Observing airport display ads, Dalrymple realizes that the cult of rebelliousness has even come to, of all places, Geneva:
What did the rebellion touted by the advertisement consist of or amount to? It consisted of a male model, no longer in the first flush of youth but obviously trying to look still young (perhaps, unknown to me, he was an aging rock star), who was tattooed to his fingertips and up to his collar. To me he looked both repellent and stupid, though not by nature unintelligent. Intelligence, however, makes stupidity and bad taste all the more appalling.
Though Dalrymple supports Brexit, he says at the Library of Law and Liberty that Britain’s primary problems are unlikely to be solved by it:
And the economic auguries for Britain are indeed poor, though not only, or even principally, because of the European Union’s hostility. The fact is that Britain is unlikely to be able to take any advantage of life outside the European straitjacket because its own political class is itself in favour of straitjackets that are no better, and quite possibly worse than, the European ones. The present Prime Minister, Theresa May, is very much a statist, indistinguishable from European social democrats, and the leader of the opposition, Mr Corbyn, who might well be the next Prime Minister, is an unapologetic admirer of Hugo Chavez. It is hardly to be expected that foreign investors will place much trust or confidence in an isolated country whose next government might very well weaken property rights, impose capital controls and increase corporate taxation in favour of supposed social justice. It would not take very long to turn Britain into a northern Venezuela: a Venezuela without the oil or the tropical climate.
And for those who complain (perhaps fairly) that Dalrymple criticizes without offering solutions:
These problems…can be solved only by something more resembling a religious revival than by any likely government action. But expecting a population to bethink itself while simultaneously being offered political solutions that require no effortful cultural change is unreasonably optimistic.
On the rarity of public silence, from Taki’s Magazine:
One of the most denied of all human rights is that to silence. I do not mean by this the right to remain silent when accused of a crime, though in Britain at least this has effectively been abolished. I mean, rather, the right not to be assaulted everywhere by extraneous and unnecessary noise.
Silence has become a luxury that very few can afford.
In Taki’s Magazine Dalrymple describes in greater detail the violence at a recent literary festival he attended, and its import:
A German lady, trapped temporarily in the hall along with us, said that she had come to England nearly fifty years earlier because it had seemed so tolerant. Of course, there was no official doctrine of tolerance in those days, but since tolerance became almost an official ideology, everyone seemed to have grown angry all the time. At last, then, Herbert Marcuse’s famous concept, repressive tolerance, has taken on a reality or substance that it did not have when he first thought of it.
I’m not sure there is any better indictment of the modern educational establishment than that Copenhagen University is offering a course on the music of Beyoncé, on which Dalrymple comments in The Salisbury Review:
Philosophical relativism, the denial that there is any objective basis for judgments of worth or value, has become almost an orthodoxy in humanities departments. And if there is no real difference between good and bad, why go to the trouble of studying the difficult when the easy is, by definition, just as good?
Dalrymple on rap music at New English Review:
…of all the forms of music that I abominate, rap is by far the worst… [It] is the music of resentment, not of protest; its intention, it seems to me, as well as its effect, is to provide a justification in advance for impulsive, self-destructive and violent behaviour. Those who sell and promote it to a population already susceptible to its decerebrate message are far worse than mere prostitutes: they, not Socrates, deserve the hemlock.
He selects a rap song almost at random and analyzes its lyrics, which he finds “unutterably disgusting in its crudity” Read it here.
With Robert Mugabe out of power in Zimbabwe, Dalrymple has completed a three-part series of pieces on the country (where he once lived) at the Library of Law & Liberty:
Understanding the Rise of Zimbabwe
…in which he recounts his move to the country and the situation during the last days of white colonial rule.
…in which he describes the shift to Mugabe’s regime and the consequences thereof.
…which includes an interesting analysis of the mindset of the colonized, including Mugabe himself (e.g., admiring those that you hate):
As Mao is to the present government of China so, for a short time at least, Mugabe must be to the future government of Zimbabwe. But with the passage of time, the kind of psychological complex from which Mugabe suffered, and which explains if it does not excuse some of his behaviour, will, as the colonial past fades from living memory, no longer exert its baleful influence on anyone. Africa will be free at last both of colonialism and anti-colonialism. Then there will be no more His Excellency, Comrade…: just ordinary, corrupt authoritarian regimes, perhaps, and possibly a functioning democracy here and there. A great improvement.
Forced to watch the BBC news, Dalrymple notices a story on two homeless mothers (unmarried, naturally) and their children, who complain of the living conditions in a homeless shelter:
[W]hat struck me most was that the interviewer did not think to ask (or, if he did, it was rigorously edited out) how the situation in which they found themselves had arisen in the first place. It is possible, though unlikely, that the two young women had contributed absolutely nothing to their own misfortunes by, for example, making unwise decisions. It is possible, though unlikely, that they had no relatives in a position to help them, and that for them the state was the only conceivable source of social solidarity and support. But in any case, these matters did not arise; to have asked such questions would have been to blame the victims.
In this City Journal essay Dalrymple looks at two authors of Shakespearean scholarship, with one of them claiming to have proven that the bard had no classical education and therefore could not have produced the famous plays with their classical allusions:
But also latent in the question is the incipient conflict between the romantic and classical views of life: that understanding of the world, genius, and wisdom is as much a matter of direct apprehension or instinct as it is of knowledge and learning. Not all the knowledge in existence could have produced Shakespeare, and while the work of most of the erudite is forgotten the moment they die, that of Shakespeare lives on forever. Though Farmer was a man of the Enlightenment, he was therefore also a forerunner of Romanticism. His little book, incidentally, serves to undermine, though not completely to refute, one of the arguments of the anti-Stratfordians (those who deny that Shakespeare, the boy from Stratford, is identical to Shakespeare, the author of the plays) before it became popular with luminaries such as Mark Twain and Sigmund Freud: that only someone with a deep knowledge of the classics could have written Shakespeare’s works, that only someone of high social class could have had such knowledge, and that therefore Shakespeare, the writer of the plays, could not have been Shakespeare, the boy from Stratford.
In The Salisbury Review Dalrymple recounts a recent speech at which leftist protesters surrounded the hall:
I spoke immediately before Katie Hopkins, who guarded by a close protection squad, was scheduled to appear (she was the last speaker of the day). The banging on the windows and chanting began just as I was ending.Two or three protestors wearing motor cycle helmets and masks broke into the hall with a crowbar and a member of the audience hit one of them over the head with the leg of a chair.Then the eggs started flying. One of the policemen looked as if he were about to be scrambled. Despite the assaults on the police no charges are contemplated