Here are the Blogs in the Theodore Dalrymple
Tuesday, 4 November 2014
My wife tells me that I have bees in my bonnet, generally in serial fashion rather than all at once, and the one at the moment is the attack on the rule of law known as parole.
The question of parole was brought to my mind once again by the case of a professional footballer in Britain who has just ...Read More...
Posted on 11/04/2014 4:51 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
Sunday, 2 November 2014
Loneliness is a terrible state, of course, but speaking personally I have suffered far more from human company than from the lack of it. Hell, as Sartre famously remarked, is other people; but such is the capacity of the human soul for contradiction that so too, in many cases, is the absence of other ...Read More...
Posted on 11/02/2014 7:40 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
Friday, 24 October 2014
Last week I met a pleasant lady who, though she had appeared a few times on television, could hardly be counted a public figure. Nevertheless, she had received many abusive messages on Facebook and Twitter as a result of her appearances, and one man had written to her thousands of times and threatened ...Read More...
Posted on 10/24/2014 11:29 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
Sunday, 19 October 2014
The philosopher Mary Midgley tells us that myth is not just an obstacle to thought, or even merely an adjunct to thought, but an essential part of human ratiocination itself. Whether this is actually so or not in the philosophical sense, namely that human thought is completely impossible without the ...Read More...
Posted on 10/19/2014 6:06 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
Saturday, 18 October 2014
Gordon Brown was never as detestable as Prime Minister as Anthony Blair because incompetence is less appalling than evil. Mr Brown may have been a flawed, even a very flawed, human being, but he was at least recognisably human. And he had one quality that moved me and in my opinion lent him great dignity: ...Read More...
Posted on 10/18/2014 8:28 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
Friday, 17 October 2014
When as a boy I read Our Mutual Friend, I was much struck by the character of Silas Wegg, “a literary man,” as Nicodemus Boffin, his proud employer, put it, “with a wooden leg.” It seemed to me then that all of Dickens’s genius was in the italicization of the word “with,” for by that simple expedient ...Read More...
Posted on 10/17/2014 5:17 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
Wednesday, 15 October 2014
Mr Cameron is Focus Group Man made flesh. This is not altogether surprising since his only known employment, other than politician, was in public relations. He appears not to know what to think until he has consulted a variety of gauges of public opinion, and then he announces his own opinion as if ...Read More...
Posted on 10/15/2014 2:17 PM by Theodore Dalrymple
Tuesday, 7 October 2014
We live in the age of acronym. To read a medical journal is sometimes like trying to decipher a code; once, when I was a judge in a competition of medical poetry, I read a poem composed entirely of figures and acronyms:
RTA [road traffic accident]
ETA [expected time of arrival] 13.20 hrs
CGS ...Read More...
Posted on 10/07/2014 4:41 PM by Theodore Dalrymple
Friday, 3 October 2014
In a recently-published French book about the phenomenon of the reductio ad Hitlerum, the argument used by controversialists that what an opponent says resembles Nazism, or at least is at the beginning of the slippery slope thereto, I read a defence of laws that prohibit certain opinions, for example ...Read More...
Posted on 10/03/2014 6:28 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
Thursday, 2 October 2014
The whirligig of time brings in its revenges. The French newspaper, Libération, recently reported on the ravages wrought by wolves among the sheep-rearers in the remoter regions of France. Wolves are a protected species and may not be killed, whatever damage they do. Urban ecologists love them.
Wolves ...Read More...
Posted on 10/02/2014 5:47 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
Wednesday, 1 October 2014
Waking very early last Friday morning, I went to look on my computer for the results of the Scottish referendum. I turned to the Guardian website, for the irritation it almost always causes me is the best stimulant to true wakefulness, equivalent to three cups of coffee at least.
I noticed an ...Read More...
Posted on 10/01/2014 3:47 PM by Theodore Dalrymple
Sunday, 28 September 2014
A friend of mind drew kindly drew my attention to a very revealing historical artefact of whose existence I had previously been lamentably ignorant. It is the Fabian stained glass window designed by George Bernard Shaw in 1910, and now reinstalled in the Shaw Library in the London School of Economics.
The ...Read More...
Posted on 09/28/2014 6:00 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
Thursday, 25 September 2014
Reading the New York Times account this morning of the sentence passed on Dinesh D’Souza—the filmmaker, writer, and outspoken critic of President Obama—for violating the laws relating to campaign finance, I was horrified to read the following: “As part of his probation, Mr. D’Souza . . . will also be ...Read More...
