Twenty-two very short essays explain why the underclass exists and how it impacts society. Based on the book Life at the Bottom.
I’ve been on a recent reading tear…knocking out some books in two hours.
Granted, it’s self-induced. I want to read 50 books this year…
And review about half of them.
The following review is on Theodore Darymple’s Life at the Bottom–the Worldview That Makes the Underclass.
Who Is Theodore Darymple?
First thing you should know: Theodore Darymple is the pen name of a British physician and psychiatrist who treats the poor in a slum hospital and prison.
Apparently, Darymple has seen it all.
He’s heard and observed the every conceivable twist of depravity among his patients. Depravity that exceeds most people’s experience.
It’s the depravity of the underclass.
Life at the Bottom is a searing account of why the underclass exists…and even persists…and the implications for our society as a whole.
Who Is the Underclass?
The underclass are poor people whose lives are dominated by violence, crime and degradation.
Darymple’s unique contribution is his suggestion that the pathologies of the underclass are a result of the ideas that have filtered down from intellectuals…namely cultural relativism, sexual freedom and destruction of the family.
Darymple charges, “They consider the purity of their ideas to be more important than the actual consequences of their ideas.”
What follows are the book’s 22 chapters condensed down into 22 very short summaries. If you want more, you’ll have to read the book. But hopefully this will give you a taste. Enjoy.
The Knife Went In
The language of prisoners teaches much about the dishonest fatalism of the underclass. “The knife just went in” is a murderers plea to do exactly as he chooses without being held responsible.
Goodbye, Cruel World
Overdose victims and attempted suicides are prevalent in welfare states where mindless entertainment and impulsive–often destructive–personal relationships cure boredom. Gestures towards death equal a way out of crisis.
Reader, She Married Him–Alas
Multiculturalists want a society where all cultural values are valid. Yet, allow everyone to rule as they please, we fall into anarchy and civil war. Groups can’t have individual rights. Absolute rule must reign.
After stabbing, strangling or merely striking their partners, violent men take an overdose for three reasons: to avoid a court appearance, apply emotional blackmail and present their rage as a medical condition.
It Hurts, Therefore I Am
Tattoos are a good indicator of a mind bent towards criminality.
Festivity and Menace
The Englishman may pursue his pleasure hotly, but once found, it should require zero mental contribution. In fact, it should blot out the memory of his life.
We Don’t Want No Education
In the wake of the English educational system failure, the underclass comes away with a profound aversion to anything that smacks of intelligence, education or culture.
The English underclass life is obsessed with the easily inflamed ego,the quick loss of temper, the violence, the scattering of illegitimate children and the self-exculpation by use of impersonal foul language.
The Heart of a Heartless World
In an age of relativism, random violence, unpunished crime and indifference, people seek certainty, transcendent meaning, refuge in divine law and community. Thus, the church.
There’s No Damned Merit In It
British underclass desires wealth but wishes to deny it to others. And among those methods of acquiring wealth they approve–gambling, dog races and bingo.
Choosing to Fail
There’s a mystery among the children of immigrants to England: some choose to succeed while others choose to fail. The operative word: choice.
Free to Choose
The chronic homeless suffer, but not for reasons we imagine. One man longed for premarital freedom and the joys of irresponsibility. So, he deserted his wife, child and job in favor of drinking all day.
What Is Poverty?
Perhaps a better description of the British underclass living conditions would be self-induced squalor.
Do Sties Make Pigs?
Public housing tenancy is to psychopaths what tenure is to academics: no better invitation to irresponsibility could possibly be imagined.
Lost in the Ghetto
Intelligent and curious people born in a slum cannot imagine a worse fate. It’s a long, slow torture. Boredom, persecution and suicide await.
And Dying Thus Around Us Every Day
Not surprising, the competence of public servants declines with the general level of education. But some demonstrate such a gross lack of common sense that something other than ignorance has to be at work.
The Rush from Judgment
The underclass use nonjudgmentalism as a prophylactic against learning from experience–God forbid that someone would appear judgmental over stupid.
What Causes Crime?
Crime is caused by a criminal who decides to commit it. No other way around it.
How Criminologists Foster Crime
Criminological writing generally conceives of criminals as objects: billiard balls responding mechanically to other billiard balls that impinge on them. Who can blame them for their social behavior?
Policemen in Wonderland
Britain’s new legions of ill-educated, uncouth and depraved young men can get away with anything short of murder because the police have lost the vision to reduce crime.
The British intellectual class has adopted the poor’s attitude to cops: they all suck. This attitude was forged from a combination of ignorance, dishonesty and fashion.
Seeing Is Not Believing
Violence, vulgarity and educational failure of modern English life are hard to deny. Yet, complacency and denial dominate intellectual liberals. Why? Tackling these issues would encroach on their drive for momentary pleasure.
So, tell me: ever read this book? Even if you haven’t, do you disagree with Dalrymple’s argument? Anything you’d like to add?
I loook forward to your thoughts.