Category Archives: Essays

Fruit of the Spirit

In the March edition of New English Review, the curious doctor undertakes an interior journey of trying to understand his penchant for sour fruit.

No one ever peeled an apple as well as my father. When I was about eight or nine, he would pick an apple from a tree in the garden, sit down on a stone step, and start to peel it. More than sixty years later, I have never seen anyone peel an apple better.

The Triggers of History

In his weekly Takimag column, Theodore Dalrymple explores the sinister and self-serving motivations of the lefty London School of Economics apparatchiks, who have decided to expunge all references to Christian holidays from the university’s calendar. The revolution marches on.

That is why those who want to manage the whole of society love the kind of history that sees no grandeur, beauty, or achievement in it, but only a record of injustice and misery (which, of course, really existed, and all of which they, and only they, will put right). The real reason for the enthusiasm for pulling down statues is to destroy any idea of the past as having been anything other than a vast chamber of horrors, and since everyone has feet of clay, and the heroes of the past always had skeletons in their cupboard (to change the metaphor), reasons for destroying statues, even of the greatest men, can always be found.

Bowdler’s Return

Over at City Journal, the dubious doctor notes the decision of Roald Dahl’s publisher to censor his children’s books lest they cause emotional distress to all the usual, over-sensitive cast of contemporary misfits and weirdos—or to run afoul of our increasingly totalitarian, lefty PC police.

Just think of the work necessary to be done on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Why the White Rabbit, for example? Why not the Cross-Breed Rabbit? As for the White Queen, could there be any character more redolent of white supremacy? Surely the Mad Hatter should henceforth be the Neurodiverse Hatter?

Is the Fascination With Dinosaurs a Manifestation of Colonialism?

The astounded doctor points to yet another blatant example of the corruption of science due to the infiltration of the quasi-official, progressive, Marxist-tinged leftist ideology of the day.

The underlying implication of the article is that science is tainted by its historical, economic, and sociological origins and that there’s no such thing as disinterested inquiry into truth, that is to say, curiosity or love of truth about the world for its own sake, and that everything is, at base, political. The authors project their own obsessions onto the world.

We Are All Psychoanalysts

In this week’s Takimag column, the good doctor attempts to analyze the possible motivations of the recent Monterey Park, CA shooter, and concedes the futility of such a psychological exercise.

In everyday life, we often ascribe motives to people that they do not ascribe to themselves. We say that the real reasons that they do what they do are very different from the reasons that they themselves give for their conduct, and we do not necessarily assume that the difference between the reasons that we and they ascribe are because they are lying. On the contrary, we think that we know their reasons better than they know them themselves. To that extent, we are all psychoanalysts.

Lying to Ourselves

Over at Law & Liberty, Dr. Dalrymple once gain admonishes the untruthful and dangerous propagators of the radical, disordered trans ideology.

Pity and compassion, formerly Christian virtues, are the virtues that run wild in the modern social liberal’s mind. Indeed, one might almost say that he has become addicted to them, for they are what give meaning and purpose to his life. He is ever on the lookout for new worlds not to conquer, but to pity.

To Matter or Not to Matter

In his Takimag column, the philosophical doctor gazes at the stars from his country chateau in France and considers the consequences on his perception of his own significance.

On the other hand, not being able to look up at the stars, thereby being made aware of how tiny we are, might conduce to self-importance and small-mindedness. Our own affairs then grow in significance and occupy the totality of our minds. We lose the habit, and therefore the ability, to judge the size of our concerns with anything else. We have no sense of the order of things, especially if, at the same time, we do not study history; and minor inconveniences then become for us tragedies of the first magnitude. Thus we become egotistical, self-obsessed, ill-tempered, self-absorbed, and trivial-minded.

A Certain Type of Absurdity

Over at The Epoch Times, our disbelieving doctor cites an absurd Canadian survey to illustrate the danger of the modern Western intellectual ideologue.

The sad fact is that, as George Orwell once remarked, it’s necessary to have a higher level of education than average to believe in a certain type of absurdity. This is even more the case today when so much of our education seems to fall into two stages: indoctrination by others followed by auto-indoctrination.

The Blame Game

In last week’s Takimag, the skeptical doctor considers whether it is worse to be justly or unjustly accused after a heated parking argument in his neighborhood.

It is much easier, and more fun, to denounce bad behavior than to behave well. Denunciation brings its pleasures, among which is the discomfiture, or worse, of the person or persons denounced. We love to imagine the squirming of someone under the lash, or as a consequence of our words. And all this in the name of righteousness! A double delight.

Specific Idiocy

In the February issue of New Criterion, our favorite doctor has the unenviable task of reviewing a book written by a committed Venezuelan Marxist on the literary style of Karl Marx.

In his short book Marx’s Literary Style, the Venezuelan poet and Marxist Ludovico Silva, who died in 1988 before the socialist experiment in his country got underway and reduced it to its current misery, examines Marx’s writings from the literary point of view and judges them superlative in every way.