I'm not all that wild about City Journal. It seems to be a bit too Neoconnish. Still, I do enjoy the articles written by Theodore Dalrymple. I especially enjoyed his The Quivering Upper Lip, The British character: from self-restraint to self-indulgence if only because I can steal from it.
Here is a couple of paragraphs extolling Brit character.
His piece praises the old Brits of all classes as models of class, but contrasts them today as people of no class.
No culture changes suddenly, and the elderly often retained the attitudes of their youth. I remember working for a short time in a general practice in a small country town where an old man called me to his house. I found him very weak from chronic blood loss, unable to rise from his bed, and asked him why he had not called me earlier. “I didn’t like to disturb you, Doctor,” he said. “I know you are a very busy man.”
From a rational point of view, this was absurd. What could I possibly need to do that was more important than attending to such an ill man? But I found his self-effacement deeply moving. It was not the product of a lack of self-esteem, that psychological notion used to justify rampant egotism; nor was it the result of having been downtrodden by a tyrannical government that accorded no worth to its citizens. It was instead an existential, almost religious, modesty, an awareness that he was far from being all-important.
Shallow fellow that I am, all I wish to use this for is another entry in The Short Dictionary of Politics. We shall take, self-esteem, that psychological notion used to justify rampant egotism and appropriate it with a slight change.
In this country, I knew we were going to end up homeschooling our kids when in First Grade the Dare officer gave out teddy bears in a self esteem raising exercise.
So how does it all work out among Les Anglais. According to Ted
Certainly, many Britons under the age of 30 or even 40 now embrace a kind of sub-psychotherapeutic theory that desires, if not unleashed, will fester within and eventually manifest themselves in dangerous ways. To control oneself for the sake of the social order, let alone for dignity or decorum (a word that would either mean nothing to the British these days, or provoke peals of laughter), is thus both personally and socially harmful.
I have spoken with young British people who regularly drink themselves into oblivion, passing first through a prolonged phase of public nuisance. To a man (and woman), they believe that by doing so, they are getting rid of inhibitions that might otherwise do them psychological and even physical harm. The same belief seems universal among those who spend hours at soccer games screaming abuse and making threatening gestures (whose meaning many would put into practice, were those events not policed in military fashion).