Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Read Theodore Dalrymple’s “Life at the Bottom” online for free

I want to recommend that you read a book that is available online for free.

The author  is a psychiatrist in a British hospital that deals with a lot of criminals and victims of crime. So he gets to see the worldview of the “underclass” up close, and to understand how the policies of the compassionate secular left are really working at the street level. The theme of the book is that the left advances policies in order to feel good about themselves, even though the policies actually hurt the poor and vulnerable far more than they help them. And the solution of the elites is more of the same.

The whole book is available ONLINE for free! From City Journal!

Table of Contents

The Knife Went In 5
Goodbye, Cruel World 15
Reader, She Married Him–Alas 26
Tough Love 36
It Hurts, Therefore I Am 48
Festivity, and Menace 58
We Don’t Want No Education 68
Uncouth Chic 78
The Heart of a Heartless World 89
There’s No Damned Merit in It 102
Choosing to Fail 114
Free to Choose 124
What Is Poverty? 134
Do Sties Make Pigs? 144
Lost in the Ghetto 155
And Dying Thus Around Us Every Day 167
The Rush from Judgment 181
What Causes Crime? 195
How Criminologists Foster Crime 208
Policemen in Wonderland 221
Zero Intolerance 233
Seeing Is Not Believing 244

Lots more essays are here, all from City Journal.

My favorite passage

The only bad thing about reading it online is that you miss one of the best quotes from the introduction. But I’ll type it out for you.

The disastrous pattern of human relationships that exists in the underclass is also becoming common higher up the social scale. With increasing frequency I am consulted by nurses, who for the most part come from and were themselves traditionally members of (at least after Florence Nightingale) the respectable lower middle class, who have illegitimate children by men who first abuse and then abandon them. This abuse and later abandonment is usually all too predictable from the man’s previous history and character; but the nurses who have been treated in this way say they refrained from making a judgment about him because it is wrong to make judgments. But if they do not make a judgment about the man with whom they are going to live and by whom they are going to have a child, about what are they ever going to make a judgment?

“It just didn’t work out,” they say, the “it” in question being the relationship that they conceive of having an existence independent of the two people who form it, and that exerts an influence on their on their lives rather like an astral projection. Life is fate.

This is something I run into myself. I think that young people today prefer moral relativists as mates, because they are afraid of being judged and rejected by people who are too serious about religion and morality. The problem is that if you choose someone who doesn’t take religion and morality seriously, then you can’t rely on them to behave morally and exercise spiritual leadership when raising children. And being sexually involved with someone who doesn’t take morality seriously causes a lot of damage.

An excerpt

Here’s one of my favorite passages from “Tough Love”, in which he describes how easily he can detect whether a particular man has violent tendencies on sight, whereas female victims of domestic violence – and even the hospital nurses – will not recognize the same signs.

All the more surprising is it to me, therefore, that the nurses perceive things differently. They do not see a man’s violence in his face, his gestures, his deportment, and his bodily adornments, even though they have the same experience of the patients as I. They hear the same stories, they see the same signs, but they do not make the same judgments. What’s more, they seem never to learn; for experience—like chance, in the famous dictum of Louis Pasteur—favors only the mind prepared. And when I guess at a glance that a man is an inveterate wife beater (I use the term “wife” loosely), they are appalled at the harshness of my judgment, even when it proves right once more.

This is not a matter of merely theoretical interest to the nurses, for many of them in their private lives have themselves been the compliant victims of violent men. For example, the lover of one of the senior nurses, an attractive and lively young woman, recently held her at gunpoint and threatened her with death, after having repeatedly blacked her eye during the previous months. I met him once when he came looking for her in the hospital: he was just the kind of ferocious young egotist to whom I would give a wide berth in the broadest daylight.

Why are the nurses so reluctant to come to the most inescapable of conclusions? Their training tells them, quite rightly, that it is their duty to care for everyone without regard for personal merit or deserts; but for them, there is no difference between suspending judgment for certain restricted purposes and making no judgment at all in any circumstances whatsoever. 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. Since it is scarcely possible to recognize a wife beater without inwardly condemning him, it is safer not to recognize him as one in the first place.

This failure of recognition is almost universal among my violently abused women patients, but its function for them is somewhat different from what it is for the nurses. The nurses need to retain a certain positive regard for their patients in order to do their job. But for the abused women, the failure to perceive in advance the violence of their chosen men serves to absolve them of all responsibility for whatever happens thereafter, allowing them to think of themselves as victims alone rather than the victims and accomplices they are. Moreover, it licenses them to obey their impulses and whims, allowing them to suppose that sexual attractiveness is the measure of all things and that prudence in the selection of a male companion is neither possible nor desirable.

