Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass

Theodore Dalrymple

Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass

Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass

  • Title: Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass
  • Author: Theodore Dalrymple
  • ISBN: null
  • Page: 414
  • Format: Kindle Edition

On the street, which was ankle deep in discarded fast food wrappings, I saw a woman who had pulled down her slacks and tied a pair of plastic breasts to her bare buttocks, while a man crawled after her on the sidewalk, licking them At midnight along this street with the sound of rock music pounding insistently out of club doors presided over by steroid inflated bouncersOn the street, which was ankle deep in discarded fast food wrappings, I saw a woman who had pulled down her slacks and tied a pair of plastic breasts to her bare buttocks, while a man crawled after her on the sidewalk, licking them At midnight along this street with the sound of rock music pounding insistently out of club doors presided over by steroid inflated bouncers, among men vomiting into the gutters I saw children as young as six, unattended by adults, waiting for their parents to emerge from their nocturnal recreations.The doctor and consultant psychiatrist Theodore Dalrymple looks at Great Britain the nation which produced Newton and Darwin, Shakespeare and Dickens, David Hume and Adam Smith and marvels at what it has become.Its inner cities and council estates are places where the whole gamut of human folly, wickedness, and misery may be perused at leisure abortions procured by abdominal kung fu children who have children women abandoned by the father of their child a month before or a month after delivery insensate jealousy serial stepfatherhood that leads to sexual and physical abuse of children on a mass scale This timeless and beautifully written collection of essays, looking at the collapse of the British way of life from an unashamedly conservative perspective, lays the blame squarely on the shoulders of the liberal intellectuals, who tend not to mean quite what they say, and express themselves to flaunt the magnanimity of their intentions than to propagate truth When a well known criminologist wrote that the normalisation of drug use is parallelled by the normalisation of crime , and criminal behaviour no longer required special explanation, he surely didn t mean that he wouldn t mind if his own children started to shoot up heroin or rob old ladies in the street Nor would he be indifferent to the intrusion of burglars into his own house.But, of course, it is the poor who are mugged and burgled, not the criminologists.The man s complacency was by no means unusual A few days earlier I had met a publisher for lunch, and the subject of the general level of culture and education in England came up The publisher is a cultivated man, widely read and deeply attached to literature, but I had difficulty in convincing him that there were grounds for concern That illiteracy and innumeracy were widespread did not worry him in the least, because he claimed they had always been just as widespread The fact that we now spent four times as much per head on education as we did 50 years ago and were therefore entitled to expect rising rates of literacy and numeracy at the very least did not in the slightest knock him off his perch He simply did not believe me when I told him that nine of ten young people between the ages of 16 and 20 whom I met in my practice could not read with facility and were incapable of multiplying six by nine, or that out of several hundreds of them I had asked when the Second World War took place, only three knew the answer He replied smoothly almost without the need to think, as if he had rehearsed the argument many times that his own son, age seven, already knew the dates of the war The trouble is, he said in all seriousness, your sample is biased True enough everyone s experience is founded upon a biased sample But it didn t occur to him to doubt whether his sample of one, the son of a publisher living in a neighbourhood where houses usually cost than 800,000 really constituted a refutation of my experience of hundreds of cases, an experience borne out by all serious research into the matter.

Recent Comments "Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass"

THE BRITISH UNDERCLASSDalrymple's great subject is the underclass – he's worked with them for years as a doctor in an inner city area and in prisons, he knows what he's talking about, this is a guy I respect, and he's thrusting before our horrified faces the terrible facts of the matter. He sounds like a right wing git half of the time but maybe I'm turning into a right wing git because mostly I think he's got it dead right but sometimes he's just like a slightly more intellectual Jeremy Clark [...]

You see. I’ve had a Dalrymple experience and it was like this. My doctor has his rooms in a Dalrymple part of town. Everybody who goes in looks like they’ve either just come out of a stretch, or they’ve just been sentenced to one…or might even on the run from one. The older women clearly all have sons whom they might even be visiting that very afternoon in the slammer. I’m the only one, I deduce, who has never set foot in gaol. Oh. There is that time I was put in gaol in Slovakia, but [...]

"If the doctor has a duty to relieve the suffering of his patients, he must have some idea where that suffering comes from, and this involves the retention of judgment, including moral judgment.And if, as far as he can tell in good faith, the misery of his patients derives from the way they live, he has a duty to tell them so—which often involves a more or less explicit condemnation of their way of life as completely incompatible with a satisfying existence. By avoiding the issue, the doctor i [...]

Dalrymple makes his points early on in the book, then spends the rest spewing countless anecdotes which supposedly prove them. Interesting stuff such as the passive phrases violent people use ("the knife went in") can't make up for the fact that the author is clearly out to put all the blame on 'progressives' and 'liberals'. He makes it seem like a kind of conspiracy: liberals were and are out to destroy society.A very tiresome read.

