Category Archives: Interviews

Theodore Dalrymple explains how Britain went down the drain

As Dalrymple continues his tour of Australia, journalist Kevin Chinnery of The Australian Financial Review hosts Dalrymple for dinner and an interview — and reports on both. The opening paragraphs:

He’s the psychiatrist who broke a taboo. In 1990, Theodore Dalrymple, prison shrink, slum area hospital doctor, and freshly appointed magazine columnist started telling the awful truth about Britain’s poor. Long before motormouth welfare queen Vicky Pollard became the butt of a national joke on the television show Little Britain, Dalrymple was warning of a native underclass utterly impoverished not in money, but in language, ideas and ambition.

His books, essays, and columns for The Spectator, The Times and the New Statesman, have been compared to Orwell in their observations of Britain. But the plight of Orwell’s working class, stricken by the Depression and the collapse of employment is moving and dignified in a way that Dalrymple’s post-welfare state underclass is definitely not. He shows a new Gin Lane, a Hogarthian horror show of self-destructive behaviour: drink- and drug-addled deadbeat parents, feral children, random violence and chosen idleness. Chaos and ignorance, encouraged by the welfare and education systems, and treated as both normal and unavoidable…

Dalrymple hits the airwaves in Australia

Ahead of his speaking tour of Australia, which begins tomorrow with an event in Brisbane, Dalrymple has been appearing on various television programs (telly programmes?) in the country, earning far more mass media coverage than he’s probably ever received in his native Britain, where he often feels as popular as a rattle snake in a lucky dip.

First was an appearance on the ABC program The Drum, where he gamely answered questions about contemporary Australian political issues.

Next was an interview by Tony Jones on ABC’s Lateline program where a cheery Dalrymple described his general view of the modern British bogan. Readers who have rarely seen him speak in public might be surprised by his demeanor here, but to many of us Tony Daniels is one merry bloke.

Readers “Rie” and “David R” brought our attention to this appearance on ABC’s Q&A program, where Dalrymple participates in a panel discussion that also includes feminist Germaine Greer. David R notes that Dalrymple and Greer even (crikey!) agree somewhat, although when Dalrymple attributes most modern domestic violence to extreme jealousy caused by the breakdown of traditional mores, Greer just about goes off like a frog in a sock.

And lastly, Rebecca Bynum, publisher of the New English Review and an all-around sheila, kindly posted this piece on Dalrymple by Adam Creighton from The Australian (hat tip to a dose of Theodore Dalrymple for posting the original, subscription required).

After Brisbane, the speaking tour continues with events on April 18 and 21 at the Sydney Opera House and in Melbourne, respectively. Not exactly out in woopwoop!

Dalrymple promotes new book on visit to U.S.

Dalrymple has spent the last few days making the rounds in New York and Washington, D.C. promoting his new book, Admirable Evasions: How Modern Psychology Undermines Morality.

He spoke at the Heritage Foundation on Tuesday. The video is here. The action doesn’t start until the 21:30 mark. (Update: the video has now been edited.)

On Thursday he visited the Wall Street Journal and recorded two short video interviews. In this one he addresses Islamic extremism, and here he discusses his book’s thesis that psychology has been a generally useless attempt to avoid the reality that “the permanent condition of mankind is dissatisfaction”. (H/t Michael G.)

On Thursday evening the New Criterion hosted a launch party in New York City for the book, and your humble correspondents (along with Skeptical Doctor reader Adam) enjoyed seeing the good doctor once again. He spoke for a few minutes, humorously sharing the titles of the psychology-inspired self-help books he noticed in the bookstore of DC’s Union Station.


Other attendees included his old City Journal editor Myron Magnet, Roger Kimball and James Panero.

Killer Emotions

Dalrymple is featured here in the first half of an interview on the podcast “Uncompromised Truth”. I would call this one of the best interviews I have ever heard of him. The American hosts do a great job of getting him talking in a relaxed, conversational manner as they discuss his criticisms of modern sentimentality. There will apparently be a part II soon.

The site includes other items that may also be of interest, such as an interview with Roger Scruton. It is all very well done, and our readers will certainly find many of the hosts’ insights cogent and accurate. Definitely worth a visit.

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.