Author Archives: David Seri

A British Prime Minister’s Failed Policies Are a Gold Mine for His Son

Theodore Dalrymple criticizes the modern obsession with tertiary education while picking on ol’ Tony Blair over at The Epoch Times.

The policy of extending tertiary education, especially in fields of little vocational value, was not without its hazards. It risked creating a class of malcontents who felt, not without reason, that they had been cheated, and felt they had the right by virtue of their education to a prominent role in society.

Draping the Arc de Triomphe With ‘Irrational Freedom’

Over at The Epoch Times (also covered in this week’s Takimag column), the skeptical doctor denounces the blatant exhibitionism and artistic self-importance of draping one of the most famous Parisian monuments in 25,000 square meters of polypropylene fabric.

And in this uncritical endorsement of artistic freedom as irrational freedom, with no possible criteria enabling us to prefer one thing to another, we see an explanation of why architects of the 20th century have been so easily able to impose their ugliness upon the world.

A Popular Form of Monomania

The October issue of New Criterion features a lengthy and timely essay from our skeptical doctor.

Thus intellectualization of a certain kind can promote the dulling of normal moral sensibilities. Even more than political language (as analyzed in Orwell’s essay), ideology is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, indeed to make lies the proclaimed truth from which all dissent is impermissible, and murder a duty.

The Talibanization of Thought

The dissenting doctor explores the Talibanization of thought at Western universities in this week’s Takimag article.

How has the Talibanization of Western mentalities happened? How is it that so many young people have now adapted Henry Ford’s great dictum (to change briefly the source of inspiration of young intellectuals), that you can have any color you like so long as it’s black, to matters of opinion, such that none other than the sanctioned one may get a hearing? How is it that the Taliban’s example in destroying the statues in Bamiyan was so soon copied by the students in those madrassas of the West known as universities?

Budapest and Paris: The Contrast Between Civilization and Barbarism

In his The Epoch Times column, the good doctor contrasts the recent architectural approaches between Budapest and Paris—neo-classical versus modernist. As a native of Budapest, I can proudly say that Budapest is indeed a very pleasant and beautiful city to call home.

All I can say is that Budapest is at the moment one of the most pleasant of all cities to be in.

One contrast between Paris and Budapest struck me very forcefully. Of course, the circumstances of the two cities are different and circumstances alter cases; nevertheless, the contrast is instructive. It is that between civilization and barbarism, and in one respect it is not Paris that is on the side of civilization.

The Shocking Truth

Dr. Dalrymple returns to The Oldie with a review of a recent study on the benefits of administering electroconvulsive therapy to patients suffering from severe depression.

Incidentally, it is when severely depressed people suddenly improve somewhat that they are in gravest danger of suicide. They are still miserable, but they now have enough energy and initiative to kill themselves.

Sticks and Stones: Mai, 1968

In the September edition of New English Review, our favorite doctor reflects on the French would-be radicals of May 1968 after coming across a book actually critical of the upper-middle class revolutionary leftists of that era.

Normally, it is the supporters of and participants in the so-called revolution who attract the most attention; memoirists tend to congratulate themselves on the generosity of their own impulses at the time, even if they now acknowledge that the revolution wasn’t really a revolution at all, and that perhaps they were wanting in wisdom in certain respects. This book emphasises that, on the contrary, the events were not just a manifestation of youthful high spirits and supposed idealism, but often ugly and destructive.

Political Dishonesty and Retirement Ponzi Schemes

Theodore Dalrymple is not buying the notion that the British public pension scheme is actually solvent. The article is available over at The Epoch Times.

In essence, what has been issued is a promissory note: the government has promised aging populations pensions and other benefits that it will oblige future generations to pay for. This is a winning electoral formula, especially in an aging population much of which has spent its life improvidently spending its income as though it were pocket money.

Survivor Creep

Over at Quadrant, the skeptical doctor considers the modern-day phenomenon of playing the survivor in attempt to increase one’s moral standing.

This is not to deny that survivors in the modern sense may really have suffered, but it is not enough merely to have suffered: one must have suffered mightily, if possible as much as anyone has ever suffered. This is because suffering by itself now confers moral authority like nothing else, certainly not knowledge or good behaviour.