Category Archives: Essays

How Totalitarians Flourish

Over at Law & Liberty, the critical doctor calls out the former woke CEO of National Westminster Bank, Alison Rose, for having her staff compile a 40-page dossier on Nigel Farage before unceremoniously tossing him out of the bank. Thankfully, she has since resigned over this incident, which incidentally caused the bank’s value to fall by over $1 billion. Hope springs eternal.

Still, the tendency to moral grandiosity combined with a lack of elementary scruples, as illustrated in this episode, is worrying. Would one trust such people if the political wind changed direction? Their views would change, but the iron moral certainty and self-belief would remain the same, like the grin of the Cheshire Cat. How many meetings have I sat through in which some apparatchik has claimed to be passionately committed to a policy, only to be just as passionately committed to the precise opposite when his own masters demand a change of direction?! The Coutts story is one of how totalitarianism can flourish.

The Flowering of Mediocrity

In this week’s Takimag column, the skeptical doctor speaks out against the overrated personal characteristic of ambition, tells of his reliable and wise French gardener, and admonishes Nietzsche for his enthusiastic support of the decline of the Christian faith.

I grant that ambition is sometimes, or often, necessary, but it is a virtue, like bravery, that is not self-standing. To be brave in a bad cause is worse than to be cowardly in the same cause. And it hardly takes much historical knowledge to realize that ambition can be the closest ally of monstrous evil.



Hubris of a Scientific Giant

In the current issue of The Critic, Dr. Dalrymple recaps the downfall of the (in)famous Dr. Raoult with his much-touted but ultimately bogus COVID treatment.

Hubris is followed by nemesis, however, and boastfulness provokes enmity, even (or perhaps especially) when its contentions are justified or partly justified. It was his claim to have found a simple, cheap and effective cure to Covid-19 that made him a media star and turned his head.

Writing About Small Things

In his weekly Takimag column, the curious doctor recounts to his loyal readers the wonders of nature that he regularly observes from his library on his French estate.

The cicadas were kicking up their usual racket, and I thought of La Fontaine’s fable. In it, the cicada has spent the whole summer singing, but when the north wind begins to bite has nothing left to eat. She asks her neighbor, the ant, for food, which she, the ant, has spent the summer accumulating for wintertime. “You sang all the summer, though,” replies the ant. “Very well, now you can dance.”


Sentencing Based on Remorse: A Flawed Approach Raises Concerns

Over at The Epoch Times, the judicious doctor calls into question the recent admonition of one of the policemen involved in the Floyd case by a Minnesota judge for not showing the necessary level of remorse.

As revenge is a dish best eaten cold, so remorse is an emotion that should bring no tangible reward—such as a reduced prison sentence. Indeed, in conditions in which expressions of remorse are rewarded, not to express remorse could be taken as a sign of truthfulness and probity.


New Pugs Club Member?

Over at Takimag, our favorite doctor informs his faithful readers of his dislike of the pug dog breed, a recent repetitive liberal house guest, and the eternal question of nature versus nurture.

This is what G.K. Chesterton meant when he said that, after Christianity, the Christian virtues would not be lost, they would run mad. With the death of God, people would replace Him in the forgiveness stakes, and in their universal but grandiose benevolence they would go round ostentatiously forgiving everyone—for what they did to others, of course.

Standards and Judgements

In the August issue of New English Review, our intrepid doctor reminisces about his visit long ago to Malawi as he reviews an excellent book on its formerly long-reigning dictator, Dr. Banda.

He was an amalgam that would now be thought impossible, that did not because it could not exist. Our official multiculturalism and post-colonialism have stunted our ability, and even our willingness, to try to understand and put ourselves in the place of such a person as Dr Banda. He was an anti-colonialist and African nationalist with a genuine admiration for the culture and achievements of the colonising countries—in this case, of course, Britain.

For Goodness’ Sake

In this week’s Takimag, the good doctor considers what it takes to be a good person, a world without hypocrisy, and our mediocre ruling elite. A delightful article to get the weekend off to a strong start.

But with the spread of the idea that goodness consists entirely of having the right ideas about the abstract questions of the day, presented in such few slogans that even the meanest of intelligences can grasp or memorize them, together with the seemingly obvious principle that the good should inherit the earth, the scene is set for a kind of prolonged coup d’état by the mediocre. And when it comes to the current crop of politicians in the Western world, many of them seem to have mediocrity inscribed on their faces.

Losing Doctors

Returning to the revamped online version of the Salisbury Review, Dr. Dalrymple summarizes the litany of avoidable missteps and misguided changes in the British health care system since the 1980s.

The behaviour of the junior doctors, reminiscent of the unionised car-workers in the 1960s and 70s who did so much to destroy the British car industry by pursuing ruinous pay claims, has severely damaged their prestige in the eyes of the public. They are no longer special; they are no different from any other group that thinks it can hold the public and the government to ransom.

The Rise of Totalitarianism: Banks Denying Services Based on Political Views

Over at The Epoch Times, our dissenting doctor illustrates the growing soft, leftist totalitarianism with the preposterous closure of Nigel Farage’s bank account by Coutts.

Even more alarming, perhaps, than the initial closure of Mr. Farage’s account on political grounds, which might have been the decision of an individual zealot and his or her apparatchiks, is that (according to him) 10 other banks, acting as a kind of inquisitional cartel, have refused to open accounts for him. Many of these banks will no doubt have been fined in the past for dishonest and large-scale illegal practices, but the one thing they will not tolerate is freedom of opinion.