Unnecessary Journeys

The March Theodore Dalrymple essay in New English Review starts off with the good doctor finally admitting that he is a reactionary as he assesses the contemporary obsession with making journeys—whether for work or leisure.

I think I may be a reactionary (I write this as someone who says ‘I think I might have cancer’). At any rate, I now understand the Duke of Wellington’s objection to railways, that they would encourage the lower orders to travel round the country unnecessarily. I go even further than the Iron Duke, at least in my privacy of my own thoughts. The fact is that most journeys are like most work, which is to say unnecessary. But huge areas of countryside have to be ruined aesthetically in order to make such unnecessary journeys feasible, though not easy. Therefore, travel should be discouraged as far as possible, for example by bad roads or heavy tolls, trains that are unreliable, airports that are even more hellish than they already are, and so forth.

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