“The triumph of the romantic view of education was doubly disastrous because it coincided with the triumph of the romantic view of human relations, especially family relations. This view goes something like this: the object of human life being happiness, and the fact that many marriages are unhappy being patent and obvious, it is time to found human relationships not upon such extraneous and unromantic bases as social obligation, financial interest, and duty, but upon nothing other than love, affection and inclination. All attempts at stability founded upon anything but love, affection and inclination are inherently oppressive and therefore ought to be discounted.”
What Dalrymple is basically saying is that sentimentalists believe if we would all just follow our hearts everything would be hunky-dory. We don’t have to imagine where this type of tripe leads us. He then hits hard on what has long been known to anyone who follows history.
“The family, with all its undoubted miseries (as well, of course, as joys) has long been the object of hate of ambitious intellectuals, for the family stands between the state, to be directed by intellectuals, and total power…..Claiming to want to bring about a world of joys only, without miseries, intellectuals have almost systematically denigrated the family, taking its worst aspects for the whole, and using reform…as a stalking horse for destruction. Indeed, in Britain,…salami tactics have been employed, until marriage, except for those few who are still deeply religious, has been virtually emptied of its moral social, practical and contractual content. Not surprisingly, the state has entered the breach:”
This assault on the family is well known, yet conservatives generally avoid the subject and the Republican Party runs from it like the plague. The assault on marriage, like the assault on religion, has been with us for years. Dalrymple notes,
“G.B. Shaw said marriage was legalized prostitution, Ibsen… had a heroine whose heroism consisted in part…of abandoning her own children without so much as a moment’s thought as to what it might be like for them.”
The musings of an admirer of Stalin, Hitler and Mussolini and the actions of a nineteenth century play are now performed in real life without the benefit of marriage. Women have multiple children by multiple husbands. Non-biological “fathers” living in homes, half-siblings from various “fathers” moving from place to place. And mothers” throwing their own children out of their homes because the latest “boyfriend” doesn’t want them around. All this and more happens on a regular basis in today’s Britain and, I might add, USA. Contrary to what the Left and Libertarians seem to think, “free love and exclusive sexual possession of another person are fundamentally incompatible principles. Nothing can reconcile them.”
Everyone but “trained intellectuals” knows this is horrible for society. If any proof is needed, Dalrymple draws upon his experience as an NHS doctor serving,
“In an area with social indicators, such as income and unemployment, were more or less average for the country as a whole, it was almost unknown for a child to be living in a household with both its biological parents.”
This sentence alone is an indictment of the Left and their Libertarian friends. This is not to say that marriage is perfect and without its own problems. Every conservative (no, every sane person, which might be the same thing) would acknowledge this. Life itself, being full of problems, hypocrisies, and contradictions, marriage must needs be full of the same.
And as Dalrymple knows, nothing excites the sentimentalist so much as “hypocrisy.” But he wisely points out, some hypocrisies and concealment are necessary in society. He uses a mind experiment to show this. Dalrymple posits a situation where everyone can read everyone else’s mind and asks if the murder rate would go up or down. Just imagine for a moment how this would play out. A young man walking down the street sees a beautiful, buxom, bikini clad young woman arm in arm with her boyfriend approaching from the opposite direction. Need I spell it out? One could expect a heated exchange of words at the very minimum. The possible variations on this and other uncomfortable situations are, virtually, infinite.
I believe that much of what the Left and Libertarians claim to be hypocrisy is, in fact, simply tact. It is not necessary, and often unkind, to express one’s thoughts willy-nilly. How many of us are perfect, physically, mentally or morally? Nil, zero, nada. Conservatives know this, but the Left seems to discount this. Why they do so is hard to explain. I don’t know if it is ignorance or dishonesty. In any case, the Left seems to think that if we all had no personal principles everything would be fine. If everything is permissible, nothing is bad so no problem, man. Libertarians seem to think that sex, the emotions it emotes and effects on society, are simply questions of market forces. Fortunately or otherwise, the world is more complicated and human beings and society are simply not made that way the Left and Libertarians seem to think.
What are the results of this Alice in Wonderland philosophy that says “if it feels good do it”? Per Dalrymple, “at least for a very considerable part of the population, especially the poorest and most vulnerable part, the new dispensation has brought liberty in certain directions, but also the kind of fear, jealousy, violence and general social breakdown that severely circumscribes liberty in much more important directions.” And what has been the response to the chaos brought about by this new dispensation? “overindulgence on the one hand and neglect and abuse on the other.” Both are evident in our society on a daily basis.
On the one hand there is the spoiled rotten child who has his own TV, smart phone, computer, expensive sports shoes, etc, by the time he is ten. His parents try to give him everything and shield him from want, disappointment and the world in the hope of giving him a better life and making him a better person. Of course, there is also the fact that many parents are trying to buy off the child for the lack of time and attention given to him. Is it surprising that so many such children turn out to be selfish little monsters who become frustrated when their desires are not met? They are demanding and in their own minds deserving. Woe to them and society when their egos make contact with the real world.
On the other hand is the child of “aggressive neglect and violence.” As Dalrymple notes,
“It is not necessary to believe the explanations of the neo-Darwinists and sociobiologists to accept that step-parents are many times more likely to be violent to, or sexually abuse, their charges than are biological parents. This has been recognized from time immemorial; it is not for nothing that the step-mother of fairy tales is wicked. Therefore, he who promotes step-parenthood in society promotes neglect of and violence towards children. This is even more the case when (as is now often the case) step-fatherhood is serial.”
Where does this toxic sentimentality, combined with modern psycho-babbled lead us? To brutality and violence. Dalrymple observes,
“The extreme fragility and friability of relations between the sexes combined with the persisting desire for the exclusive sexual possession of another leads, not unnaturally, to a great deal of jealousy, which itself is the most common and powerful reason for violence between the sexes. This has been so for a long time.”
In a society were marriage is no longer considered important, much less sacred, is an increase in such behavior surprising? Where sexual partners are in constant flux, is heightened violence not to be expected? Is it surprising that deviants are screaming for “marriage equality” when marriage has become an object of contempt for much of society? Is this call for homosexual marriage itself, not another assault by the intellectuals on marriage; just another slice of the salami?
Dalrymple continues with a litany of the societal woes associated with the loosing of sexual mores. In closing his Introduction, Dalrymple comes to the seminal point of his book when he writes, “Sentimentality is the progenitor, the godparent, the midwife of brutality.”
I will cover his chapter titled “Sentimentality” in my next paper. • (2020 views)