably Left-of-Centre figures who appear on Start the Week and Newsnight Review. It is Theodore’s misfortune to occupy a place beyond the mental co-ordinates of most commissioning editors.
Ed Driscoll at Pajamas Media blogs an Ed West piece that seems to validate some of Dalrymple’s arguments about the direction of English society. The apparent validation comes from comedian John Cleese, a Lib Dem supporter who recently said, “There were disadvantages to the old culture, it was a bit stuffy and it was more sexist and more racist. But it was an educated and middle-class culture. Now it’s a yob culture. The values are so strange.” Cleese explains his decision to move from London to Bath thusly: “London is no longer an English city, which is why I love Bath….it feels like the England that I grew up in.”
John Cleese morphed into Theodore Dalrymple so slowly, I hardly even noticed.
But what did he expect? (Cleese of course. Dalrymple saw this coming ages ago.) …Monty Python was a weekly assault on the values of post-war England. And England’s societal bedrock of wisdom and knowledge proved in retrospect, to be surprisingly fragile…Of course, you shouldn’t be all that surprised if change for its own sake doesn’t go quite as planned.
Dalrymple has been featured on the website of PovertyCure, an international, Judeo-Christian-based organizational network that calls for rethinking the battle against poverty. There is a brief bio, quotes from some of his essays and books, a printed interview and a brief video of him. Worth a look. I particularly like this statement:
“We’ve got everything exactly the wrong way around really. We give them money for doing nothing and prevent them from selling anything to us.”