I probably wouldn’t have like this book if I had read it in California. I wasn’t exactly a bleeding-heart liberal, but I acted outraged when Bill Clinton reformed the welfare system. Only a heartless conservative would be against providing subsistence to the weak and the vulnerable. I had enough compassion in me, like any other yuppie, not to want to see those poor single moms thrown out in the cold. I couldn’t believe people had fallen for Ronald Reagan’s myth of Cadillac-driving welfar [...]

Uma das análises mais avassaladoras e aterradoras já escritas sobre a nossa época. O texto é, ao mesmo tempo, jornalístico e literário, e não é qualquer um quem o escreve: o autor, um médico que trabalha entre a subclasse inglesa (e não um intelectual em sua torre de marfim), fala com muito conhecimento de causa. Seu diagnóstico é preocupante. Dividido em duas partes — 1. A Realidade Sombria e 2. A Teoria Ainda Mais Sombria —, o livro poderia ser resumido na seguinte frase do aut [...]

Electrifying essays by a conservative thinker who has seen the urban poor up close in the UK's worst slums -- and is terrified by what the future holds!I'm giving this book five stars, not because I agree with all of it, but because Theodore Dalrymple is a brilliant writer and a master of persuasive logic. He's a distinctive voice among the daredevil conservative thinkers who rule the sky in that flamboyant Flying Circus of political commentary known as NATIONAL REVIEW magazine. Please understan [...]

Simplesmente, uma análise social avassaladora!Em muitos momentos fiquei confuso, pois não sabia se o autor estava falando da miséria moral experimentada pela Grã-Bretanha ou pelo Brasil.Recomendo!

Excellent book. Dalrymple (a pseudonym) is a British doctor (prison doctor and a psychiatrist in slum hospitals) who has worked in various slum, inner-city, and third-world conditions for decades. And he's a good writer. A great essayist. This book is made up of twenty-two essays describing the patterns of thought and worldview(s) of those in the "under class"--a class neither poor nor politically oppressed; yet, they live a "wretched existence nonetheless."Dalrymple obviously has a knack for th [...]

I find this really hard to give a star rating to because I completely disagree with his politics, yet I devoured the book and really enjoyed it - "hate reading" as @gbaker called it. Kind of a guilty pleasure like watching Jeremy Kyle (this book has a lot in common with that show).Anyway, I thought I'd list things that the author doesn't like:IntellectualsModernismThe sexual revolutionGovernmentBureaucratsPolice (well, not the concept, but how they are so politically correct these days)Political [...]

The UK is perhaps only a few years ahead of the US in seeing the consequences of the liberal ideology of redistribution, making criminals into victims, tying the hands of the police with political correctness, and condemning any sort of structured education or empirical testing. This book is along the lines of Thomas Sowell's works: a deep examination of socialist policies gone awry and their effects in creating, excusing, and funding an underclass at the cost of civilized society.

When fishing for book recommendations some time ago I've stumbled upon Life at Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass by Theodore Dalrymple. Now, having read it I wish I had bought and read it immediately instead of postponing it for almost a year.The book is a collection of essays dealing with the British underclass. The main theme or theory of the book is that the underclass is the underclass not because of economic factors, oppression or lack of opportunities but mostly because of it [...]


Theodore Dalrymple (Anthony Daniels) is a retired doctor and psychiatrist. In this book of essays he presents to us the view into the English underclass. I must say that I was terrified at what I read. I guess I have never imagined the extent to which England has sunk. Dalrymple covers everything from domestic abuse, addiction, poverty, education and many more topics. He gets deep into the causes of the development of the underclass. His essay on what is poverty is brilliant. This book will open [...]

I had hopes for this book. I regrettably however, only looked at the title before reading, thinking it would be a detailed testimony on what life is like in the slums. Instead, I was given to empty, and often times pretentious, rhetoric by a British gentleman who appears to be bitter over the apparent end of the British aristocracy. He woes over the foolish underclass—who, according to him, chose their condition completely out of their own volition— and their partying, their self-delusion, t [...]

A collection of Dalrymple's essay about the underclass in Britain—though I daresay America is not far from seeing the same situation becoming widespread as well. His diagnosis is grim, his prescription surely one that will not be undertaken, for isn't it cruel and judgmental to suggest that children (and parents and teachers) take education seriously, that women are not chattel (in England, mind you—England! The nation that once responded furiously to women throwing themselves upon their hus [...]

The whole book is driving the point home of personal responsibility. Much like I WILL NOT take responsibility for my abuse of alcohol and my unwillingness to change my situation out of mind blowing laziness and apathy, Dalrymple argues a lot of this is my own choice?!?! What an asshole!!! He is harshing my buzz He states that a lot of this originates from academia and most from Liberal thought and blaming "the system" rather than "the self". As if!!! The idea that instead of a murderer murdering [...]

Life at the Bottom is a point of view from a hospital psychiatrist in the slums of England. He writes of his observations, then his professional opinion on the matter. The book is divided into two parts. The first seems to be based heavily on observation which is then backed by opinion. The second seems to be written in reverse, more heavily based on opinion backed with observation.The doctor takes a conservative stand point, and can sometimes seem cynical in some of his written thoughts. This m [...]

