Dalrymple To Join Amy Chua in June Debate

On Wednesday, June 8th Dalrymple will participate in the ongoing Intelligence Squared debate series at Cadogan Hall in London, siding with Amy Chua in support of the resolution “Western parents don’t know how to bring up their children”.

Chua became virtually a household name in America overnight with this controversial January piece in the Wall Street Journal, excerpting her since-published blockbuster Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother criticizing Western childrearing. It is difficult to overstate the article’s ubiquity as a topic of conversation in the US in the days following its publication. She will undoubtedly make an appropriate and formidable partner for the author of Spoilt Rotten. The debate will be viewable live online for free. Viewers can even submit questions and vote to determine the winners.

Dalrymple has participated in two previous Intelligence Squared debates in support of the resolutions Psychotherapy has done more harm than good and “Prison works“. From the organization’s website:

Now operating in London, New York, Sydney, Hong Kong, Kiev and Abuja, Intelligence Squared provides a unique platform for the world’s leading figures in politics, journalism, and the media to contest the most important political, social, historical and scientific issues of the day….Employing the classic “Oxford Union” style of debating, the world’s leading speakers are pitched against each other with a clearly defined motion, to try and win over the votes of the audience through a mixture of impassioned rhetoric, persuasion and charm. Buy your tickets online.

Intelligence Squared debates are unique. Whereas most broadcasters create debates specifically for television, we film our live debates as they happen and then screen them internationally on television. Since January 2009, Intelligence Squared debates have been shown globally on BBC World News to an estimated audience of over 70 million people.

H/t Michael P.

12 thoughts on “Dalrymple To Join Amy Chua in June Debate

  1. AnicleAcoulse

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  2. Shishir

    Im disappointed to learn that Mr. Dalrymple approves of “Tiger Mom” , to me she just seems like a cheerless tyrant ,really more of an Ayn Rand lite!

  3. Clinton

    I don’t know if he approves of her childrearing practices in their totality, or knows her well enough to have an opinion on her personally. Maybe he does, I don’t know. But they certainly see eye-to-eye on the issue of Western childrearing.

  4. Jackson

    Well, well… Chinese Mother is quite something. I’m not sure what to think; my childhood experience fell so very far short of that regime.
    Some years ago I would have felt considerable revulsion at Chinese Mother but then, I’d have to say, I was allowed surely far too much freedom, it’s a wonder I didn’t spiral out of control, my self esteem has certainly suffered, a regrettable yet necessary process.

    I’ve been reading a recent book about Captain Cook by Frank McLynn… the tenacity, discipline, resolution, conviction, endurance etc etc it beggars belief.
    And watching Civilisation – Kenneth Clark… reading Dalrymple, it’s humbling… for me, all life is something like reassessment, what to think?

  5. Jackson

    I found the following particularly interesting.

    “Third, Chinese parents believe that they know what is best for their children and therefore override all of their children’s own desires and preferences. That’s why Chinese daughters can’t have boyfriends in high school and why Chinese kids can’t go to sleepaway camp. It’s also why no Chinese kid would ever dare say to their mother, “I got a part in the school play! I’m Villager Number Six. I’ll have to stay after school for rehearsal every day from 3:00 to 7:00, and I’ll also need a ride on weekends.” God help any Chinese kid who tried that one.”

    I guess that rules out Cheerleading… probably one of the worst things America ever came up with (if indeed it did originate in America)

    It is very interesting for the ‘West’ to be encountering such a ethic contrast that can’t be so easily dismissed.

    If you go to 8:00 of this youtube clip


    It features Anna Freud and Dorothy Burlingham, the experiments in social conformity.

    At 7:20 a similar thing is applied to Marilyn Monroe

    At 6:30 you see how the experiments (not least according to Marcuse) are not surprisingly considered a repressive form of social control – a failure.

    However, seems to me that where things really went wrong was that much of society was going the way of Monroe/James Dean/Elvis… who wants to be maladjusted to sex drugs and rock n roll?

