Category Archives: Essays

French Literatis’ Group Think Turns to Side With Decency

The dubious doctor recounts the saga of another overrated, pseudo-intellectual, sexual deviant French writer whose well-known pedophilia (child molestation) has finally been attacked by his former admirers among the fickle, amoral French “intellectuals.”

I have little sympathy with Matzneff either as a writer or as a man. Of course, I have read only a tiny fraction of his oeuvre, but he strikes me, quite apart from his morals, as a bad writer, self-indulgent, self-centred and self-important, in a word boring. Perhaps libertines always are boring.

But this is not my point. In the 1970s, many eminent French intellectuals such as Sartre and Foucault were supporters of paedophilia and argued publicly for the abolition of laws against it.

Montaigne’s Humanity

For the Winter 2021 edition of City Journal, the skeptical doctor covers the life and works of the famous 16th-century French essayist, Michel de Montaigne.

We cannot derive a coherent doctrine from Montaigne. He was skeptical about the profound finitude of human knowledge but believed in facts, which he used to establish points that he wanted to make. He was not a rationalist but did not disdain logic to make an argument, and was therefore not an irrationalist, either. Rather, his skepticism was a call to intellectual modesty, and his appreciation of the immense variety of the human and natural world a reminder that the ocean of truth lies all before us and will forever do so.

History and Self-Perpetuating Resentment

Over at The Epoch Times, Dr. Dalrymple once again highlights the politicization of the British Medical Journal after reading a typically leftist, SJW editorial. #Science?

Those who, for political reasons, keep past oppression or crime constantly before the mind of the descendants of the victims (that is to say, descendants of the victim group, not necessarily of the individual victims) help to foment and foster a deep mistrust or resentment that is no longer justified, but which can lead people in effect to cut off their noses to spite their faces.

A Monument to Self-Importance

The dissenting doctor severely chides that paragon of modernist architects, Frank Gehry, over at City Journal.

A glance at this structure induces a state of anxiety, or, alternatively, a feeling of sea-sickness. Has there been an earthquake, or perhaps a terrorist attack, to twist the metal in this way and set windows at peculiar angles? Has it been designed by a brain-damaged patient with perceptual difficulties?

Humility on a Cellular Level

The good doctor attempts to come to terms with his mobile phone dependence in this week’s Takimag column.

A sensible person does not have to be permanently contactable, and indeed, when I look back, some of my happiest times have been the months in which I was totally incommunicado. My recent dependence on my phone, however, has revealed to me that I am exactly like others in my folly, no worse but no better. I am humbled, if not humiliated, by my phone.

The Fascistic Drive for Equality

In his The Epoch Times column, our favorite doctor pens a penetrating piece on the standard leftist, politically-correct ideology running amok in British academia.

The most important tenet, perhaps, in the drive for totalitarian social engineering of the proto-Stalinist variety is that all differences in desirable—or at least desired—outcomes between identifiable groups, even in the most open society, can only arise from injustice or the exercise of illicit influence by the already powerful.

Freedom Betrayed by a Population of Digital Snitches

The dubious doctor comments on the absurd story of a Welsh town councillor suspended from his party for calling a female politician belonging to another party a cow in a secret recording from last year.

The situation is made all the worse in the modern world by the speed with which what is morally absurd or unthinkable becomes morally obligatory, so that one has to consider not only what is unsayable now, but what might become unsayable in five or 10 years’ time.

Meghan’s Misery

In his weekly Takimag column, Dr. Dalrymple excoriates Mrs. Clinton, Meghan Markle, and Herr Freud all in one delightful piece of incisive critique.

Mrs. Clinton, who knows a thing or two about phoniness, praised Meghan Markle’s decision to speak of her “mental health” before tens of millions of her very closest counselors. Mrs. Clinton said it was brave of her, but brave was not the word for it; exhibitionist would have been better, together, perhaps, with scheming, opportunist, histrionic, self-serving, egotistical, and shallow, amongst other things. If there were a Nobel Prize for self-pity, Ms. Markle would have been a strong contender—rather like Mrs. Clinton herself.

The Morality of the Fat Owl

In the March issue of New Criterion, our skeptical doctor examines the literary output of Charles Hamilton, with particular focus on his most famous character, Billy Bunter.

Orwell’s argument is a deeply philistine one. It is our present unpleasant and conflictual identitarian politics ab ovo. It suggests that literature should not so much take us out of ourselves, or allow us to enter into something of which we have no direct experience, but should be about ourselves and our own lives. It should be relevant to what we already know, namely our own experience, in which it should thereby enfold and enclose us.