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Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass (Anglais) Broché – 8 mars 2003

4.5 étoiles sur 5 2 commentaires client

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A searing account of life in the underclass and why it persists as it does, written by a British psychiatrist.

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It's hard not to enjoy Dalrymple's writing. It's vivid, often humorous, and well-informed by his personal experience. (I somehow feel sure that he is much kinder speaking to his patients than about them.) But the principal pleasures of the reader are a kind of Schadenfreude and a self-satisfaction, a feeling of superiority. Reading this book could well be an intellectual's equivalent of watching Jerry Springer.
He is using this guilty pleasure to draw us to his own conclusions about personal responsibility and the ideology of victimization. While many of his instances are valid, let us please not ignore the many real victims who exist, and the destruction caused by that still-flourishing activity of blaming the victim.
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This book is still so painfully relevant in many western countries. The author offers a profound critique of certain left wing educational and other modern cultural values with unflinching care. A painstaking autopsy of the collusion between weak schools and media culture, their horrendous fallout on people's lives.
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) (Peut contenir des commentaires issus du programme Early Reviewer Rewards) 4.5 étoiles sur 5 324 commentaires
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 ... essays on the culture at large as existed in Great Britain in the 1990's and early 2000's 24 décembre 2015
Par Christian McCall - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
This book provides an interesting series of essays on the culture at large as existed in Great Britain in the 1990's and early 2000's. I suspect things are much worse there (as they certainly are here in the US) currently. There are plenty of excellent observations throughout - although a bit repetitive at times - but what I found dissatisfying about the book (and hence the 3-star rating) was that the author never traced the symptoms back to their source. That's typically what doctors do, no? With a subtitle "The Worldview That Makes The Underclass" I expected at least a vague description of the foundation on which that worldview rests, but there is none of that here. Sin and the fallen nature of man are never identified and dealt with. That said, I enjoyed most of the critiques of leftist hypocrisy presented throughout. Another aspect that was beneficial was the way in which he details (though once again, never identifying the source of these maladies) mankind's proclivity and ability for self-deception as well as self-pity. We're all guilty in one way or another, and exploring the various methods and techniques used was helpful in looking at my own issues with these sins. Some other books that provide a better analysis of the foundational problems would be R.J. Rushdoony's "Politics of Guilt and Pity", Richard Weaver's "Ideas Have Consequences", and R.L. Dabney's "Discussions Vol IV".
8 internautes sur 9 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The most enlightening book on why poverty, ignorance, and moral decay for a self-perpetuating cycle for the underclass 27 décembre 2016
Par Carlos A. Zubillaga - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
I have just finished reading “Life at the bottom: The worldview that makes the underclass” by Theodore Dalrymple. The author is an English psychiatrist who works in an inner-city hospital in an English city. He works with poor and uneducated patients. What a discovery this book has been for me. As someone interested in the disenfranchisement of the lower classes in Venezuela and generally in Latin America, I wrote the book “La marginalidad sin tabués ni complejos: Una propuesta urgente para un país dividido”. This book achieved some success in Venezuela -to my surprise- because it stated the obvious that nobody wanted to see, much less accept.
Since I wrote “La marginalidad”, I have come to know that marginal societies, much like our Venezuelan marginal society, exist in many parts of the United States. Pockets of misery can be found in black ghettos of many inner cities, in Latino ghettos, and even in predominantly white poor neighborhoods. The reality is the same: a self-perpetuating vicious cycle of violence, lack of education, absence of morality, and a negative set of values. At the heart of this sad reality, we find the most dramatic element: the matricentric household. By this fancy name we mean a household where a mother is the head, who has children by different men, none of whom is responsible for the children. The current boyfriend -we can’t call him husband because the institution of marriage has all but disappeared from this environment- is likely to abuse the woman and the children with total impunity. This reality is strikingly similar in all countries, including developed countries like the United States and most European countries. To my surprise, approximately one third of the English population are part of this underclass.
Dr. Dalrymple’s book describes concrete situations he knows from his practice and he draws conclusions. He shows an amazing ability to connect real lives of real people with public policy, or rather with bad public policies. I have never read a better indictment of contemporary politics. Beautifully and elegantly written, with elements of a very refined and almost imperceptible British humor, this book will forever change the way you think about social problems and politics. I will not say anymore because I don’t want to steal the thunder from Dr. Dalrymple. Get a copy and read it. You will be glad you did.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Essential for understanding welfare state 26 août 2013
Par Q - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
The author is uniquely qualified to write about the underclass by virtue of having worked closely with them his entire professional life, both in England, Africa, and elsewhere. A large part of the book is the great number of anecdotes and examples he gives of the poor, drug-addicts, those hospitalized for attempted suicide, and etc. His thesis is tripartite:

