Category Archives: Essays

A Matter of Truth

The pathetic and predictable uproar over a comment by comedian Ricky Gervais—that was condemned as ‘transphobic’ by the usual mob of leftist ideologues—is dissected by the good doctor at City Journal.

A question of truth—whether a transsexual woman is in no respect inherently different from a biological female—is transformed into a question of loyalty to a new doctrine, nonacceptance of which in its totality being taken by the right-thinking as a mark of bad or evil character and intent, such that he or she who fails to accept it should be excommunicated by all decent people, discriminated against, and denied employment.

We wish all of Theodore Dalrymple’s fans a Happy New Year filled with joy, peace, good health, and a whole lot less transphilia.

Kabalarians at the Gate

The latest example of the crazy politically correct orthodoxy rampaging through the West—this time involving a child in America as the main perpetrator—is the topic of Theodore Dalrymple’s Quadrant piece.

Even if we were to learn that the story were fake news, it would bring us little comfort because it was plausible enough for us to have believed it. There is little doubt that children, even the most privileged, are being bred up to easy moral outrage about complex and difficult social matters before they can even think, which is why, perhaps, a child of nine or ten can spell correctly the word offensive but not write (or we are willing and able to believe that it can).

Evening Above the Hell-Bar

A recent overnight stay above a noisy, sketchy bar in an English town is recounted for us by Theodore Dalrymple in his weekly Takimag column.

There are few sounds more frightening than that of the English young enjoying themselves. The English, it was once said, take their pleasures sadly; but now they take them loudly, which is far, far worse. Their pleasures are brutish, and the sounds the men emit while experiencing them are indistinguishable from those of a mob indignantly beating someone to death. As for the women, they never speak but they scream, as if being chronically raped.

We would like to wish all of our readers around the world a peaceful and merry Christmas.

Thoughts on the Extraordinary NHS Delusion

The British National Health Service recently celebrated 70 years of providing mediocre to substandard health care to the British population and Theodore Dalrymple weighs in on the NHS delusion at Law & Liberty.

That the British – freeborn Englishmen – have so willingly acceded to their own pauperisation in the name of equality and security (what they receive may not be the best, but they can at least be assured that they will receive something), and in the process suppressed their own critical faculties, is a fascinating, if minor, episode in human political evolution. 

Teddies for All

The good doctor discusses his foolproof plan to alleviate depression in the Western world in his latest Takimag column.

Candles, I suppose, are supposed in an era of electric light to symbolize peace and serenity, as in churches of old. What was once associated with prayer has been transferred to a kind of secular or pagan ceremony, the very gesture of spirituality without religion (people want the comfort of religion without its discipline and prohibitions).

The Rationalizers

Public statements from the authorities following a brutal killing in Birmingham, England prompt the good doctor to opine on the misuse of language over at City Journal.

Perhaps I am hypersensitive to the misuse of language, but I cannot altogether rid myself of the idea that the way people put things reveals something about their underlying view of the world and their way of thinking.

Marginalizing Nature

Theodore Dalrymple weighs in at Law & Liberty on the absolute lunacy that is the attempted normalization of the mental disorder known as gender dysphoria (i.e. the radical ideology of transgenderism) after reading another intellectually feeble “scientific” paper.

We increasingly think that we live in an existential supermarket in which we pick from the shelf of limitless possibilities whatever we want to be. We forget that limitation is not incompatible with infinity; for example, that our language has a grammar that excludes certain forms of words, without in any way limiting the infinite number of meanings that we can express. Indeed, such limitation is a precondition of our freedom, for otherwise nothing that we said would be comprehensible to anybody else.

Uneasy Virtue

The cardinal virtues are the focal point for today’s Theodore Dalrymple Takimag column.

We do not live in a golden age of the four cardinal virtues; perhaps there never was such an age, which is why life has always been such a mess. But we have gone further than our predecessors. I suspect that most of us would now be unable to name the virtues, let alone exercise them. Just to remind you, they are prudence, temperance, fortitude, and justice.

Portsmouth in England

In the December edition of New English Review we find the good doctor recounting his visit to the southern English port town of Portsmouth. While there, Theodore Dalrymple ruminates on modern architecture, the regrettable spread of tattooing, culinary multiculturalism, and bibliophilia.

A stroll in Southsea tells you quite a lot about modern society, or at least a part of modern society. The fact is that for a considerable distance down its main street, it is easier to get yourself mutilated, either by tattoo or by piercing, than to buy a tomato. Fresh food, it seems, is scarcely ever bought by the people of Southsea, probably students living in shared rented houses.

Deadly Superstitions in London

The latest murderous Islamist attack in London is the focus of Theodore Dalrymple’s City Journal article. The good doctor discusses the ridiculously lenient British justice system, the pathetic public response to the terror attack, the typical false beliefs about ciminal justice of our so-called intellectuals, and ends with a telling passage from the great G.K. Chesterton.

The first superstition is that terrorists are ill and are both in need of and susceptible to “rehabilitation,” as if there existed some kind of moral physiotherapy that would strengthen their moral fiber, or a psychological vaccine that would immunize them against terrorist inclinations. The second is that, once terrorists have undergone these technical processes or treatments, it can be known for certain that the treatments have worked, and that some means exist to assess whether the terrorists still harbor violent desires and intentions. The third is that there exists a way of monitoring terrorists after their release that will prevent them from carrying out attacks, should they somehow slip through the net.