    All the while there’s pressure on Government to pander, be the gangster to our ‘inner Moll’. Chinese mums and dads working extremely hard, saving, because spending like there’s no tomorrow is inconcievable.

    Those savings are surplus in the Globalized system, anathema to the logic of the velocity of money… or something such.
    And there’s a rachet on boys to impress Cheerleaders, an arms race ensues… need more money, sell tresury bonds to China and so on.

  6. Jackson

    I’ve been giving this some thought, doing a bit of research. I discovered this interesting interview


    Some of the most recent responses were interesting.

    • She doesn’t need great grades. She’s hot.
    drakezen 2 weeks ago 2

    • Ya, I will wait for the followup when she does penthouse or playboy lol. That will teach mommy that being too overbearing usually has its consequences!
    angeloinchicago 2 weeks ago


    • @drakezen ya, my words exactly, ill wait for the followup in playboy. that will teach mommy dearest lol.
    angeloinchicago 2 weeks ago

    Consequences? presumeably angeloinchicago sees playboy et al as consequences of a good upbringing rather than the other way round… not bloody likely.

    About a year or so back I was at a respectable cafe, at the table next to me two young women were catching up on time apart… I didn’t want to listen, I was trying to read. One girl became rather fretful in tone, desperate even, on hearing how someone her friend knew had got married at the age of 21.
    She was somewhat aghast, simultaneously yet very unconvincingly pretending that the welfare of this person was in her interest. She kept expressing her dismay at how foolish it was to get married so young for what seemed a long time.
    My interpretation: She didn’t care about this person, in fact, she was positively willing that the marriage must fail because she had internalised so completely the misguided notion that happiness is not to be secured in a long term committed relationship, at least not until you’d spent probably at least ten years living out your various sexual adventures (and just maybe developing a ‘glass ceiling’ smashing career “as long as it’s not better than mine”); proof to the contrary = very distressing, maybe even treason.

  7. Chinese Mom

    Amy Chua’s parenting style is her own, a reflection of her own personal mentality. It does not represent Chinese parenting. She was born in the States, has never lived in China, and does not speak Chinese. Her understanding about Chinese is limited to her own family upbringing with distorted views. Amy Chua’s approach is so extreme that borders on abuse. Many Chinese parents are angered by her book. Here is an article with an analysis on Amazon reviews:

    “What Do Chinese Americans Think of Amy Chua’s “Tiger Mother” Book?”

    And an article written by a a born-and-bred Shanghainese mother in China:
    Chinese Mom: American ‘Tiger Mother’ clueless about real Chinese parenting

  8. Seymour Clufley

    I just listened to the mp3 of this debate.

    I found it a bit disappointing, really. Dalrymple again shows that his knowledge is 90% confined to the lower classes. He had very little to say about middle-class parents (about whom the debate was clearly more concerned, whether by accident or design).

    Drug and alcohol abuse are really centred in slums and few people at a debate like that would recognise the issues.

    As for not giving your kids encouragement, again that doesn’t apply to your average middle-class family in Britain. They do the opposite: giving endless praise and encouragement, believing their kids to be wonderful and beyond reproach.

    And again, he relied too much on statistics and anecdotes instead of offering ideas to explain any statistics or anecdotes people may be aware of. I know he is anti-ideology, but clearly problems have reasons, and can therefore be theorised. The “collapse” of parenting is not an isolated issue but stems from widespread social change, namely that we no longer believe in civilisation. When Mrs Mumsnet said that parents can no longer simply demand obedience but must “earn” the respect of their children, she was basically saying that the past must justify itself to the present. That is civilisational collapse.

    Up against that, mere anecdotes about hearing some kids swearing doesn’t really cut it. As Frank Furedi gladly said of the opportunity served up to him, kids have always sworn. (That’s the trouble with anecdotes: someone else can simply give contrary ones!)

    I’m afraid Dalrymple is losing courage. “The New Vichy Syndrome” indicated this as well; umpteen anecdotes and facts, and a long refusal to acknowledge the bigger picture that they form.