Often, their imprudence would be laughable, were it not tragic: many times in my ward I’ve watched liaisons form between an abused female patient and an abusing male patient within half an hour of their striking up an acquaintance. By now, I can often predict the formation of such a liaison—and predict that it will as certainly end in violence as that the sun will rise tomorrow.

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.

Go read the rest!

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Venezuela orders soldiers armed with assault rifles to impose price controls

Venezuela: price controls don't work

Assault weapons vs Amazon and Ebay: socialism in practice

From the left-leaning USA Today.

Excerpt:

 Thousands of Venezuelans lined up outside the country’s equivalent of Best Buy, a chain of electronics stores known as Daka, hoping for a bargain after the socialist government forced the company to charge customers “fair” prices.

President Nicolás Maduro ordered a military “occupation” of the company’s five stores as he continues the government’s crackdown on an “economic war” it says is being waged against the country, with the help of Washington.

Members of Venezuela’s National Guard, some of whom carried assault rifles, kept order at the stores as bargain hunters rushed to get inside.

[...]Images circulating online as well as reports by local media appeared to show one Daka store in the country’s central city of Valencia being looted.

“I have no love for this government,” said Gabriela Campo, 33, a businesswoman, hoping to take home a cut-price television and fridge. “They’re doing this for nothing but political reasons, in time for December’s elections.”

Maduro faces municipal elections on Dec. 8. His popularity has dropped significantly in recent months, with shortages of basic items such as chicken, milk and toilet paper as well as soaring inflation, at 54.3% over the past 12 months.

Economists are expecting a devaluation soon after the election, likely leading to even higher inflation.

This will surely encourage more businesses to come to Venezuela to create jobs, and compete with other businesses in order to lower prices and increase quality for consumers. Oh wait, no it won’t. It’s just going to causes businesses to scale back, expand in other countries, and go out of business entirely – taking jobs with them.

The real face of communism

The real face of communism

Earlier, Venezuela nationalized some oil drilling plants, as well:

Petroleos de Venezuela SA, the state oil company, seized about $1 million worth of equipment from Superior Energy Services Inc. (SPN:US), the Houston-based company said.

PDVSA expropriated two hydraulic units that were idled after the Caracas-based company missed payments, Greg Rosenstein, head of corporate development, said by phone from New Orleans. The units operated in eastern Venezuela’s Anzoategui state, Associated Press reported Nov. 1.

[...]Under President Hugo Chavez, who died of cancer in March, Venezuela initiated a nationalization process, seizing assets from companies including Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM:US) and ConocoPhillips. (COP:US)

Schlumberger Ltd. (SLB:US), the world’s largest oil-services company, said in March it would reduce work in Venezuela because of mounting overdue payments from PDVSA. Schlumberger subsequently reached an agreement and announced on May 24 that it would provide a $1 billion rolling credit for a joint venture in Venezuela.

That will encourage oil companies to come to Venezuela and pay royalties to the government, and give jobs to more Venezuelans. Oh wait, no it won’t. It’s just going to cause companies to scale back their investments, expand in other countries, stop hiring, lay off more people, and pull out of Venezuela. I’m sorry but this is standard leftist economic policy.

Are Barack Obama and Hugo Chavez very different?

Are Barack Obama and Hugo Chavez very different?

Remember the last time that Venezuela seized privately-owned oil companies? They eventually had a nice explosion at the oil drilling facility, because the government doesn’t know how to run a business better than the people who created that business. You can see it today here, as Obama nationalizes the health care industry and tries to substitute his own web site. He thinks he knows how to create web sites. The man who has never run so much as a lemonade stand in his entire life, and is an authority on how to read a teleprompter and play golf. You do NOT put people like this is in charge of the economy.

Comparing Chile to Argentina and Venezuela

Comparing Chile to Argentina and Venezuela

The strange thing is that the economies of Chile embraced free market capitalism, free trade, private property, and the rule of law. Unlike Venezuela and Argentina, they are doing vastly better economically. Look at that chart, which I got from libertarian economist Dan Mitchell. You can’t refute that, because economics is real. No one can hide from the facts.

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UK business owner on trial for tackling burglars on his own property

From the UK Daily Mail. (H/T Dina)

Excerpt:

A businessman who confronted a burglar raiding his premises appeared in court yesterday accused of attacking him.

Andrew Woodhouse, 43, was chasing thieves off his property when he claims one of them ‘came at’ him with a wooden stick.