This was a very disturbing book, one of the most honest looks at England's underclass. Dr. Theodore Dalrymple has a very real-life look into the world he describes so eloquently in his life as a doctor in a slum district. The similarities with American life are startling. I was also surprised that his stories of addicts and people caught in the system resemble people I have dealt with in my supposedly "insulated" suburban private school. The decline of society cannot be denied but just like the [...]

An incomparable essayist with insight and unique experienceDalrymple writes fantastic prose and offers insight into modern life through the lens of a doctor serving the British "underclass." Bracing.

Reading Dalrymple's Life at the Bottom was like going to McDonalds with Margaret Thatcher and having her constantly whispering in your ear while pointing rudely at strangers, 'Oh, aren't they awful, look at their table manners, oh how ghastly!' Now, while Margaret might be right, there might be a bit of lettuce saturated with orange sauce hanging out of a spotty teenager's oily mouth, and you might indeed be repulsed by it, but after her diatribe you will be determined that you see the dining et [...]

He lost me at the point where he sneers at the Guardian's characterization of Puff Daddy as one of America's greatest mindsJust as there is said to be no correct grammar or spelling, so there is no higher or lower culture: difference itself is the only recognized distinction. This is a view peddled by intellectuals eager to demonstrate to one another their broad-mindedly democratic sentiment. For example, the newspaper that is virtually the house journal of Britain's liberal intelligentsia, the [...]

Nessa obra, Theodore Dalrymple, partindo de sua experiência concreta, quando não crua, demonstra as raízes morais e espirituais da miséria urbana, em contraposição direta aos discursos progressistas que atribuem, ad nauseam, as causas a conceitos hipostatizados como "sociedade" ou "conflitos de interesse". Mais do que simples ensaios sobre a decadência cultural do Ocidente, Dalrymple traça quadros nítidos do falhanço dos ideais iluministas e dos efeitos deletérios das proposições ac [...]

Very interesting collection of essays though very depressing, too. A look into the patterns of thought that trap people in an underclass, and why they perpetuate their downfall. What makes it more interesting (from an American standpoint) is that, in discussing the problems of a mostly urban underclass in Great Britain, we are mostly removing the troublesome question of race from the equation, which allows one to look to the roots of the problem of the underclass of and by itself.Worth reading, [...]

It appears to me that Mr. Dalrymple is somewhat of a traditionalist, or perhaps more accurately, vehemently opposed to postmodern deconstructionist ideas. I think the text shines more brightly when he begins to dictate on the nature of responsibility, cause-and-effect(As he put it when mentioning the state of lower-class housing; does the pig make the stye, or the stye make the pig?), and the nature of so called 'victim blaming', and whether avoiding judgement altogether is truly one's best cour [...]

Bílá lůza – Anglie, jak ji neznášPředností Ztraceni v Ghettu od Theodore Dalrymple jsou očitá svědectví autora - lékaře pracujícího v nemocnici, která stojí v oblasti s vysokou nezaměstnaností. Zároveň pracuje ve věznici. Z každodenního střetávání se s anglickou spodinou - hlavně tou bělošskou - autor předkládá obvinění určená liberálům ze střední třídy. Zvyšující se zločinnost v Británii šla ruku v ruce s nárůstem studentů kriminologie, v [...]

Lots of food for thought in this series of essays on poverty and the underclass in Britain. His ideas could cover any western country, including Australia. Theodore Dalrymple is a doctor and columnist. He has a weekly column in the London Spectator, in which he specialises in skewering sacred cows, especially those held by the so-called chattering classes. But it's not as if he is talking through his hat - as a doctor he has worked with many underprivileged communities, both in England and Afric [...]

Brilliant! I love Dalrymple's prose, and especially his message. Beautifully written, and eloquently argued that we must choose to be responsible for our lives. He exploration of the effects that some ideas have on the behavior of the underclass was fascinating. It did leave me wondering about the curious relationship between how the upperclass will imitate lower classes, and I have to assume that this plagiarism runs both ways, though Dalrymple only looks at the tendency of British society to s [...]

I have read bits and pieces of Dalrymple's writings; however, reading his essays one after another is a tight punch to the gut. I was saddened about how people had become stratified through a belief that kept them dependent. Many of the problems-- disdain for education, irresponsibility, and abuse-- could be fixed with a change of attitude. Sad and scary.

Life at the Bottom – by Theodore DalrympleTheodore Dalrymple’s Life at the Bottom is about the worldview of the British underclass and the liberal intellectuals and middleclass who support it. His arguments are 1) that the poverty of the underclass is caused by their negative worldview and 2) that liberal intellectualism created and supports this worldview. The book is divided into two parts: Grim Reality and Grim Theory, each divided further into chapters. In the first part, the author prov [...]

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    Published :2019-02-11T01:03:22+00:00