Fans of Theodore Dalrymple
January 28, 2020
Prince Harry holds up a mirror to modern egotism
Dalrymple writes that the Queen and Prince Harry provide a contrast
between one conception of life, one culture, and another.
In the Queen  there is
- a kind of existential modesty despite exalted position
- full awareness that she owes her importance to an accident of birth
- an iron sense of duty at whatever personal cost
In Prince Harry there is
- personal whim 
- self-expression as an imperative, the ego  being the object of almost religious devotion
- the belief that he owes an accident of birth to his importance
- a sense of entitlement
There isn’t much doubt as to which of these attitudes to life is in the ascendant, sociologically and philosophically. As Blake put it, ‘Sooner strangle an infant in its cradle than nurse unacted desires.’ To swallow down our emotions is now regarded as treason to the self , where it is not comical or a subject for derision; not to express oneself is to risk later psychological disaster.
Such is the power of modern culture
that a cosseted and highly unusual family is not immune from its influence.
a desperate search for uniqueness among people who have a weak sense of self as distinguished from others. In an age of celebrity, not to be outstanding in some way is felt almost as a wound, certainly as an indication of failure.
The inflamed need for individuation
causes people to be reluctant to accept anything traditional, because the tradition did not originate with them and has no justification that they consider wholly rational. Life is all about choice: my choice. The extension of choice is why transgression is a good in itself.
Dalrymple adds that Prince Harry
is not being straightforward. He wants to destroy tradition and at the same time benefit from its continuation. He has no claim to the public’s attention except that he was born who he was in the very tradition that he wants to overthrow because he wants to be really, truly, just himself. I can well understand why a young man in his position does not want to play the part allotted him by fate; I wouldn’t have wanted such a part myself. But in order not to be a hypocrite, he should have gone off quietly into obscurity, without public subvention, to study butterflies or Sumerian epigraphy.