City Journal Summer 2014

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Summer 2014
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By Theodore Dalrymple

The New Vichy Syndrome: Why European Intellectuals Surrender to Barbarism.

Eye on the News

Theodore Dalrymple
How Societies Commit Suicide
Scots and Italians surrender to Islam.
17 August 2007

In an effort to ensure that no Muslim doctors ever again try to bomb Glasgow Airport, bureaucrats at Glasgow’s public hospitals have decreed that henceforth no staff may eat lunch at their desks or in their offices during the holy month of Ramadan, so that fasting Muslims shall not be offended by the sight or smell of their food. Vending machines will also disappear from the premises during that period.

Apparently the bureaucrats believe that the would-be bombers were demanding sandwich-free offices in Glasgow hospitals during Ramadan. This kind of absurdity is what happens when the highly contestable doctrine of multiculturalism becomes a career opportunity for the semi-educated and otherwise unemployable products of a grossly and unnecessarily swollen university system.

Meanwhile, the highest court in Italy was confirming an appeals court’s acquittal of the father and brother of a Muslim girl, whom they beat and locked up for becoming too Westernized—that is to say, for having a Western friend. The court ruled that, though they had undoubtedly beaten her and locked her up, this was not because of any culpable ill-feeling toward her. It was, rather, because of “her lifestyle, which did not conform to their culture.”

The sound of a civilization committing suicide can be heard in these stories; for civilizations collapse not because the barbarians are so strong, but because they themselves are so morally enfeebled.

UPDATE: The hospital boards in Scotland have denied the allegations against them, though they admit advising hospitals to consider avoiding working lunches during Ramadan if Muslims would normally participate in them, and to consider altering the route of lunch trolleys to accommodate “sensitive colleagues who adhere to the Muslim faith.” No hospital board, as far as I am aware, has ever advised that one should not eat pork in front of Jews, or beef in front of Hindus; the most likely explanation of the difference in the way religious sensibilities are treated by the hospital boards would appear to be fear. It is characteristic of pusillanimity that it does not recognize itself.

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