Here are the Blogs in the Theodore Dalrymple
Sunday, 24 January 2016
In his essay, "Politics and the English Language," George Orwell recommended that, in prose, the active voice is always to be preferred to the passive. He put it more actively: never use the passive where you can use the active. But he knew that any such rule must have exceptions and the last of his ...Read More...
Posted on 01/24/2016 5:20 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
Thursday, 21 January 2016
Anyone who examines the contents of his own mind without prejudice in his own favour will be obliged to admit that the vast majority of his thoughts are of the utmost banality: I'd like a cup of tea, it's nearly time for bed, why don't my visitors go home, etc. This, perhaps, explains why instant communication ...Read More...
Posted on 01/21/2016 5:50 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
Thursday, 7 January 2016
Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely: but it is common knowledge, or at least opinion, that it also ages. Men who achieve political power early in life turn middle-aged within a year or two, however youthful they may have appeared at the outset. Do they die earlier than they otherwise ...Read More...
Posted on 01/07/2016 6:54 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
Wednesday, 6 January 2016
On Christmas Eve, a group of 12 Muslims in the northern French town of Lens gathered round to protect a church where midnight mass was about to be performed. They wanted, they said, to give a different and better impression of Islam from that which is increasingly taking hold in Europe.
No doubt ...Read More...
Posted on 01/06/2016 6:53 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
Monday, 4 January 2016
I have reached the age when friends start to suffer serious illnesses and today I had to take one of them (whom I have known for more than 40 years) to hospital for his radiotherapy. Oddly enough, this was not the depressing experience one might have expected it to be.
In the first place, all ...Read More...
Posted on 01/04/2016 7:07 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
Thursday, 31 December 2015
Man, as far as I know, is the only creature who can envisage his own extinction: not only envisage it, but enjoy doing so. Deadly new viruses, collisions with asteroids, overwhelming floods: all are the stuff of Hollywood films.
But of all of mankind that enjoys contemplating its own extinction, ...Read More...
Posted on 12/31/2015 5:30 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
Monday, 28 December 2015
Every cloud, it is said, has its silver lining: but does every silver lining have its cloud? So it often seems in daily life, and there is no situation so favorable that men are incapable of extracting disaster from it. But medicine is one field in which progress seems almost unalloyed: setbacks are ...Read More...
Posted on 12/28/2015 8:17 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
Monday, 21 December 2015
My heart sank whenever a patient said to me that his or her ambition was to be happy: I knew that he or she was destined for misery because happiness is not the kind of thing that can be aimed at like the bullseye of a target, and that trying to aim at it is therefore an exercise in futility.
There ...Read More...
Posted on 12/21/2015 10:41 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
Wednesday, 16 December 2015
In the introduction to his magisterial anthology, the late John Gross declined to offer a definition of good prose. His taste was as catholic as his knowledge was deep and wide, but it was also sure. Gross included examples of the flowery and the spare, the tragic and the comic, the poetical and the ...Read More...
Posted on 12/16/2015 7:11 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
Monday, 14 December 2015
Freedom of expression is precious, there is no doubt, but sometimes I wonder whether freedom from expression is even more precious. This never occurred to me before the advent of the internet, which revealed to me as nothing else had ever done the vile nature of the thoughts of some, or many, of my ...Read More...
Posted on 12/14/2015 5:06 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
Friday, 11 December 2015
My French brother-in-law recently sent me links to videos of two young French Muslims of North African descent inveighing against crimes committed in the name of religion. They were unmistakably angry and sincere. Interestingly, they said it was up to us—that is to say, we, the Muslims of France—to ...Read More...
Posted on 12/11/2015 5:03 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
Thursday, 10 December 2015
Being a literary, book-buying type, the Oxford University Press informs me by e-mail of its new publications in the field of literature. And next year is the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death, so it was only to be expected that there would be an even large number of books published about him ...Read More...
Posted on 12/10/2015 5:52 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
Friday, 4 December 2015
The day before the Swedish coalition government of Social Democrats and Greens announced that it was reversing its refugee policy and closing its borders to all but the minimum numbers of refugees laid down by the European Union, the website of the Guardian newspaper ran a video about the Swedish Democrats, ...Read More...
