In the July edition of New English Review, the good doctor considers the conflict between obedience to authority and freedom after reading a book with the thought-provoking title of Obedience is Freedom.
True obedience, says the author, retains some element of voluntary consent, a willingness to submit to authority when it is possible not to do so. Obedience is more than bowing to the inevitable. It often requires an informal but assumed acceptance of what is done and how it is done. That is why a shared understanding of behaviour requires a shared culture.
“Pentecostal churches, which from an abstract intellectual point of view strike me as absurd, achieve the same integration and do far more good than harm.”
The above statement is indicative of Theodore Dalrymple in both thinking and writing (doubt he would separate the two). Even though Mr. Dalrymple is not a person of “faith” he treads lightly on and around religion. Discernment is central to his work and life—I do appreciate that!