We deny to claim "any Superiority to ourself
to defyne, decyde, or determyn any Article or Poynt
of the Christian Fayth and Relligion,
or to chang any Ancient Ceremony of the Church
from the Forme before received and observed
by the Catholick and Apostolick Church."

Norman Simplicity

Norman Simplicity
Click image for original | © Vitrearum (Allan Barton)

Friday, May 22, 2015

The party's over

It's time to call it a day.


My RE teacher at school, in a moment of temporary clarity, said that the Troubles in Northern Ireland were the last remnant of the 17th century Wars of Religion. That's a bit romantic for me. I would have said that they illustrate rather the incompetence and apathy of the British government, the danger of ideologies/identity politics and that Irish nationalism is too fraught with Enlightenment ideals to be a worthy cause.


After an extraordinary 300-year run, Britain has essentially resigned as a global power.


The courage of our convictions, or ...

Thinking unsentimentally. It's hard. Awfully hard. But we have now arrived at the apogee of our age. The distillation of all our inherited wisdom, obtained via the hard-won and collective struggle of millennia?

Be yourself.

(I often say to my students: Be yourself?
Oh, please, please, whatever you do, don't do that.
Couldn't you imagine, even for a moment, being something a bit better?

This scrambled mash-up invokes or calls down upon us the collected thoughts of Mr. Dalrymple.

  • The cause of much contemporary misery in Western countries – criminality, domestic violence, drug addiction, aggressive youths, hooliganism, broken families – is the nihilistic, decadent and/or self-destructive behaviour of people who do not know how to live. Both the smoothing over of this behaviour, and the medicalisation of the problems that emerge as a corollary of this behaviour, are forms of indifference. Someone has to tell those people, patiently and with understanding for the particulars of the case, that they have to live differently.
  • Poverty does not explain aggressive, criminal and self-destructive behaviour. In an African slum you will find among the very poor, living in dreadful circumstances, dignity and decency in abundance, which are painfully lacking in an average English suburb, although its inhabitants are much wealthier.
  • An attitude characterised by gratefulness and having obligations towards others has been replaced – with awful consequences – by an awareness of "rights" and a sense of entitlement, without responsibilities. This leads to resentment as the rights become violated by parents, authorities, bureaucracies and others in general.
  • One of the things that make Islam attractive to young westernised Muslim men is the opportunity it gives them to dominate women.
  • Technocratic or bureaucratic solutions to the problems of mankind produce disasters in cases where the nature of man is the root cause of those problems.
  • It is a myth, when going "cold turkey" from an opiate such as heroin, that the withdrawal symptoms are virtually unbearable; they are in fact hardly worse than flu.
  • Criminality is much more often the cause of drug addiction than its consequence.
  • Sentimentality, which is becoming entrenched in British society, is "the progenitor, the godparent, the midwife of brutality".
  • High culture and refined aesthetic tastes are worth defending, and despite the protestations of non-judgmentalists who say all expression is equal, they are superior to popular culture.
  • The ideology of the Welfare State is used to diminish personal responsibility. Erosion of personal responsibility makes people dependent on institutions and favours the existence of a threatening and vulnerable underclass.
  • Moral relativism can easily be a trick of an egotistical mind to silence the voice of conscience.
  • Multiculturalism and cultural relativism are at odds with common sense.
  • The decline of civilised behaviour – self-restraint, modesty, zeal, humility, irony, detachment – ruins social and personal life.
  • The root cause of our contemporary cultural poverty is intellectual dishonesty. First, the intellectuals (more specifically, left-wing ones) have destroyed the foundation of culture, and second, they refuse to acknowledge it by resorting to the caves of political correctness.
  • Beyond and above all other nations in the world, Britain is the place where all the evils summarised above are most clearly manifest.

Live differently.


  1. The old 'coming off heroin is just like having a flu' assertion.

    As a professional drug worker I can tell you that it is true. However, I wonder whether you have ever chosen to have a bad flu before? Has Dr Dalrymple? It's easy to make judgements about things you haven't experienced.

  2. I think maybe I was too candid about certain aspects of the Troubles in my post. It's simply not something one brings up when in Ulster. I'm just glad it's unlikely that anyone from my family is going to read it!

  3. I would like to thank you for introducing me to the writings of Theodore Dalrymple.

    Anyone who has the wit to describe the standard English repast as "solitary, nasty, British, and short", in addition to being well-read (can any one go through the Leviathan of literature to find the source of that phrase, by the bye?) deserves a better acquaintance.

    I am in your debt for this.