  9. Jaxon

    Interesting points… what little I know of ‘Tiger Mum’ she has also backed down dramatically on some of her firmer… no, in fact, it’s hard to know what she thinks, she seems to have mastered the art of double speak/think – what’s her profession? Law? hmmm… not sure but if so, then that could explain a lot.

    I keep saying it, but as for Civilisation – I think TD’s essay All Sex All The Time basically sums up the problem

    “The sexual revolutionaries’ ideas about the relations between men and women—entailing ever greater sexual liberty, ever less mastery of the appetite—were so absurd and utopian that it is hard to understand how anyone could have taken them seriously. But mere absurdity has never prevented the triumph of bad ideas, if they accord with easily aroused fantasies of an existence freed of human limitations.”

    “What is left but personal whim in the determination of sexual conduct? It is precisely the envelopment of sex (and all other natural functions) with an aura of deeper meaning that makes man human and distinguishes him from the rest of animate nature. To remove that meaning, to reduce sex to biology, as all the sexual revolutionaries did in practice, is to return man to a level of primitive behavior of which we have no record in human history. All animals have sex, but only man makes love. When sex is deprived of the meaning with which only the social conventions, religious taboos, and personal restraints so despised by sexual revolutionaries such as Ellis and Comfort can infuse it, all that is left is the ceaseless—and ultimately boring and meaningless—search for the transcendent orgasm. Having been issued the false prospectus of happiness through unlimited sex, modern man concludes, when he is not happy with his life, that his sex has not been unlimited enough. If welfare does not eliminate squalor, we need more welfare; if sex does not bring happiness, we need more sex.”

  10. Louise

    ‘Dalrymple again shows that his knowledge is 90% confined to the lower classes’

    As a former NHS psychiatrist, it shouldn’t be.

    And where did you get this from:

    ‘Drug and alcohol abuse are really centred in slums and few people at a debate like that would recognise the issues.,’

    Spend some time with a group of students and you’ll see plenty of alcohol abuse, if not drug abuse.

    How do you know if you’re an alcoholic?

    When you drink more than your doctor.

  11. Seymour Clufley

    You’re right. I was speaking in large strokes so as to avoid long-winded pedantry.

    Of course there is drug and alcohol abuse at every level of society. As a former art student I’m well aware that the prettiest middle-class darlings will drink and take drugs.

    But these are silly kids, and silly 20-somethings, roughing it while they can get away with it. In that situation you can take drugs “recreationally” and it is a very different thing (in terms of the effect it has on your life) than for somebody living in a soulless, crime-ridden housing estate. I believe it is still the case that, for some reason, your social class determines how things affect you.

    This reminds me of the BBFC chairman who infamously said it was fine for “people like us” (upper class, educated) to watch The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but not the lower classes. There is some wisdom in that, although I don’t understand why.

    Besides all of that, I’m just surprised that a man like TD doesn’t have other things to say on the theme of parental incompetence in 2011. This was an opportunity for him to talk about omnipresent modern phenomenon of spoiling children and raising them not to consider other people. That is especially present in middle-class families. Instead, he spoke as if everybody lives in a slum.

    I don’t. I live in a pleasant middle-class town, one of very few in Scotland. Last year, a pair of 10 year-olds were bored one night and decided to throw bricks through the stained glass windows of a local church. The windows in question were over 400 years old. The 10 year-olds were not punished. The police knew who they were but decided not to take any action. To repeat, this is a middle-class town, and the parents and law here raise kids who smash 400 year-old stained glass windows, and don’t punish them. Something is very wrong with our civilisation.

    Another story from the same town. This year, some yobs vandalised a local primary school. Again the police knew who they were but decided not to take action. Instead, the primary school has been surrounded by a spiked fence to stop people getting into the grounds at night. But the fence is there throughout the day, as well, so the kids can play in the concrete playground inside it but can’t get out onto the very large playing field beyond, where they used to play. There’s a spiked fence enclosing them like sardines. And why? Because some yobs went unpunished. If the fence hadn’t been put up, the yobs would have vandalised again. So it was put up (at taxpayer expense) and everybody suffers. A previously pleasant school now looks like a detention centre. Again, something is very wrong with our civilisation.


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