Category Archives: Essays

In the Name of the Flock’s Welfare

Over at Australia’s Quadrant, the dubious doctor weighs in on the increasingly ‘controversial’ free speech topic, as well as Scotland’s outrageous, quasi-totalitarian ‘hate-speech’ law.

Most people want it for themselves, of course, but many would far rather that others would shut up. It does not come naturally to people to enjoy being contradicted, much less severely criticised. We want freedom from opinion at least much as we want freedom of it.

The Replication Conundrum

Over at Law & Liberty, Dr. Dalrymple considers the perceived increase in scientific fraud and the possible reasons behind this recent phenomenon.

There are, of course, good reasons why scientific fraud should have increased. The number of practising scientists has exploded; they are in fierce competition with one another; their careers depend to a large extent on their productivity as measured by publication. The difference between what is ethical and unethical has blurred.


Out, Damned Overactors!

Our theater critic doctor laments the poor diction and exuberant emotional displays of many modern actors on the British stage over at Takimag.

The actor’s words must not only be decipherable, but their meaning should not be lost in a welter of distractingly extravagant gesture, all the more so where the meaning is subtle. No interpretation of Shakespeare can be final, but mode of delivery can destroy. It is a mistake to suppose that the poetry of the 17th century must be delivered with the intonations of a discussion in a bar at the present time.

Richard Glossip Execution Case: A Cat-and-Mouse Game With Justice

Over at The Epoch Times, our irritated doctor slams the Oklahoma—and by extension, the American—justice system for allowing a convicted murderer to be on death row for 27 years before his execution.

What kind of criminal justice system takes 27 years to decide that a man should die, even if he deserves to do so? What kind of criminal justice system plays cat and mouse with a man’s life in this fashion?

Legion of the Sick

In the May issue of New English Review, our bookish doctor covers the brutal communist regime of Albania’s Enver Hoxha and how it allowed its most famous writer, Ismail Kadare, to continue writing.

The strangest contradiction about Albania was that it was the home to one of the greatest of European writers of the epoch, Ismail Kadare, who would surely be a worthy recipient of the Nobel Prize (unlike some others who have recently received it).

Orwell’s Arresting Ambiguities

Our bibliophile doctor reviews and resoundingly endorses a new book on George Orwell by D.J. Taylor over at Law & Liberty.

His Orwell is a complex man, tormented and conflicted to some degree but also, overall, admirable. The fact that Orwell was not all of a piece and contained contradictions within himself is what lends depth to his work. There may be better books about Orwell than this, but if so I do not know them.

Copycats of Mediocrity

In this week’s Takimag, Dr. Dalrymple comments on the plagiarism case of a run-of-the-mill, mediocre ‘diversity’ commissar at a major American medical university.

I rather fear, however, that Dr. Perry might be both sincere and hardworking; and no busybody is busier than the one who thinks that he or she is engaged in God’s work. A cynical careerist is far preferable, though it is possible that we have created—I almost said built—a culture in which true belief and ruthless careerism are happily conjoined.

Drink Your Port While You Can

In last week’s Takimag, the good doctor weighs the pros and cons of keeping up with current affairs—over which he has no control—and what to have for lunch—over which he has vastly more influence.

For all I know, a terrible epidemic may be raging in some corner of the world, killing multitudes; but why should ignorance not be bliss, where knowledge will make no difference?

“Problematic” Art

In the April issue of The Critic, the critical doctor ridicules yet another poorly written and nonsensical article from the chief ‘literary critic’ of a major British newspaper. How far we have fallen…

It is the kind of adolescent tripe that passes these days for thought: probably the author imbibed it at university. Of course art may be disturbing, controversial and the rest, but that is not its point.