Warning: May Cause Lawsuits

Everyone knows cigarettes are dangerous and addictive, so why did a jury give such a large award to the family of a deceased man who started smoking when he was too young even to buy cigarettes legally?

A sentimental jury was swayed by a crooked lawyer or company of lawyers, in the process overlooking the most evident and obvious considerations. The jury has thought, “Poor innocent Mr. Johnson, victim of a large wicked company, let’s give his widow a fortune at the company’s expense.” The jury has combined the pleasure of being on the side of the small man with the pleasure of generosity for which they have personally to pay nothing.

Read the rest at Taki’s Magazine

Ferry Unfair

This description of Corsica’s debt-ridden, overpaid, underperforming, monopoly ferry service, the Societé National Corse Méditeranée, reminds me of every government union in America:

Not only is the SNCM highly indebted, but its annual losses amount to nearly half its revenues. This percentage far surpasses the budgetary deficits of any country, including Greece. One reason the SNCM loses so much money is the exorbitant rates of pay and other benefits enjoyed by its workers, members of the left-wing union, the Confédération Générale du Travail (CGT). Not only does the SNCM employ more workers proportionately than its rival, the privately owned Corsica Ferries, an Italian company that operates on other routes from France to Corsica, and whose services I am informed are much better; but its workers are also paid more per hour, work fewer hours, and enjoy longer holidays than those of Corsica Ferries workers.

Roulette to Riches

Writing at Taki’s Magazine, Dalrymple explains why his patented skepticism extends to investment management:

I have yet to be convinced that anyone has more penetrating foreknowledge of the markets than could be expected by chance. After all, if a million people speculate, some must make a fortune, just as there will always be players of roulette (if there are enough of them) who win even in the long term.

Sir Bert the Political Pygmy

Christopher Huhne, Edward Milliband, Anthony Blair… Sounds strange? Try Chris, Ed and Tony. Writing at Salisbuy Review, Dalrymple laments the modern use of diminutives:

Whence cometh all this bogus, ideological informality? I have nothing against diminutives as such, but I object to their universal use because such a use implies a loss of subtlety in social relations.

When Noblesse Obliged

TD is no monarchist, but he notices something admirable about three European emperors who survived (initial) assassination attempts: They didn’t mind putting themselves in harm’s way to comfort the wounded.

Could one imagine three contemporary democratic politicians reacting in this way after a failed assassination attempt? The three monarchs and monarchs-in-waiting reacted in an immediate, spontaneous, and human manner, noblesse no doubt obliging; modern politicians, if they visited the wounded, would be thinking mainly of the photo ops. Modern politicians cannot say, let alone do, anything without first thinking of the opinion polls and the next elections.

Read the entire piece at Taki’s Magazine

Is football pornography by other means?

Dalrymple raises the question after reading a curious fact about the World Cup:

When Germany beat Portugal by 4 – 0, the usage of a pornographic internet site in Germany declined by 60 per cent during the match, and did not recover its normal level for several hours afterwards. In Portugal, the use of the site (called YouPorn, no doubt a subsidiary of YouGov) declined by 40 per cent during the match but increased by 10 per cent over its usual level for several hours after the match.

Read it at the Salisbury Review

A Plea-Bargain Before Dying

In face-to-face conversation Dalrymple has on two occasions decried the injustice of the plea bargaining in America’s criminal justice system, something that obviously offends him. Now, in a piece at the Library of Law and Liberty, he calls it “intrinsically unjust, corrupt, and corrupting…if not quite the antithesis of, at least incompatible with, justice” and makes a detailed case against it:

The system of plea-bargaining would not be so bad if the advantages offered to the accused were minor: a year, say, subtracted from a 10-year sentence if he pleaded guilty early in the proceedings. But then, of course, plea-bargaining would not be very effective in eliciting cooperation from the accused that he was otherwise disinclined to give. As it is, where the difference is between life and death or between, say, five and 50 years in prison, the state has in effect been turned into a particularly nasty (because particularly powerful) blackmailer.