First, the poor are not controlled by larger social-political forces, as leftists and liberals argue. Rather, they have a "worldview" by which they see (and create!) themselves as victims. They suffer from a lack of hope, but they create their own hopeless situation. He insists that they have free choice, and they choose their actions according to their need for short-term pleasures. He suggests that their worldview or values are often mere facades for more greedy and needy reasons, which they can't admit to themselves and keep doing what they do with a good conscience. So it's not clear that they have any "values" at all beyond their need for alcohol, drugs, and various forms of dependency and other self-destructive behavior. Are they victims of faulty reasoning? This point needs clarification and development. Are their "values" merely excuses, or really the deciding factor of their existence?

Second, the author claims that the underclass's worldview reflects the liberal ideology whereby no one is responsible; and everyone has a "right" to food, clothing, a home, and spending money--whether they work or not, independently of any behavior. The poor have taken up this ideology and consistently excuse themselves as merely passive victims of happenstance or whatever. This is obviously an counterproductive attitude to take towards one's situation, perpetuating itself indefinitely. The problem here is that the poor have been with us always, even before such ideologies; but presumably their tendency towards non-responsibility is reinforced and even created by the liberals.

Third, he claims that the welfare state thrives on such victims, needs them, seeks them out, and unintentionally keeps them as such. In other words, since the welfare state will care for one regardless of one's irresponsible actions, then the poor are positively motivated to be irresponsible. The welfare state not only provides the poor with excuses (see above) it also perpetuates their existence by teaching them to be helpless, and rewarding them accordingly.

The author's argument is applicable to Western society as a whole, but his experience is mainly with England; and some points are not wholly applicable. The British underclass is a peculiar creature and not quite the same as the American; although there are a lot of parallels. By the same token, the welfare state doesn't work quite the same in American as in England. His comments on tattooing are rather old-fashioned. In America, at least, there's no stigma anymore to tattooing, so he comes off as rather curmudgeonly on some points.

He makes a devastating case for his argument, and his book should be required reading for any educated adult.
5.0 étoiles sur 5 “When every benefit received is a right, there is no place for good manners, let alone for gratitude.” 7 mai 2017
Par R. McMullin - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
In his book, "Wealth, Poverty, and Politics", Thomas Sowell mentioned "Life At The Bottom" by Theodore Dalrymple. It is a series of essays, written about 20 years ago, that deal with Dalrymple's observations of life among the lower classes in England. He notes how rates of crime, violence, and illegitimacy have increased as standards of decency have relaxed and personal responsibility has been replaced with excuses from psychologists, criminologists and others who influence policies. He also observes how those who influence policies are often insulated from having to live with the direct effects of those policies. As a doctor and therapist he works with victims of crime and violence, as well as with the perpetrators. In many ways the book reminds me of "To Sir, With Love", as it seems to deal with a similar class of people, as well as an individual who sees their potential and wants to help. I think the writing is excellent. I will be reading more of his books.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Truly enlightening 21 août 2015
Par Morgan Hughes - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
This thought provoking book takes you into the world of the underclass and illuminates the true nature of their struggles. It might be a painful lesson to some, that the very programs, welfare, nonjudgment, public housing, which they advocate as solutions for the underclass are in reality exacerbating poverty and violence (against women and children in particular), but Dalrymple has no misgivings as he makes his arguments and presents his evidence. A more thorough understanding of the situation is not to be found readily in or modern literature of excuse making (enabling), name calling, blame gamers, race baiters and hate mongers. Finally an intelligent, knowledgeable person, who takes a careful, rational look at the evidence and draws insightful conclusions from whence we can easily see the obvious solutions. A must read for anyone who is interested in politics, sociology, psychology, finding an end to human suffering, or is just plain sick of all the intellectually impotent "solutions" from the politically correct crowd. If we cannot discern the root of a problem due to our sentimentalities then mankind will simply be undone. No biggie, read this book!
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