Author Archives: David Seri

The Costs of Leniency

In his Law & Liberty column, the critical doctor makes yet another forceful argument against using punishment as personal therapy for murderers and rapists after reading about an outrageous crime—this time from France for a change.

A society that lacks either the will or the courage to imprison someone like Nicolas Alba for life (without, I hasten to add, any cruel treatment) is a society that has no confidence in its own judgment, either moral or practical.

Less Than Adequate

In his weekly Takimag column, our incredulous doctor turns his attention to the modern age’s confusion over rights before taking a brief detour to explain our current economic framework.

For example, it is clearly desirable that everybody should be housed decently: No one wants to see anyone homeless who does not desire to be, or to live in horrible conditions. But that is not the same as saying that everyone has a right to a home, for such a right would impose on others the duty to provide such a home irrespective of the person’s conduct. Since no home can be provided except at the cost of human labor, a right to housing is also the imposition of forced labor.

The Oikophobic Will to Power

After reading an essay by Daniel Mahoney, the dubious doctor considers the disgraceful and pathological tendency to self-hatred on the part of many Western “intellectuals.” Read it over at Law & Liberty.

To this, I should tentatively reply that it is because of the mass intellectualization of society consequent upon the spread of tertiary education. Intellectuals have an inherent tendency to be oppositional to all received opinion or feeling, for there is no point in going to the trouble of being an intellectual if one ends up thinking and feeling what the great mass of the people around one think and feel. Love of country and inherited custom is so commonplace as to appear almost normal or natural, and much of it, of course, is unreflecting.

Seeing Is Now Disbelieving

If any of our readers thought that the absurd, insane, and completely irrational gender ideology was going to quietly fade away anytime soon, the latest Dalrymple The Epoch Times column should serve as an unpleasant wake-up call.

The bureaucrat who asks the question from obedience and fear for his position comes to believe that he’s engaged in important work of social reform. There’s no one as shameless as a bureaucrat following orders who has persuaded himself that those orders are for the good of humanity.

The Cherished ‘Right’ to Torture Evidence

Theodore Dalrymple returns to the Quadrant with an interesting essay on the concept of rights, the abortion debate, and the American Constitution.

The triumph of the Soviet conception of rights—that nothing counts as a right until it is exercised in practice—is caused by the apprehension, perhaps the oversensitive apprehension, of the manifest and manifold defects of our own societies. It is only fair and just, of course, that we should face up to these defects, but it is also important to make comparisons with what is possible, not with an abstract ideal held up to us that never has existed and never will exist.

Numbered Days

Over at City Journal, the good doctor predicts the impending end of Boris Johnson’s tenure as British prime minister in light of the Partygate scandal and the recent no-confidence vote in Parliament.

Johnson behaved as if he belonged to a class to which rules did not apply, even when he made them himself. Rules are for bumpkins, such as Queen Elizabeth, not for the likes of him. This mentality—always attractive to the powerful or self-important—is quite widespread.

Doing Time

Our skeptical doctor returns to the June edition of The Critic with another strongly worded criticism of the British justice system and the intentionally misleading British media.

What is the purpose of this elaborate charade? It is to create the misleading impression that the state takes crime, and the protection of the public from it, seriously, when it does nothing of the kind. 

Blind and Blissful

In this week’s Takimag, the pensive doctor writes about his admiration for the local fishmonger before switching to the topics of uncomfortable truths and the willful blindness on the part of so many, especially the over-educated, modern, pseudo-intellectual posers.

Glory be to those who have no overweening ambition! No doubt we need people of exceptional qualities, brilliance and drive, but we also need (just as much, and more of them) people who have no dreams of fame or wealth but are content to lead lives of quiet usefulness.

The Abandoning of the Word Pupil

Once again over at The Epoch Times, Theodore Dalrymple takes another firm stand on using the word “pupil” instead of “student” when it comes to describing young schoolchildren.

But there’s something deeper than this, a kind of insincere refusal of authority as such. People now refuse to admit that they are exercising authority even as they are doing so, because authority is supposedly so undemocratic or paternalist in nature. We’re all autonomous beings who have the right to decide everything for ourselves, and since there’s no precise age that autonomy can or should rightfully be exercised, it’s best at least to pretend that 8-year-olds are students and not pupils.