Daniels in Imprimis

by Timothy Lane   7/3/14

The May/June 2014 issue of Imprimis (from Hillsdale College) has an article adapted from a speech by Anthony Daniels aka Theodore Dalrymple at a Hillsdale seminar. What he says will be at least largely familiar to most readers, but the details may not be.

As usual, Daniels discusses his experiences dealing with the British underclass. He points out that by their middle teen years, children are twice as likely to have a TV (probably with a very large screen, as in the movie version of Fahrenheit 451, though Daniels doesn’t make the comparison) at home as they are to have their birth father. Indeed, it’s almost impolite in that class to ask them who their father is. They often don’t have any sort of kitchen table or even stove; meals are whatever they scrounge from the refrigerator and eat while watching TV, very likely not with any other family member.

He also notices the interesting way that criminals will talk about a crime as if they had nothing to do with it (e.g., “the knife went in” as if it somehow activated the hand that wielded it). This leads him into the matter of heroin addicts. He points out that most of these addicts are criminals when they start taking heroin, and that they only gradually take more and more until they become full-scale addicts. In other words, these are criminals to begin with, who choose to become addicts. If you try to treat them on the basis that addiction is something that just happened to them, and then led to their becoming criminals, you won’t get good results. He compares this to an old Soviet-era saying (“We pretend to work and they pretend to pay us”): “We pretend to be ill and they pretend to cure us.”

The net result of all this is an attitude of passive dependency. He cites a woman who had a problem with trash in her backyard. She didn’t bother to clean it up, confining herself to requesting that the landlord do so. And so a potentially pretty yard remained a noxious rubbish heap. The underclass is a world of illegitimacy (virtually all births are illegitimate except those to people from the Indian subcontinent) and helplessness in which public money is a right.

This leads to an increasing tendency for people to see their public checks not as money they receive, but as pay – as if they had done something to earn it. This is definitely something I can understand; a friend who worked for a while at a bank in one of Louisville’s welfare-heavy areas was once disgusted (this was back in the 1970s, so it’s nothing new here) to hear recipients referring to multiple welfare checks as “back pay”.

After discussing the case of a girl who had attacked her mother (who had to give up working because it would interfere with her government relief), “That, ladies and gentlemen, is the view from the bottom, at least in Britain, but it is a view that has been inculcated and promoted from the top.” Just one more example of how liberalism deliberately harms its alleged beneficiaries in order to maintain their automatic support.

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One Response to Daniels in Imprimis

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Thanks for the heads-up on this. I’ve got that issue and I simply these days throw them on the stack. One reason I don’t subscribe to any magazines is that rarely do I get or take the time to read them. I might make an exception on this case.

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