Posted on 09/25/2014 7:38 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
Wednesday, 24 September 2014
Last week’s referendum on Scottish independence was an excellent illustration of the famous dictum of Frédéric Bastiat, the nineteenth-century French liberal economist, that the state is the means by which everyone seeks to live at the expense of everyone else. The defeated leader of the Scottish Nationalist ...Read More...
Posted on 09/24/2014 7:36 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
Wednesday, 24 September 2014
The question is important because public health emergencies allow governments to ignore the usual restrictions or restraints upon their actions. In public health emergencies, governments can override property rights and abrogate all kinds of civil liberties such as freedom of movement. They can confiscate ...Read More...
Posted on 09/24/2014 4:54 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
Monday, 22 September 2014
The best hope for the European Union would be for it to eventually evolve into an enormous Belgium. More likely, it will evolve into an enormous Yugoslavia circa 1990, which will not be quite so good.
Belgium, it seems to me, is a success and a failure. It is prosperous even as the conflict continues ...Read More...
Posted on 09/22/2014 6:54 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
Monday, 15 September 2014
To mark its 50th anniversary last year, the National Theatre in London relayed its most recent production of Hamlet (2010) to cinemas around the country. The production, much praised, was bad in almost every conceivable way: its scenery, costumes, overall conception, and much of the acting. My wife, ...Read More...
Posted on 09/15/2014 7:13 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
Tuesday, 9 September 2014
A friend of mine, who knew Nadine Gordimer, the South African writer who won the Nobel Prize for Literature and who died recently, sent me her reminiscences of her in their early days together in Johannesburg. This has prompted me to record my own reminiscences of her.
I think I may fairly claim ...Read More...
Posted on 09/09/2014 7:19 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
Friday, 5 September 2014
It is said that after the age of about forty the great Norwegian playwright, Henrik Ibsen, read nothing except the Bible and newspapers. These days, alas, newspapers play an ever smaller role in the cultural role of any country. I don’t know a single young person who reads, let alone takes, a newspaper ...Read More...
Posted on 09/05/2014 7:17 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
Tuesday, 2 September 2014
There are a couple of questions that I have often been asked but to which I still have found no satisfactory answer. The first relates to history: What use is it?
I do not mean to imply that if it had no use, it wouldn’t be worthy of study. There is of course the possibility that something could ...Read More...
Posted on 09/02/2014 3:53 PM by Theodore Dalrymple
Saturday, 23 August 2014
The French newspapers of late have reported clashes in Calais between different nationalities of ‘refugees’ camping there, preparatory to illegal entry into Britain. The French offer them advice as to how to claim asylum in France, but they are not interested in doing so. They want to get to England, ...Read More...
Posted on 08/23/2014 12:42 PM by Theodore Dalrymple
Saturday, 16 August 2014
To adapt slightly the opening sentence of Kafka’s The Trial, someone must have been talking about me. I know this from all the advertisements and offers I receive unsolicited through the internet.
Today came yet another offer of supposedly cheap burial insurance and then an e-mail suggesting ...Read More...
Posted on 08/16/2014 7:49 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
Wednesday, 13 August 2014
IF fame were the reward of merit alone, Pierre Ryckmans, who wrote under the name of Simon Leys and has just died in Canberra aged 78, would have been one of the most famous men in the world. Not that he would have greatly enjoyed such fame: his probity and attachment to higher values was far too great ...Read More...
Posted on 08/13/2014 9:27 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
Sunday, 10 August 2014
All medical journals these days feel the compulsion to be high-minded, but none is as high-minded as the Lancet. It is as if the editors had taken lessons both in moral philosophy and rhetoric from Mr. Pecksniff himself.
Mr. Pecksniff, you may remember, was the preposterous hypocrite in Dickens’ Martin ...Read More...
Posted on 08/10/2014 1:36 PM by Theodore Dalrymple
Friday, 8 August 2014
Success in indirection lies, wrote Emily Dickinson, but I think our age responds more to the explicit than to the implicit, at least in literature. Recently, for example, I read of the discovery and sale of the manuscript of Siegfried Sassoon's anti-war poem Atrocities, published in 1919, in which Sassoon ...Read More...
Posted on 08/08/2014 7:09 AM by Theodore Dalrymple