Off the Rails

A train ride from Nimes to Paris with an annoyingly garrulous passenger nearby has Theodore Dalrymple contemplating over at Takimag. Another day in the life of the skeptical doctor.

I have long thought that if it were not for complaint, we should have very little to talk about. Complaint is like crime in the theories of the first real sociologist, Émile Durkheim: It is the glue of society. Without opposition to crime, society would fall apart. Without complaint, most of us would remain silent and have no relations with others at all.

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