Category Archives: Essays

Help Wanted: Save Civilization

Here is a piece in which Dalrymple pokes fun at not one but two articles, this one a job advertisement in the Guardian for a school seeking a Director of Social Pedagogy:

What person but a monster could possibly be against the practice of a holistic nurturing of relationship-centred well-being across the lifecourse, or is it the lifecourse practice of relationship-centred nurturing of holistic well-being? Of course, it comes with a salary and a pension, probably much larger than those of the poor teacher who teaches the little dears how to read and write and sit down when they’re told.

Paging Doctor Marx?

The editor of the Lancet has written a remarkable editorial which praises a Marxist view of medicine, and Dalrymple gladly takes him to task at the Library of Law and Liberty. For one thing, Dalrymple notes that Marxism fueled the murder of scores of millions of people around the world. Is this not “somewhat contrary to the public health that, according to the editor of the Lancet, ‘was the midwife of Marxism’”?

Read the full piece here

Parole is unfair and unworkable. Let’s abolish it

In practice, the system of parole is a sham, little more than a demand that offenders lie by expressing remorse. Programs to encourage criminals to change their ways have been proven repeatedly not to work. But even in theory, the idea of parole is a disgrace, says Dalrymple at the Spectator:

…the parole system is completely inimical to the rule of law. To grant or withhold liberty on the basis of speculations, inevitably inaccurate, about what people might or might not do in the future is to reinstitute what amounts to a star chamber.

A man is to be punished for what he has done beyond reasonable doubt, not for what some questionnaire or bogus calculation says he has a 70 per cent chance of doing at some time in the future.

Read it here

Adding Injury to Insult

On President Trump’s epithet toward the source countries of immigrants to America:

These days, by contrast, insults tend to be crude and vulgar. When Mr. Trump reputedly called certain countries by an epithet that I shall not repeat, he was only employing the type of language that, to my regret, is now in very common use even among intellectuals. We seem either to go in for the false delicacy of political correctness, speaking as if some words were as injurious law-hammers brought down on the skull, or employ the language of stevedores (if any such still exist) or of building workers to express our political ideas. One might have hoped for a happy medium, the possibility of frankness without crudity.

Mary Neal Lives On

Dalrymple discovers an early-20th Century writer whose complaints sound familiar:

Mary Neal was a very modern figure insofar as she confounded personal dissatisfactions with social ills. There were, of course, many social ills in her time, as there are in ours, but a little girl being made a fuss of by old men because she was pretty was not one of them. We ought always to try honestly to distinguish between our personal aversions and social ills, but we seldom do.

How Journaling Can Help You

Dalrymple takes issue with the product instructions at the front of a notebook:

Well, how can journaling help you? It “is a great way to organise your thoughts, reduce mental clutter, and gain insight into who you are.” And when you find who you are—that is to say who you really are—it is bound to be someone rather splendid, not this imperfect specimen who sometimes does not tell the truth, grows irritable when things do not go his or her way, is impatient, loses his or her temper, can’t resist eating too many chocolates if they are there, eats too quickly, talks too much or too little, is spendthrift and ungenerous, is sometimes lazy, enjoys other people’s misfortunes, gossips maliciously, forgets to return telephone calls, and so forth. Journaling can help you to discover your inner perfection.

EU “Closer Union” Advocates Have an Ally in the Separatist Movements

Why would the leaders of the various European separatist movements, in Catalonia, Scotland and elsewhere, make common cause with the pro-EU forces who would seem to be their strongest opponents? Dalrymple proposes several reasons, one of which is:

…the leaders of the nationalist parties or separatist groups want there to be more places at the top table—vacancies that they would then fill. They might even rise to the dizzying heights of the former Prime Minister of Luxembourg, who has long bestridden the world, or Europe at any rate, like a colossus. This he could never have done without the existence of the EU. In other words, personal ambition and the megalomania of petty potentates.

Read it here

Shark leaps inland to housing estate – global warming or Brexit?

Not many of us would want to live next to a house whose owner had installed a life-size, fake shark on his roof, as one homeowner in Headington, Oxford did thirty years ago, but the problem with architecture in Britain today is due more to over-active bureaucrats than eccentric homeowners:

The authorities in charge of preservation often bully owners of listed houses in matters of tiny detail, at great cost to those owners, while simultaneously allowing for the wholesale desecration of whole townscapes. Anyone who doubts this phenomenon should take a look (just as one example among many) at Imperial Square in Cheltenham, where a criminally hideous tower office block has been permitted to ruin the outlook of a graceful Regency terrace once and for all.

Read it at Salisbury Review

Benefits of Non-Production: Part Two

In New English Review Dalrymple praises an uncommon virtue he says is necessary for the production of great art: self-censorship…

But one faculty seems to me to be essential or indispensable in the individuals who would produce great art: namely, the faculty of self-censorship, that is a sense not merely of what should be left out, but of what should not be said. Without self-censorship, complete freedom of expression is destined by a kind of inner logic an arms-race of vulgar sensationalism.

City of Lights, Camera, Action

Dalrymple makes the following aside in this piece in Taki’s Magazine about seeing art films in Paris:

The case for parliamentary democracy lies in the alternance in power, not in the wisdom of crowds or their choices. It is better that those in power should not get their feet under the table for too long, even if the people who will replace them at the table are no better than they. If it is argued, as it often is these days, that they are all the same, these competitors for power in Western democracies, and there is therefore nothing to choose between them, it is still well to remember that a cartel is preferable to a monopoly.