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Theodore Dalrymple
“Justice” Comes to Islington « Back to Story

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Theodore Dalrymple can see a similar experiment done in the 1970's in Redfern, Sydney Australia. The socialist government gave a refurbished, at tax payers expense, area to aboriginals. Ten years later they had to refurbish it again. It has been ghettoized with its own laws. The whites with guilt first and in the future fear provide the layabouts a right royal life and freedom to philosophize their view of right as god ordained just like spoiled brats.
'heritage he cherishes.'

The heritage he claims to cherish.
I condemn much of the writer's output that pours scorn on the cultural heritage of the working class. The same working class that built and embellished the heritage he cherishes. Even the architects of the past were regarded as little more than tradesmen. But this piece I have to admire. as an architect.
ExOttoyuhr,

Define 'Victorian'. The VIctorians had no problem building aesthetically pleasing, architecturally competent, sometimes even beautiful buildings for their 'social outcasts'. Take a look at the mental asylums. The grounds were truly something to behold. Of course, in Birmingham, a delightful city in the British MIdlands, they razed them to the ground in the name of the 'Care in the Community' programme (between the years 1990 and 2005: do I see a correlation there?)

'or as a test of sociological theories about graffiti.'

You may want to reread the article. This is something Dalrymple himself inferred:


'From a casual study of what one might call the epidemiology of graffiti, I think that even supposedly antisocial types are capable of aesthetic discrimination. Ive noticed that, on the whole, they confine their efforts to the brutal concrete or otherwise hideous surfaces of the modern urban environment and leave architecturally meritorious buildings and surfaces alone, even in otherwise grim areas. In other words, their graffiti are an aesthetic commentary, albeit an unconscious one, on the world in which they live.'

This is what he thinks of his former patients and he is projecting this onto future tenants of this particular group of council houses.
Farewell Angelina:

I know that it's a type of council housing, but most council housing isn't constructed in Victorian styles or as a test of sociological theories about graffiti.
Farewell Angelina January 18, 2013 at 1:19 AM
'Is there any official website or documentation for this experiment? Better, does anyone know if it has an official name, and if so, what it is? I'm not finding much on Google...'

Why would there be? It's called council housing and it's been around since the beginning of the 20th century.

Google that.
Is there any official website or documentation for this experiment? Better, does anyone know if it has an official name, and if so, what it is? I'm not finding much on Google...

The experiment sounds worth following, for precisely the reasons Dalrymple enumerates as its advantages. If this delivers, we'll have sociological arguments against Le Courbousier and his school -- that "sties make pigs," and that their style of architecture qualifies as sties.

It's already true that that sensibility of architecture is hideous and destructive, of course, but those whose aesthetic sense has been educated away might benefit a great deal from such statistics.
BobJustBob,

How about VA section 8 Housing? Do you object to that? If so, why?
"In the US this is called Section 8"

No, it isn't. It really isn't.

Google is your friend.

And check out the meaning of the word 'liberal' while you're at it.
In the US this is called Section 8. It's a form of Cargo Cultism. Liberals always get Cause and Effect wrong.

This will end badly.
Hi Tom. Islington is Labour-run, isn't it? So I expect the program is currently being fronted by useful idiots who will disappear with broken ideals in the next year or two in favour of jobsworths. Who will be Labour luvvies, won't they? And therefore venal, self-serving and entitled. Isn't that how these things usually go?
We're not in the US, are we? So your perspective is skewed. It was Margaret Thatcher, back in 1979, who asserted the need for a 'home owning democracy.' Are you suggesting that she was motivated by 'An obvious belief in "sympathetic magic". If so, I'd like to see some evidence for this.
An obvious belief in "sympathetic magic". By putting the poor in higher class housing, you'll magically make them higher class.

It'll work as well as government efforts to increase home ownership among poor people worked here in the U.S. THAT experiment led to the 2008 housing oollapse.
JA,

Are you familiar with the care in the community programme- in both our countries? Dalrymple should be painfully familiar with that.

Did you know that many ex servicemen, many of them were great warriors on the battlefield and yet failures in civilian life? Many men in prison are ex servicemen. Many end up unemployed.

