Category Archives: Essays

The Abandoning of the Word Pupil

Once again over at The Epoch Times, Theodore Dalrymple takes another firm stand on using the word “pupil” instead of “student” when it comes to describing young schoolchildren.

But there’s something deeper than this, a kind of insincere refusal of authority as such. People now refuse to admit that they are exercising authority even as they are doing so, because authority is supposedly so undemocratic or paternalist in nature. We’re all autonomous beings who have the right to decide everything for ourselves, and since there’s no precise age that autonomy can or should rightfully be exercised, it’s best at least to pretend that 8-year-olds are students and not pupils.

BC Drug Decriminalization: The ‘If You Can’t Beat ’Em, Join ’Em’ Approach Is No Solution to Drug Abuse

Back at The Epoch Times, the dissenting doctor tears apart arguments in favor of drug decriminalization in light of a recent, wrong-headed British Columbia government decision.

Therefore, to treat people in possession of drugs for their personal use as criminals is akin to treating the ill as criminals. This is bad not because of its practical effects, which as we have seen are practically nil, but because it offends against the orthodoxy, and no sin is greater in the modern world than offending against an intellectual orthodoxy adopted, however recently, by a liberal political class.

The Notion of Mental Health

Over at The Epoch Times, the skeptical doctor reflects on a strange case from an Ivy League university, while considering the inflated value our modern culture places on mental therapy.

What I found even more astonishing, however, was Princeton’s evident superstitious belief in the power or ability of mental health therapists to obviate any and all human suffering, more or less as a certainty. This is one of the superstitions of an age that believes itself free of superstition, and underlying it is the belief that all life’s little problems are technical and have a technical solution.

Today’s Rx: A Shard of Ice

In the June edition of New English Review, our literary doctor considers the doctor-patient relationship, its influence on literature, and how great writers are made.

I have a little one myself and I think I know how I came by it: the lack of love in my household when I was a child. By nature, I was affectionate; the shard was at first protective against the disappointed need for love, but then became an obstacle without, however, becoming so great as to be an advantage in a literary career (irrespective of any lack of talent).

Ban the Bard!

Our satirical doctor lampoons more politically correct, leftist balderdash emanating from the English ivory tower over at Takimag.

A creative writing course at a British university has withdrawn graduation requirement that students should attempt a sonnet, not on the reasonable grounds that it is futile to try to turn people with cloth ears for language into sonneteers, but because the sonnet is a literary form that is white and Western.

A Day Out

In the June issue of New Criterion, our cultured doctor travels to Birmingham with his wife to see an exhibition of Carlo Crivelli’s paintings, comes face-to-face once again with the city’s awful modernist architecture and the decaying English culture, but finishes the day on a high note at an old-school Indian restaurant.

The magnificent Victorian library, so expressive of municipal pride and ambition for the city’s population, was demolished in 1970, in the midst of the frenzy of anti-Victorianism—the revenge of contemporary nullities on past people of substance—to make way for an inverted concrete ziggurat of quite exemplary ugliness.

Voluntary, or Compulsory?

Over at City Journal, Dr. Dalrymple weighs in on the troubling expansion of the already unsettling Canadian law on doctor-assisted suicide to now include those who are psychiatrically ill.

Given that severe psychiatric disorder tends to cloud the judgment of those who suffer from it, one wonders who will benefit most from this law, if passed. Certainly, it might remove from society people who are often difficult, unproductive, and expensive for others. They might be encouraged to shuffle off this mortal coil as a service to their relatives or even to their county. The distinction between the voluntary and the compulsory might become blurred.

The Meek Have Inherited the Earth

In his weekly Takimag column, the dissenting doctor calls out the bloated, bureaucratic nanny state ready to intervene on behalf of the helpless, victimized sheep whose rights it claims to champion.

The more vulnerable people can be induced to believe themselves to be, the more they need assistance to keep themselves going. Such assistance (which is self-justifying, though never sufficient, or indeed even partially effective) requires a vast legal and other infrastructure, put in place and regulated by the government. The government is the pastor, the people are the sheep.

The Law of the Conservation of Anxiety

Our levelheaded doctor considers our overly fearful world filled with manufactured anxiety of one looming calamity or another over at The Epoch Times.

Yes, we never lack for reasons for anxiety, which it is our duty as citizens to feel even if anxiety is an unpleasant feeling and by feeling it we improve nothing and affect nothing. Our watchword is not eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die, but eat, drink, and be anxious for tomorrow we die.

Emotional Damage

Over at Law & Liberty, Theodore Dalrymple opines on the upright bearing of the world-famous tennis champion, Boris Becker, during his sentencing to prison for not revealing all of his assets during bankruptcy proceedings.

In not expressing remorse, Becker displayed a kind of probity. Either he did not feel it, in which case it would have been dishonest to have expressed it, or he did feel some remorse but refused to express it in order merely to obtain a reduction in his sentence. In either case, he showed himself in a certain respect the superior of his judge.