City Journal Winter 2016

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Winter 2016
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Theodore Dalrymple
When Predators Don’t Prey « Back to Story

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Not to defend the French official, but "almost predatory" implies not predatory; your comments, then, seem to suggest that you agree with him, that is, that the relatively low tax rates in Ireland does not constitute predation.

Accepting the analogy between government taxation and mugging that you provide, however, one might quite rationally disagree with both you and the French official and say that, though the predation of the Irish government on its citizenry (that is, taking a proportion of another's profit for no other reason than that it is another's profit) is indeed relatively mild, this is not quite to say that there is no predation in Ireland.

I think that the problem is more the speaking in metaphorical terms when ostensibly trying to convey a precise meaning than the attempting to define what is is for a government to be deemed predatory.
The misuse of the word 'obscene' is one that I find to be a favourite of the Toronto (that's the centre of the universe of course) politically correct. Anything that offends a personal sensibility is obscene- a tax law might be obscene or the price of an Aegean cruise very likely would be obscene. However the antics, gestures and scantity of decency seen at a Gay Pride Parade could not be considered obscene but my unwillingness to attend such an orgy of grotesque self indulgence would be considered the most obscene evidence of prejudice. I have a healthy respect for the threat of the predator, if not for the predator himself since, living in a city of more than a million, there are any number of them out to maim, kill, rape and so on. The wolves and the coyotes that I hear at night nearby take only the too trusting cat or lure away a gullible and naive poodle to a quick end. I wouldn't say that either group of predators is necessarily obscene. I believe the word is used to register a maximum of disgust, which is often necessary to an outburst of maudlin, sentimentality. The speaker wishes me to see how deeply she is affected and how very sensitive and caring she is. Much more so than I obviously, as I do not find such things obscene. I am so lacking in the finer nuances and depths of emotion that I find almost all of mine are easily controlled with a brisk dose of rational thought . So much so that looking for a greeting card is more arduous than it should be. I don't expect to ever meet anyone for whom I will feel such an extravagant outpouring of sentiment and I would be quite horrified to meet anyone who genuinely felt that way about me.

My old Scottish Granny would find there was nothing to be proud of in the Gay Parade and not much gaiety probably. In fact she would probably think that they were mentally ill or very badly brought up. But she would have a pretty clear idea of what the words lewd, obscene and predatory meant and wouldn't use them out of context. If anyone had accused her of being discriminatory she would have replied that she thanked God that he had given her the native wit to discriminate or else how else would she make the wise choices that He required of her.
It just goes to show that what every nationalist bureaucrat throughout the EU really wants is for their own feather-bedded nest to be protected against free competition from others. The pity is that can't be honest enough to say so.