We generally need more foot soldiers than generals. Sorry but that's the cold. brutal reality.

Care to justify that?
Most denizens of the social underclass are inhabit that social stratum because of their behavior, attitude and poor individual decision making.
Just look at the formerly very nice residential areas of NYC where the underclass moved in and totally destroyed the homes in the area.
Also, a very good example are the Indian Reservations where the US govt. built or had built homes there and the Indians basically tore them apart for firewood.
The world has always been populated by those who wish to succeed and will strive to achieve their goals and those who simply are too indolent, lazy and yes, arrogant to do anything at all.
Yes, there are folks who genuinely have hit hard times and need a helping hand, but I will estimate that this very needy, deserving group constitutes no more than 30% to 50% of those on the dole. The remainder simply believe that society "owes" them a livelihood.
'BRL... January 02, 2013 at 10:36 PM
Giving the 'poor' middle class housing and expecting this will change them into middle class...'

Now, that would be catastrophic. Where would the military recruit from then?

'Most squaddies come from council estates.'

David Starkey, right wing academic.
Take a look at the Cadbury Trust and see how successful such projects can be.

Just a technical polnt: council housing in the UK is NOTHING like government project housing in the U.S. of A. It was actually enthusiastically supported/funded by the Tory party in the first half of the twentieth century. Before Margaret Thatcher's Administration introduced the 'right to buy' scheme in 1979, 49% of the population was accommodated by their local councils.
Grandma - I'm willing to bet you. Do you have any reason to think Islington Council has allocated them in a corrupt manner, other then just a vague assumption that all officials are corrupt?
Grandma,
I am sure that Dalrymple never expected anyone to describe him as naive!
How amazing!
You might be right!
I hesitate to accuse you of naivety, but the corruption and patronage to which you refer was and is almost certainly the real objective of the project. Anyone willing to bet me that within a couple of years this housing will be occupied by authority members / staff and their friends?
"In other words, their graffiti are an aesthetic commentary, albeit an unconscious one, on the world in which they live."

I guess I disagree with that statement considering that in the city of Oakland California where there is a new and exquisite Cathedral of Christ the Light, whose photos don't even capture it, the Occupiers did graffiti the cathedral during their riots, aided by the passivity of the liberal mayor. Now maybe they did a lower level supporting concrete wall. My guess is that, even though common people for years had been putting their dollars into a basket and those were collected and with other donations went to build the cathedral, and it is a credit to Oakland, and a tourist attraction, that Occupiers saw it as "establishment" and therefore were willing to deface it.

Like Camelot and the destruction of the Round Table, if it is true or if it is a story, when mobs are influenced by evil and are ugly, they hate the beautiful and get joy out of destroying it.

Look at those Indian slum dwellers who gang raped the pretty young 23 year old female physiotherapy student in India, (in whose honor Madonna dedicated a striptease dance). They took an iron bar to her, beating her around the head causing brain damage, and reaming out her insides and destroying her intestines, and female organs, and throwing her from a moving vehicle after stripping her and her companion(fiance) who had also been beaten, stripped and thrown out of the bus, such that she died from her injuries. The men had created a conspiracy and planned it, leaving it up to chance as to which woman they would attack. She was not rich and from a high caste. She came from a poor lower caste Hindu rural family from a village who sold their land to pay for her schooling so that she could lift the family up. She was engaged to be married. All the men knew was that she looked like she had it together.
Make no mistake about it, this is a tax on the middle-class. Here in Manhattan, rent-control and zoning-rules are the primary drivers of sky-high rents and property values. The middle-class who want to live here are paying a huge premium because there are lower-class getting free subsidized apartments. The middle-class are too confounded to realize that they are directly negatively-impacted and thus, buy into Democratic electioneering about how Republicans are only for the rich when it's actually Democratic policies which are costing them dearly
This is only justice insofar as you believe that one's wealth is independent of hard work/talent/contribution to society.

Calling this justice implies that the rich are randomly selected to be rich and therefore, now the poor are getting their fair share. Try telling that to doctors who spent years studying and in residence. Or entrepreneurs who risked their entire fortune and waking moments on their business.
as the underclass move in the area will decline and wealth generators will leave - destroying the area completely. Or maybe not.
I recall reading about people arriving at what later were called the "projects" in Chicago, at how wonderful they thought the brand new apartments were, how great it was going to be living there.

