British author Theodore Dalrymple says the country’s weekly activity of clapping in public for the NHS reminds him of how party members were forced to enthusiastically applaud Communist despots or face being labeled a dissident.
While no one is comparing the consequences of not clapping for the NHS to those of people who refused to clap for Stalin (that would be stupid), Dalrymple does note one important similarity between the two.
“It reminds me a little, in its tendency to get longer and louder and almost more hysterical, of the applause after a speech by Nicolae Ceausescu or other communist despot, in which everyone in the audience had to show himself as enthusiastic and the most enthusiastic applauder, and to continue applauding as long as someone else was applauding, for to be the first to stop might be taken as a sign of disloyalty and dissent from the official line,” writes Dalrymple.
Describing the clapathon as “emotionally kitsch,” the author feels there is “something unpleasant” about the implication of not joining in with the collective gesture.
“There is often the implication that if you refrain from making it—and even worse if you actively refuse to make it—you are in some sense an enemy, in this case, of the people,” writes Dalrymple. “Whatever your inner conviction, it is safest to join in. By doing so you avoid drawing attention to yourself and you are assumed to think and feel like everyone else, which is always safest.”
“As the evenings have passed, so the applause grows longer, louder and accompanied with ululations of one kind or another,” he adds.
Dalrymple is correct. Far from starting off enthusiastically and tapering down, the applause for the NHS builds to a crescendo, and on the most recent occasion even involved people playing bagpipes and others setting off fireworks.
While the hundreds of thousands of Brits who have volunteered to help the NHS should be commended (aside from those who merely did it to virtue signal on social media knowing they would never follow through), applauding from your window for 5 minutes a week is lazy, self-aggrandizing and ultimately helps nothing.
Dalrymple also notes how clapping the NHS elevates the government institution to the level of a deity and that some people subconsciously may think that worshipping it will provide relief from coronavirus fears – just like people who whipped themselves during the plague in sacrifice to God.
“During the Middle Ages, when the cause of epidemics was unknown, other than the justified wrath of God, there were long processions of self-flagellating penitents through the streets, who no doubt thought that the blood that they drew from themselves and the pain that they suffered would abate the epidemic by causing God to relent,” he writes.
Meanwhile, a similar activity has been organized for tonight where Brits are being encouraged to ‘clap for Boris’ given that their Prime Minister is now hospitalized in intensive care with persistent COVID-19 symptoms.
Given that many of the same tolerant leftists who gushed over the NHS have welcomed the prospect of Boris dying, don’t hold your breath.
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