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.

Hobby Lobby, Assisted Suicide, and Slippery Slopes…

Dalrymple makes a couple of interesting points here about the recent Hobby Lobby decision by the United States Supreme Court, including this one:

Rights to tangible goods and services tend to create corresponding duties upon someone to provide them. For example, if I have the right to assisted suicide, and if the right is not to become a dead letter, someone has to assist me. But who, if all the doctors around me disagree with assisted suicide? Will I then have grounds to sue them for infringement of my rights, and if so which of them? Any of them? All of them? The right to assisted suicide will rapidly become a duty to perform it.

That is, unless we understand that a right does not include its fulfillment. I have a right to buy a mansion, but I can’t exercise it because I don’t have enough money. I do not consider my right infringed by this unfortunate limitation; but unfortunately, this is not how most people understand rights.

The siren song of social injustice

At the Salisbury Review site….a Somali taxi driver is astonished to discover that Dalrymple has been to his native country, and Dalrymple is astonished by his gratitude:

Irrespective of the assistance he received from others, his trajectory in life could not have been easy. He was worthy of admiration, and put many a complaining native to shame. Not for him the siren song of social injustice, and the long wait for it to be righted before he did anything for himself!

Patients, not GPs, are to blame for the antibiotics crisis

According to TD in the Times, there is a real problem with the “over-prescription of antibiotics in ordinary medical practice”. But it’s a problem caused more by patients than by doctors:

Alas, we live in a litigious age and doctors are afraid. There is, after all, more rejoicing by malpractice lawyers over one missed diagnosis than over 99 people treated unnecessarily with antibiotics. Doctors will never be sued for increasing drug resistance in the general population but they will be taken to the cleaners for missing one case of a treatable infectious disease. Making it harder to sue would go some way to tackling antibiotic resistance.

Read the full article here