Posted on 12/04/2015 5:08 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
Wednesday, 2 December 2015
One of the greatest plays of the 20th century, at least of those known to me, is Max Frisch’s The Fire Raisers (1953). Written in the aftermath of the Second World War as an attempt to explain (and to warn) how a patent evil like Nazism can triumph in a civilized society, this play does what only great ...Read More...
Posted on 12/02/2015 5:27 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
Monday, 30 November 2015
A few days ago I saw a little item in the Guardian newspaper whose size belied its significance. It said that Indian students were increasingly abandoning Britain as a place to study for America: and no one could blame them for doing so.
Indeed, in one case I was responsible for this. An Indian ...Read More...
Posted on 11/30/2015 4:58 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
Saturday, 28 November 2015
On my last visit but one to Brussels, my hosts asked me what I would like to see. "Molenbeek,' I replied, for I had heard that much of it was virtually a North African ghetto and I wanted to see it for myself.
My hosts were game and took me there. They told me that it was de facto extraterritorial ...Read More...
Posted on 11/28/2015 8:41 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
Friday, 27 November 2015
We live in a golden age of unctuousness, at least if the covers of the Lancet, one of the most important medical journals in the world, are anything to go by. On those covers, the editor, or some employee of the journal, chooses a sentence from the current edition to be inscribed upon it in large letters, ...Read More...
Posted on 11/27/2015 6:01 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
Monday, 23 November 2015
'British Muslims report big rise in Islamophobia' said the headlines of an article in the Guardian for 12 November. From the headline, I thought I would read that there had been an increase in the number of vicious attacks on Muslims qua Muslims, or at least of acts of physical desecration.
Not ...Read More...
Posted on 11/23/2015 8:43 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
Sunday, 22 November 2015
Detroit was the second American city I ever visited. It was fifty years ago, and it was then at the apogee of its prosperity. It never occurred to me—I don’t suppose it ever occurred to anyone else either—that half a century later it would be an inhabited ruin, a dystopian novel come to life, a city ...Read More...
Posted on 11/22/2015 7:36 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
Monday, 16 November 2015
One has to pity—a little—politicians obliged to react publicly to events such as those on November 13 in Paris. They can’t pass over them in silence: but what can they say that does not sound banal, hollow, and obvious? They can only get it wrong, not right.
That does not excuse inexactitude and ...Read More...
Posted on 11/16/2015 6:28 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
Friday, 13 November 2015
Like many other people, I have a sneaking admiration for those who commit forgery or fraud (provided the latter is not on me), especially if in the process they make authorities look foolish and thereby expose their pretensions or incompetence. For a time the notorious forger of Vermeer, Han Van Meegeren, ...Read More...
Posted on 11/13/2015 6:49 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
Thursday, 12 November 2015
Sometimes I think that British popular culture is a little like North Korean propaganda. It is crude, unpleasant and inescapable. If you criticise it, you are taken for an enemy of the people. One should not exaggerate, of course: by inescapable, I mean in certain circumstances. North Korean propaganda, ...Read More...
Posted on 11/12/2015 5:22 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
Tuesday, 10 November 2015
We often forget - or at least, I often forget - on just how many ordinary, decent people the comfort of our lives depends. I was reminded of this the other day when a man from the water company called to check the quality of the water supply. Our house had been selected at random by a computer for a ...Read More...
Posted on 11/10/2015 5:01 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
Saturday, 7 November 2015
Last week a political magazine asked me to comment on an angry man's Facebook comments that a certain prisoner had been released from prison on appeal. They were as follows:
I’d go inside [prison] just to wrap a quilt round his neck
and stab the …. in his skull until his head is drained, no
remorse, ...Read More...
Posted on 11/07/2015 4:42 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
Friday, 6 November 2015
The Reverend Thomas Malthus was an English clergyman at the end of the 18th Century and the beginning of the 19th Century who put forward an idea that was to have a profound influence on Charles Darwin in developing his theory of evolution. Malthus claimed that the human population has a tendency to ...Read More...
Posted on 11/06/2015 4:47 AM by Theodore Dalrymple