Uncommon restraint

Note: Link fixed (h/t Dave)

One aspect of Dalrymple’s thought that hasn’t been much discussed is the extent to which he is passionately “anti-war” (I put this word in quotes because supporters of military action also claim to be against war, but to consider it sometimes a necessary evil). On two occasions when discussing these issues with him, I have seen him respond with something close to indignation at the arguments in favor of military action. Now, at the Hilarious Pessimist blog, he responds to the House of Commons’s vote against attacks on the Assad regime in Syria:

For once the House of Commons has performed its function of restraining the executive branch of government. Such is the intellectual probity of our political class that if Mr Brown had been re-elected most of the Labour MPs would have voted for intervention in Syria and most of the Tories against, but we must be grateful for small mercies…

For Mr Cameron to have claimed that the vote was a triumph of democracy rather than a defeat for him was just what one might have expected from a professed admirer of Anthony ‘Bomber’ Blair. Intellectual spivvery can hardly go further; but future historians will surely find it curious that politicians who have consistently cut expenditure on the armed forces (in order to preserve their capacity to bribe civilian voters with so-called benefits) seem ever more enthusiastic about intervening militarily in distant countries without the faintest idea of what they are trying to achieve thereby, except perhaps personal aggrandizement on the world stage.

4 thoughts on “Uncommon restraint

  1. Rob

    Although everyone whose opinion I respect seems to hate David Cameron, I just can’t bring myself to dislike him. Neither can I see anything wrong in his highlighting the good (parliamentary democracy actually working!) and playing down the personal defeat (my party didn’t back me). Surely only fools and depressives would wish to accentuate the negative and attenuate the positive. Of all three main party leaders David Cameron is the only one I don’t want to punch really hard in the throat. Of course, he isn’t really conservative but he seems quite a capable person to me, which surely is a redeeming feature.

    Regarding intervention in Syria, I feel a proverb should already exist to the effect that, ‘Nothing good ever came of intervening in places where men and women dress oddly, are in a constant state of agitation and regularly shout ‘Allahu Akbar!’ at the top of their voices. We, the urbanely effete, should stay well away from such places and people. We are no match for them.

    1. Jaxon

      I don’t know much about Cameron. I saw a documentary that more or less portrayed him as having been more interested in tennis than girls.
      I think even I would have to say that that would be a bizarre form of ‘sublimation’… maybe even perverse. But alas I have what most people would call an unrealistic and absurd way of judging people.
      It has something of a Kantian categorical imperative about it (though maybe that’s an insult to Kant). If a person has behaved with basic christian values regarding sexual relations, then I respect them. If they’ve played the field, as it were, I lose respect unless they’ve obviously gone through a period of soul searching and come to basically share my views on the matter (wouldn’t I just make a lovely totalitarian dictator).


      Maybe I’ve succumbed to trashy tabloidism but that article destroyed whatever respect I had for him; I don’t expect my view on this matter to impress anyone, on the contrary but alas, that’s pretty much the way it is.


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