In Google’s Bad Books

In this week’s Takimag, a bookseller friend of the skeptical doctor experiences online censorship courtesy of the ghastly Google leviathan.

As is so often the way with impersonal messages emanating from giant and dictatorial bureaucracies, the words used have connotation but no denotation, that is to say no meaning can actually be pinned on them, though they have a penumbra of emotional blackmail: Those who criticize or otherwise annoy us are ill persons, being opposed by definition to the “best user experience.”

Tinkering with Taxes Won’t Save Britain

Once again over at City Journal, our favorite doctor comments on the British government’s decision to cut taxes instead of dealing with the deeper problems facing the country.

Beyond the correct rate of taxation, however, lie the much deeper problems of the country. For years, regardless of who was in power, government policy has been to import cheap unskilled or semi-skilled labor, while paying large numbers of people to remain economically inactive, in the process placing great strain on housing and public services through overpopulation.

In Defence of Repression

Theodore Dalrymple marks his return to The Spectator with an essay on psychology, fragility, and voluntary repression.

A psychologically fragile population is the delight of bureaucrats, lawyers and professional carers, and resilience and fortitude are their worst enemies. Repression in the psychological sense is deemed by them not only as damaging but almost as treason to the self.

Divide and Confuse

Over at City Journal, the skeptical doctor excoriates another nonsensical, politically-correct expression favored by leftists that is meant to confuse, distract, and divide us.

The expression “people of color” has always seemed to me in equal measure stupid, condescending, and vicious. It divides humanity into two categories, whites and the rest, or rather whites versus the rest; it implies an essential or inherent hostility between these two portions of humanity; and it implies also no real interest in the culture or history of the people of color, whose only important characteristic is that of having been ill-treated by, and therefore presumably hating, the whites.

An Epidemic of Ideology

In his weekly Takimag column, the good doctor worries about the ongoing and unceasing political polarization in the USA and elsewhere.

I think we have entered a golden age of bad temper that will last some time, one of the reasons being that too many people go to university where they have learned to look at the world through ideology-tinted spectacles. There is nothing like ideology for raising the temperature of debate and eventually of avoiding debate altogether.

The Linguistic Termites Are Every­where

In this month’s Quadrant piece, the dubious doctor points out some of the trending crimes against the English language by the politically-correct, progressive linguistic police.

Obligatory semantic defeminisation on one side of the Channel and obligatory semantic feminisation on the other, supposedly with the same justification: how is this contradiction to be explained? Surely the simplest explanation is that both changes are exercises in power rather than an attempt to improve society or reduce suffering in any way: and forcing you to change the way you speak and the words you use is an exercise in prepotency without violence.

Wishes, Blame, and an Excruciating Death

Over at The Epoch Times, the righteous doctor calls out yet another preposterous and vile statement from one of the standard tenured academic radicals.

Anya’s remarks are a mixture of crudity and ignorance, combined with an uncontrolled and not altogether ungratifying (for her) sense of rage. She does not think clearly: But then, would one expect someone among whose specialties is “applied linguistics as a practice of social justice and translanguaging in world language pedagogy”?

One-Way Ticket

Our favorite doctor calls into question how far (post)modern man’s freedom extends when considering the growing imbalance of power between him and various authorities.

It is not that the instructions in the letter are inherently wrong or absurd. There are reasons for them all. It is the peremptory and unapologetic tone of the letter that leads its recipient to conclude that he is a worm and the council is a blackbird out for its sustenance. The obligations flow from the citizen to the authorities and none in the other direction, and there is something almost gleeful in the way the citizen—servant—is informed of this.

The Queen’s Virtues and Ours

Over at Law & Liberty, the nostalgic doctor reflects on some of the—mostly negative social and cultural—changes that England went through during Queen Elizabeth II’s reign.

It is for their own lost virtues, exemplified by the Queen, that the people mourn, not least their distinctive understated humour and irony, now replaced almost entirely by crudity.

A Sense of Duty Unsurpassed

Our monarchical doctor remembers Queen Elizabeth II fondly while worrying about her successor over at City Journal. Requiescat in pace.

In doing so, they forget that, in practice, people are infinitely more likely to be oppressed by their elected representatives than by their constitutional monarch, and indeed are increasingly oppressed by them every day of their lives. Like many intellectuals, they prefer to fight shadows rather than substantive beings: it is easier and more gratifying.