Thursday, July 3, 2008

This is A Post

Theodore Dalrymple is basically my favorite writer.

It is obvious that Theodore Dalrymple just wants to live in peace and enjoy the finer things in life, which for him include writing. Unfortunately he lives in a G8 country, where the finer things in life are under constant assault and you cannot make even the most elementary decision about your own life without inciting the peanut gallery into a zealous fervor.

That first item isn't exactly obvious due to our technological wizardry. Certainly, there is a great deal of art and spiffy things being produced, but by 'finer things' I mean such as a good relationship with your children. Call me when Apple starts selling the iMutualTrust. Call me when it's considered rude to disturb your neighbour but knocking on their door at teatime isn't considered a disturbance. Call me when at least the snazziest neighbourhoods aren't ghettoized by naked hydro poles.

And then you can tell me that our culture isn't dead.

To the surprise of no one I claim that this is because we have failed philosophically. We do not pursue logical and consistent ends by logical and consistent means. Inconsistent positions are, as a matter of practice, impossible to carry out, which invariably means that hypocrites work against their own interests or their own goals.

Hedonism isn't logically consistent, and that's its main problem. And you know, as a hedonist; the fact is inescapable. Your only choice is to acknowledge that hedonism is self-disproving or to ignore it as it eats your soul until the rats are chittering at the last door to your humanity.

"It is as if they were more afraid of passing an adverse verdict on someone than of getting a punch in the face—a likely enough consequence, incidentally, of their failure of discernment.
The nurses need to retain a certain positive regard for their patients in order to do their job."

As a professional, there is a way out. You accept the verdict of your own conscience and judgment, that this man is reprehensible, and then you discharge all your duties with a will, as is your duty to your own self-respect. This is the kind of thing meant by 'enlightened self-interest.' Even the most cynical and hardcore solipsist ultimately finds that their interest is served by serving others, with a will and even flair. We are human.

"At first, of course, my female patients deny that the violence of their men was foreseeable. But when I ask them whether they think I would have recognized it in advance, the great majority—nine out of ten—reply, yes, of course. And when asked how they think I would have done so, they enumerate precisely the factors that would have led me to that conclusion. So their blindness is willful."

This is an experiment I would have dearly liked to carry out myself, and Dalrymple has saved me the effort. The issue is somewhat personal to me; my own sister was a victim/accomplice to a thoroughly degenerate man, who is now the father of my nephew. While certainly I could have told you that the man was despicable without even looking at him but at his father, my sister was blind to this not only while they were dating - as she would be very fond of telling me if I permitted her - but during seven years of marriage, which started with acts I find despicable. The woman has no sense of self-preservation at all; she finally left because he forbid her to take care of our ailing mother. Now, of course, she is wont to take the high ground.

This is, I should point out, not entirely her fault. She was not a healthy human being to start with, and probably had no more chance against this guy's predatory instincts than a sheep does against the wolf. While the hypocrisy rankles, I cannot truthfully condemn her very much, for this at least. I suspect that Dalrymple's nurses and case studies are similarly crippled. This is the exact reason that I find poor parenting so deeply evil, and for which I will condemn her.

As an example, we know Hitler was disturbed long before Nazism was even a dark gleam in his eye. Why? He was unhappy, and he had served jail time. Letting any kind of criminal near power is just a bad idea, even the wrongly convicted. It is extremely rare that truly innocent people are put in jail. Cops, even corrupt cops, do not drive into the suburbs and arrest random people on suspicion of crimes; while the lineup is deeply flawed for finding the exact perpetrator, they are invariably filled with perpetrators in general.

Even political prisoners are not immune to this. I refuse to think about race and gender issues. Why? Because I do not know in advance what position is the truth, and one of them is a 'hate crime.' I will not knowingly risk becoming a 'hate criminal,' considering that even powerful and respected members of academia are, far from shielded from distrust, actively naked against near unsubstantiated charges brought by known discontents. This is the only rational response to the issue of heresy; do not engage in it. Certainly, I will, as I just did, speak out against the hate crime laws and customs for exactly this reason, but I will always attempt to avoid staking out a position until they are repealed. Political prisoners take known risks for sickly rewards, and in that sense deserve what's coming to them.

"All these enthusiasts believed that if sexual relations could be liberated from artificial social inhibitions and legal restrictions, something beautiful would emerge: a life in which no desire need be frustrated, a life in which human pettiness would melt away like snow in spring."

It is worth noting that marriage, as is commonly seen by men, is a wonderful deal for women and always has been. While occasionally in the past a man might use their leverage to terrorize their wife, first this is obviously criminal,* and second the wife has always used her leverage to stop the man from dallying, as is the wont of most men. It would appear that the wife has always been the mistress of the house, because she is both more adept at personal relationships and because her attention was not split as her husband's is. Now, it's even worse, as a marriage, and especially a child, is an implicit contract to support a woman as long as she may live, although the woman makes no such promise. Too often marriage has become a sperm bank that, when patronized, happens to pay monetary dividends as well. Humans are usually rational, and it is no surprise that men are choosing not to marry, at the expense of women.

*(As I've stated before, obviously criminal acts are not free to commit, but always harm the criminal unless they are literally a psychopath.)

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