Father-of-five Woodhouse allegedly used the stick to injure the man’s legs before holding him down while his wife called the police.

But when officers arrived they arrested Woodhouse and held him in a cell for 18 hours.

He appeared at Newport Crown Court yesterday charged with grievous bodily harm with intent which has a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

Andrew Taylor, defending, said: ‘Mr Woodhouse apprehended two of the burglars at his tyre depot.

‘It happened after two or three men decided they were going to remove a large quantity of diesel from his premises.

‘Mr Woodhouse has been interviewed by police and has provided a full explanation about what happened.

‘There is a CCTV recording of the incident and we are waiting to see the footage.’

[...]Woodhouse was in bed with his wife Lisa at their detached home in the village of Govilon, near Abergavenny, when his burglar alarm went off at about 12.30am.

[...]Woodhouse drove to his business premises where the alleged assault happened.

[...]His wife Lisa said her husband was prepared to go through the legal process to clear his name.

She said: ‘But I fail to see where there was any intent on Andrew’s part.

‘He didn’t intend to get up in the middle of the night to assault anyone. All he did was protect his property.

‘People may think he took the law into his own hands but what was he supposed to do, stand by and watch?’

Woodhouse employs six staff including two of his sons at the family business, which was set up 20 years ago.

The firm has lost £15,000 in recent years to thefts of diesel and tools.

Two fuel thieves who stole £50 worth of diesel from Woodhouse’s premises on the night of the alleged assault have been dealt with in court.

Timothy Cross, 31, and Kevin Green, 52, took two jerry cans of diesel from Woodhouse’s tyre depot in Abergavenny.

Cross and Green both admitted theft and were fined £75 by Cwmbran magistrates.

People sometimes wonder why I think that the UK is the most wussified country in the world. This is not an arbitrary opinion that I hold. The UK is a nanny state, where the people in charge treat men as if they are toddlers in day care. This country has the least respect for men and male nature of any country that I am aware of at this time. I don’t see how you could be a man and be comfortable living in a society that basically criminalizes the righteous use of force against evil. It’s so strange to me when I hear complaints from UK women about how men are not taking responsibility any more, or making commitments, or being ambitious. Well, here’s a little newsflash for you. If you treat men like children and resent them using force to defend their homes and businesses, then you are discouraging manliness. The kinds of men you will get then are wussified, feminized men who attempt nothing and defend nothing.

I was having a conversation with a friend of mine who lives in the UK recently. She was explaining to me how women who are under a certain age are given government housing if they have babies out-wedlock. What kind of message is that sending? It is telling young women that men are optional, and that they don’t have to choose men wisely in order to get one who can do the provider role. So on the one hand, men are punished by the state for protecting, and on the other, they are punished by the state for providing. The state taxes men with jobs to subsidize the losers who get sex without having to commit first. And I know that young women often prefer these men because they don’t want a man who has authority from having a job to tell them what to do. (See here for some examples)

The UK has been trying to undermine and replace men who perform the traditional male roles for decades. The role of protecting has been demonized by punishing men who protect their families and businesses. The role of providing has been marginalized through higher taxes, socialized medicine and welfare benefits. And moral and spiritual leadership have been dismantled with pervasive moral relativism, multicultaralism and secularism. Everything that a strong, virtuous man could do to be recognized has been marginalized and discredited by the socialist, feminist government of the UK. UK women have no right to complain now when men act like children – they caused it by punishing men who were only doing what good men are supposed to do in any good society.

Just 70 years ago we lived in the time of British heroes like Eric “Digger” Dowling, Guy Gibson, Douglas Bader, Patrick Reid and Tommy McPherson. I learned from watching World War 2 movies as a child that British men were courageous and fierce, and able to defend Western civilization from tyranny with force, if necessary. Now all that is going, going, gone thanks to the British socialist welfare state. Men do understand what messages the feminist welfare state is sending by subsidizing single motherhood, taxing men more when their wives stay home, criminalizing self-defense and capitalism, arresting military heroes for owning handguns, discriminating against boys in schools that are dominated by women, and so on. Men understand the message that’s being sent there, and they do adjust.

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Former soldiers arrested by UK police for defending their business from burglar

So this news story from the UK Daily Mail should come as no surprise to anyone who reads British writers like Theodore Dalrymple or James Hannan or Peter Hitchens.

Excerpt:

Two men were dragged to court for apprehending a Romanian they caught burgling their business.

A nine-month ordeal ended for Steven Iliffe, 54, and son Daniel, 26, yesterday when a judge threw out the case against them.

They had begged police to go on a roof to arrest career criminal Petre Ilie.

