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New book: These Spindrift Pages

Dalrymple has a new book available on Amazon. These Spindrift Pages is a collection of thoughts inspired by his recent reading. The material that serves as his inspiration, both prose and poetry, is as varied and profound as you might expect and, naturally, so are his observations. He discusses writers that run the gamut from the very popular to the very obscure, and addresses all kinds of topics, from murder and charlatanism to beauty and compassion.

The title comes from a beautiful Dylan Thomas poem that Dalrymple quotes in the preface. I had to look this up, but spindrift is the sea spray that is blown off the tops of cresting waves, and the title conjures in my mind images of a writer capturing his thoughts as they drift off into a mist. 

To purchase the book, check your friendly, local Amazon page. It is available here to US readers and here to those in the UK.

Unwelcome Addition

In last week’s Takimag, the doubtful doctor lambastes the latest addition of hideous modernist architecture blighting Oxford’s cityscape.

The story of the modern addition to Pusey House in Oxford is a case in point. Only three years after it was completed and opened, it has had to be closed because it is cracking up, but not with laughter. At the time of its opening, it was lauded by the usual suspects as being “innovative” in design, but we have enough experience of innovation by modern British architects to know that the word in their mouths means ugly, dysfunctional, and improvable only by demolition.

Beware Health Totalitarianism

Our favorite doctor castigates a new oath at the Minnesota Medical School, and warns us against the dangers of the increasing politicization of the medical profession over at Law & Liberty.

Political propaganda has never been intended to inform, and under totalitarian regimes, it is not even intended to persuade. In conditions in which it is obligatory to assent to, applaud, and even repeat and intone it, doing violence to the truth can itself become an aim. The less truthful propaganda is, the more it is at variance with common sense and common experience, the better: for by forcing people publicly to assent to what they know to be false, the propagandists humiliate them and do violence to their self-respect. Such people are easy to herd and dominate: their locus standi to resist future impositions has been destroyed in advance. 

The Importance of Free Speech in the Medical Profession, and the Dangers of Censorship

Over at The Epoch Times, Dr. Dalrymple voices his concern over conflicting messages from the American Medical Association relating to what doctors can and cannot say publicly.

In essence, they require physicians to voice their opinions but also to face disciplinary action if their opinions happen not to coincide with the received opinions of their time. This is a very odd way of going about stimulating medical debate, which is so necessary to progress, to say nothing of freedom itself.

Electoral Economics

Dr. Dalrymple skillfully diagnoses the conflict between the typical demagogic democracy and sensible, long-term fiscal policy over at Takimag.

But, even supposing a government to be honestly disposed in the matter of balancing its budget, it finds itself on the horns of an insoluble dilemma: It must either reduce its expenditure or increase taxes. And in modern democracies, government is not about doing the right thing by the country but about winning the next election. We live, in effect, in a permanent election campaign.

Why Are We Letting Dangerous Criminals Roam the Streets?

Over at The Spectator, the skeptical doctor once again challenges the prevailing British criminal justice system’s lax attitude towards parole after the latest atrocity from England.

Everything in that system has become a charade, a Potemkin village – a failing state with no Catherine the Great in sight. All is appearance, nothing is substance. Judges sentence criminals to three years’ imprisonment, knowing full well that they will be released in 18 months or sooner, as a matter of course, and do not protest against having to lie in this fashion.

This Property is Condemned

In this week’s Takimag, our critical doctor sets his sights on the recent fraud scandal involving Gautam Adani before attacking another Indian billionaire’s hideously tasteless palace, which was designed—to no one’s surprise—by Western architects.

The question, then, is: Why is it that in our age, everywhere in the world, the very rich are incapable of adorning the world, unless it be by preservation of the monuments of the past? The artists and architects who serve them cannot do it either. If beauty is one of the proper goals of life (the others being truth and goodness), humanity has lost its way—at least in this respect.

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?