The reality, of course, turned out to be very very different - and we've all heard lots about the reasons why. I recall seeing one of these places as part of the efforts to relocate the residents prior to its demolition. In addition to the graffiti, the smell - urine, waste, the decades of cooking odors - was awful. One of the empty apartments was being used to house stray dogs, including puppies - you can only imagine the smell.

But what did go wrong? Why, in the United States at least did the efforts at public housing go so badly - and what does it bode for the units that this article describes? I recall the claim that people will not take care of what they are handed for free, and retain only leasehold rights to, as if ownership meant all the difference in the world. Plus one of the reasons you can't have an honest conversation about the reasons why public housing in the United States didn't work, why it led to communities where degraded living conditions, including crime and drugs - is that Democratic media in the US has imposed a political correctness standard on whatever you say.

My own view is that Democratic destruction of the family made all the difference, that children brought up by a mother or grandmother i.e. absent a father as a group don't internalize enough of the socialization necessary to exist in society - not when such families are by far the norm. Other people will have different reasons, but that's my view - along with the fact that those in charge want to keep it that way since it leads to more power for them.

All this as a ruondabout way of saying that based on the American experience with public housing these projects don't have much of a future. Maybe things in the UK are different, but it all sounds doomed from the start. How are these people going to afford to make repairs and renovations? Why would the gov't in the UK think that it makes a difference what the place looks like? In fact, has the UK experience with public housing been similar to that of the US?
You can dress a monkey in silk but he is still a monkey--you can take the boy out of theslum but can you take the slum out of the boy?Distribution of the "goodies" will cause more politics of envy!
Re: Ken Puck -- "The poor are wretches who foul their own nest no matter where they light. They are poor simply because they lack initiative or any sense of social (and, usually, familial) responsibility."

My God, is that ignorant. We have known for a century that the poor are poor, mostly, because they are born with lower IQs. They are less able to solve problems and to learn skills than most people.

They populate the left side of the Bell Curve. It is a bit much to demand that they exhibit "initiative." Historically they have a more difficult time with life's problems, as would anyone with such a handicap.

Walk in those shoes? Manage poor people for a few years for experience? Maybe try playing in a jug band? Let's try doing something here based on evidence, please.
The poor of the area had quite a lot of public housing at the time it started changing over to being another Posh Park.

Of course they were removed.

Now a tiny fraction are returned, so as to maintain a few dozen lower-income residences, perhaps for the museum quality. Wealthy neighbors will not be deprived entirely of seeing how the poor live -- people who buy one of something and make it last.

Oh, the corruption and false charity and ill use of "justice" in it all. And the smug superiority of this Dalrymple. My, my.

Why not give trendy Victorian homes to indigent people? Then, we can hire the remaining unemployed to serve as their butlers, maids, cooks and nannies. We'll solve the unemployment problem right along with the housing problem, and, when we run out of money (say, in a week), we'll just print more. Really, I can't imagine any reasonable objection to this plan.
See the classic Dutch comedy "Flodder" to see how this will more than likely end -- in tears. Of laughter.

Why not put middle-class, working people in there? While the all-powerful are still making gestures to demonstrate their political correctness, the middle classes are seething with resentment.

It's feudalism, really: pardon a handful of murderers at Christmas time, maybe give a few alms to some beggars, meanwhile keep squeezing the people who actually work dry during the rest of the year.
These houses have actually been occupied for quite a while. I had a look round one sometime around May, when they were already filled.
They aren't especially nice inside and are smaller than those opposite. They do look quite nice though.
Dalrymple wonders, “Some hypothesize that what is granted to people without their personal effort or desert will produce no beneficial effect; but grounds exist for the opposite view.”

Such questions on the effective or moral consequences of unearned benefits are rarely posed for children of the rich, who inherit great wealth. No social critics ask if Bill Gates’ children will deserve or properly employ his enormous wealth. Prominent writers might benefit from their largesse.

