Here are the Blogs in the Theodore Dalrymple
Sunday, 30 November 2014
What’s in a word? Sometimes, I think, quite a lot. The use of a single word can amount to a subtle lie. Reading French newspapers, I’m struck by how often the word “austerity” appears to discuss current economic policy in Europe, particularly in France. I am not concerned here with whether the policies ...Read More...
Posted on 11/30/2014 9:02 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
Saturday, 29 November 2014
In my youth the government encouraged people to eat more eggs and butter and drink more milk for the sake of their health. Perhaps it was the right advice after a prolonged period of war-induced shortage, but no one would offer, or take, the same advice today. Nutritional advice is like the weather ...Read More...
Posted on 11/29/2014 6:50 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
Wednesday, 26 November 2014
Low back pain is a condition so common that, intermittently, I suffer from it myself. It comes and goes for no apparent reason, lasting a few days at a time. Nearly 40 years ago I realized that, though I had liked to think of myself as nearly immune from nervous tension, anxiety could cause it.
I ...Read More...
Posted on 11/26/2014 5:21 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
Tuesday, 25 November 2014
Hope springs eternal, but so do financial crises in hospitals. Once, while researching the history of the hospital in which I was working at the time, I discovered that it had been so short of money in the 1840s that it had been forced to sell some land to a railway company that wanted to build a line ...Read More...
Posted on 11/25/2014 6:04 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
Monday, 24 November 2014
In a village in South Wales, 34-year-old Matthew Williams was recently stunned by a taser discharged by a policewoman. He died soon afterward in police custody.
The reason the policewoman tasered Williams was that she had found him in the hotel in which he had been lodging, bent over the prostrate ...Read More...
Posted on 11/24/2014 5:54 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
Monday, 17 November 2014
You might have supposed that trust in the medical profession would have risen as medicine became more effective at warding off death and disease, but you would have been mistaken. In fact, precisely the reverse has happened throughout the western world, but particularly in the United States. Half a ...Read More...
Posted on 11/17/2014 5:17 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
Sunday, 16 November 2014
GERMAN philosopher Immanuel Kant thought it was wrong to tell a lie under any circumstance.
Even if a murderer asked you the way to his victim he said you should tell him the truth.
He allowed no exception.
Thank goodness this is not what most people believe let alone how they act.
Recent ...Read More...
Posted on 11/16/2014 8:12 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
Thursday, 13 November 2014
My favorite title of all the books that I possess is A Brief Introduction to the History of Human Stupidity. It’s by Walter B. Pitkin, and was published in 1932 in nearly 600 closely printed pages. The author promised a 40-volume encyclopedia of the subject. While he never got around to starting, let ...Read More...
Posted on 11/13/2014 6:06 PM by Theodore Dalrymple
Sunday, 9 November 2014
Scandal delights us because it lends respectability to our prurience and allows us to indulge in the most pleasurable of all emotions: righteous indignation. Scandal also reveals important or successful people to have feet of clay and thereby soothes our resentment at not being important or successful ...Read More...
Posted on 11/09/2014 9:02 AM by 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