But officers were barred by their superiors, via their radio, due to health and safety rules.

Eventually, the father and son, both former soldiers, went on the roof themselves to tackle the armed man.

They were stunned when the police later arrested them on suspicion of attempted murder – and later charged them with the lesser offence of causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

Yesterday, the pair said they were considering legal action against Leicestershire Police.

Mr Iliffe senior said he had suffered a heart attack in a cell triggered by the stress of his arrest at their scrap metal business in Hinckley, Leicestershire, last December.

He added: ‘We had suffered a string of burglaries and went up onto that roof only because the police had refused to do so.’

The criminal is in the country illegally, too:

Leicester Crown Court was told yesterday that Ilie, 39, already had ‘a number of convictions for burglary, failing to surrender and breaching court orders’ in the UK under the name Christopher Tudor.

In 2010 he was deported but sneaked back into the UK.

He was then arrested again alongside the Iliffes.

I hope that the United States doesn’t ever get to the point where the government prevents law-abiding citizens from defending themselves from criminals. The UK is a very liberal country, so they are very much into the idea that evil is good, and good is evil, so that everyone is “equal” and liberals can feel compassionate.

I know that formerly liberal countries like Canada have been pushing back hard against crime, with measures like abolishing the long gun registry, a tough “omnibus” crime bill, and renewed protections for self-defense. I guess that’s why their crime rates are at a 40-year low. Canada is serious about stopping crime. They do what works, and then they get the results that they expect to get.

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Which culture condones killing young girls or throwing acid in their faces?

Here’s a story from the UK Daily Mail. (H/T Blazing Cat Fur)

Excerpt:

A 10-year-old schoolgirl died after being shot as she was walking home from a bible study class in Egypt.

Jessi Boulus died from the single shot to the chest as she made her way through the streets of Cairo on Tuesday.

Her death is yet another example of rising tensions against Christians in the country after supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood started to target Egypt’s Christian minority, holding them partly responsible for his removal.

Jessi’s mother told the BBC News she believes her daughter was targeted due to her religion.

‘She was my best friend, my everything. Jessi was just becoming a young woman,’ she said.

‘Every woman dreams of becoming a mother, and for 10 years I was lucky enough to be a mum. I’ll miss Jessi calling me mum – I know I won’t ever hear it again.’

Jessi’s father told the website: ‘Jessi was everything to us. Her killers didn’t know that Jessi was my life – my future. They killed our future. I lived for her. We both did.’

Her parents said that they had noticed rising tensions in recent months and had discussed emigrating but had decided to stay in Egypt as it was their home.

In April, a Muslim mob attacked the main cathedral of the Coptic Orthodox Church as Christians held a funeral and protested there over four Christians killed in sectarian violence the day before.

Pope Tawadros II publicly blamed Morsi for failing to protect the building.

Egyptian security forces stood by during a brutal attack on Coptic Christians in Luxor days after Mohamed Morsi’s removal, according to Amnesty International.

During the 18-hour-long attack on 5 July, the security forces left six besieged Coptic Christian men – four of whom were then killed and one hospitalised – to the mercy of an angry crowd.

An angry mob armed with metal bars, knives, tree branches and hammers attacked Christian homes and businesses in Nagah Hassan, 11 miles west of Luxor, after the dead body of a Muslim man was discovered near the homes of Christian families.

Despite local residents’ and religious leaders’ repeated calls for help, security forces on the scene made only half-hearted attempts to end the violence and sufficient reinforcements failed to arrive.

And another story from the leftist BBC.

Excerpt:

The Zanzibar government has offered a reward of 10m Tanzanian shillings (£3,970; $6,170) for information leading to the capture of attackers who threw acid at two UK women, police say.

Kirstie Trup and Katie Gee, both 18 and from London, had acid thrown on their faces, chests and hands.

The island’s Police Commissioner Musa Ali Musa told the BBC that there was “no prime suspect” for the attack.

He said that a lot of people had been questioned and information gathered.

However no-one has been arrested or charged and investigations are continuing, Mr Musa said.

[...]The two young Britons, who were volunteering for the charity Art in Tanzania, have been flown back to the UK.

Previously I wrote about Islamic child sex-trafficking and Islamic gang rape.

I post these stories because it’s become fashionable in certain circles to condemn “judging”. Everybody wants to be liked these days, and that means being “tolerant” and seeing all views and cultures as equally valid. Even Christains are taken in by it, extolling the virtues of not judging anyone, and judging people who do think that evil really is evil.

When you meet someone who says that it is wrong to judge, show them these news stories.

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