Also inherited - genetically - is the beauty and handsomeness of actors and the skills of athletes and talents of cultural exemplars - who are really fortunate mutants. High intelligence is mostly inherited. Who could even guess about inheritance of moral qualities, such as duty, compassion or service?

Regardless, I remain convinced that considerable unearned benefits almost always remain largely unappreciated and harm the recipients and equally deserving others who are excluded.

"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."

J. Asher
Unless you are restoring what was lost,through theft, fire or misfortune, this charitable experiment has more to do with the needs of ego & recognition by those granting the boon rather than social justice.

Sad truth is, unless there is a way to give a leg up to the many who are motivated to better themselves may not be as sensational, but it would be kinder and help more. You cannot repair the world, or grant prosperity to a few - it does harm to those who will see favoritism in the selection whether or not there was favoritism in fact. Rather use those funds to create possibility for those who wish to better themselves. Much like the lady who donates a silk ball gown to a few unfortunates this is not a good idea.
Patrick MacKinnon January 03, 2013 at 2:03 AM
I suppose that in much the same way that lottery outcomes are arranged the houses could be the subject of a draw if a suitably
unimpeachable agency can be found to ensure absolute probity.
Still one wonders at the purpose of this experiment, since it is
presumed that there was one; which the essay doesn't reveal.
Patrick MacKinnon January 03, 2013 at 2:02 AM
I suppose that in much the same way that lottery outcomes are arranged the houses could be the subject of a draw if a suitably
unimpeachable agency can be found to ensure absolute probity.
Still one wonders at the purpose of this experiment, since it is
presumed that there was one; which the essay doesn't reveal.
The poor are wretches who foul their own nest no matter where they light. They are poor simply because they lack initiative or any sense of social (and, usually, familial) responsibility.

Look for this elegant, expensive experiment in social engineering to "uplift" the "less fortunate" to end in a state-run midden.

Social justice is to justice as social security is to security.

Nobody talks about "character" or "the inner man" any more.

That doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

Everything the Left does is to create an exoskeleton; but God and Nature demand an endoskeleton of virtue. (See Kipling's "Gods of the Copybook Headings")
That experiment is already being done in the USA. It's called section 8 and it's been a complete disaster. Moving ghetto people out to nice leafy suburbs and expecting the pleasant surroundings to uplift the new inhabitants to bourgeois respectibility. What has happened instead is that they dragged the neighborhood down. When will the nannycrats ever learn? Only when their funding is cut off.
Giving the 'poor' middle class housing and expecting this will change them into middle class...

that is ALMOST as stupid as occupying an enemy nation such as Afghanistan before first defeating its people in war, and expecting the occupation to make them as peaceful as the Germans now are.

Remember when the British Army occupied France in 1940, to bring peace to Europe? Remember how that worked out?

We have tried subsidized housing here in the US. Failed.
Why stop with housing? Give them money, cars, drugs, blonde girls, all the fixings. Then they can live just like...

actually, just like they always have.

It will make no difference. Just make the poor bitter.

And make the Bureaucrats eager to try again. And again. And again. And again.



You can fill the Lower East Side of Manhattan with middle class kids, artists, and within twenty years it will become the new Upper East Side. This has already happened.

On the other hand, you can fill Detroit's magnificent Victorian mansions with savages, which also has already happened. And in Detroit,so many houses and so many commercial buildings have been razed that an empty wasteland almost the size of Paris has been created there.

If, in fact, strict rules of conduct are enforced in Islington's proposed public housing, this could be an instructive lesson.

But we should always remember that good health is not contagious.
Another flop in the making.
Indeed, it will be an experiment.

Perhaps it will work, and the people who win the privilege of living there will take good care of their lottery winnings and enjoy the view.

But perhaps it will not work. Then, by and by, the architecture will be named the root cause of the crime that pervades it and the blight that it becomes.

I am certain that aesthetically and ergonomically these homes will make a big difference to families on benefits, especially for those on benefits. Once these homes are built who will contribute all of the social capital needed for a child to do well?
I do have to add that only this week a road a few yards from mine has the most expensive properties in the UK (Up to $13 Million)However surrounding these properties are homes where no one works, schools which are mainly monocultural (Arabic) and on free school meals, and a nearby Poundshop.