Theodore Dalrymple informs us of the current controversy surrounding the well-known psychologist, Dan Ariely, in this week’s Takimag column.
The precise role of Professor Ariely in the fabrication of data is not yet certain. He might himself have been a victim of someone else’s malfeasance, though this would not be most people’s favored explanation. They would much prefer the downfall of a man who has hitherto bestridden the world with his best-sellers such as The Honest Truth About Dishonesty.
In the September issue of New Criterion, the critical doctor effectively excoriates the malicious marxist, Herbert Marcuse, whose pernicious work with the Frankfurt School haunts the West to this day.
If Marcuse is still worth reading today, it is not because of the merit of his ideas, but because, as I have mentioned, he was a prophet of sorts. It seems that some of the very people in whom he placed his hope to institute his utopia—the disaffected intellectuals, the racial and sexual activists, the marginals of various kinds—are intent upon creating the very kind of unidimensional man, thoroughly indoctrinated and unable to think for himself, who Marcuse thought were overwhelmingly prominent in the America of his time.
In the summer issue of City Journal, Dr. Dalrymple sings the praises of the British government’s Covid-19 vaccination program that he views as one of the very few government programs that was successfully implemented.
But then a question arose in my mind. How was it possible that so large a campaign should be so excellently organized in a country increasingly infamous for its maladministration, from its police forces to its educational system?
In last week’s Takimag column, our skeptical doctor critiques the obnoxious, self-serving, green ideology dominating much of Western intellectual thought nowadays.
But the environmentalists have a strange attitude to beauty: They are intimidated by it, which is why they so often wish to destroy it by their schemes, urban and rural, for saving the planet. Beauty (as the late and very great writer Simon Leys pointed out) confronts us with our own incapacity to create it, in short with our own mediocrity. We therefore desire to bring everything down to our own, not very high level.
Over at Law & Liberty, the good doctor disparages a subpar book extolling the life and thought of the radical leftist, Edward Said.
All the more striking, then, is the acceptance of Said’s admiration for Sartre as “one of the greatest intellectual heroes of the 20th century,” in part because he was so “open-minded” about “actually existing socialism.” To be open-minded about the deaths of tens of millions of people and the establishment of totalitarian tyrannies does not seem to me a virtue, but on the contrary a terrible vice, all the worse in the context of libelling those such as Koestler who exposed it for what it was.
The dissenting doctor illustrates another case of modern envy and resentment as prominent English women demand to be admitted to a historic men-only club where men choose to associate freely with other men. Get over it, ladies.
This suggests to me that the women, though prominent lawyers, are not very intelligent, or at least not very careful with their words: for by definition a club is committed to inequality and, if not quite to uniformity, at least to exclusivity.
Dr. Dalrymple assesses a quote from a 1925 Stefan Zweig article critiquing the growing uniformity around the world in this week’s Takimag article.
Still, I know what he meant when he referred to an increasing need for sensation. I suffered it myself when I was young, seeking out danger when life seemed to me insufficiently interesting without it. I was fortunate enough to be able to satisfy my desire for sensation by being able to travel somewhat dangerously, but those who had not this good fortune had to find something else to satisfy them. Music has become louder, films more violent, sport more extreme and brutal.
Over at the Quadrant, our favorite doctor recounts the sordid story of a French murderess and her unlikely redemption.
This is strange, because the French are in many ways deeply conservative and opposed to change, especially when it comes to their personal privileges. It means that reform is difficult and explains why France has long periods of immobility punctuated by convulsion.
In the current issue of The Critic, the skeptical doctor points out yet more contradiction and hypocrisy from the leftist ideologues who dominate the current degenerate Western cultural elite.
Some words, in their modern usages, either invite lies or are in themselves implicit lies. One such word, of course, is diversity. Another is inclusion. Just as the Ministry of Love in Nineteen Eighty-Four was responsible for repression and torture, so the word diversity promotes the imposition of uniformity and inclusion promotes exclusion.
The critical doctor showcases another faux proletarian, marxist would-be revolutionary hawking $50 sweatshirts for the next generation of indoctrinated, disgruntled radicals over at Takimag.
That the world is a vale of tears for many, that people suffer injustice, preventable disease, cruel abrogation of their liberty, and so forth, is hardly news; but the idea that revolution is necessarily the answer to their prayers is adolescent. But of course it is also religious: It represents the transfer of sentiment from the religious sphere to that of politics.