Little Platoons of Monomaniacs

In last week’s Takimag, our troubled doctor compares former communist countries with our own liberal democratic societies and finds an uncomfortable level of similarities.

I do not think anyone in the West would have equated personal rectitude with adherence to a single ideological vision, but I think it quite common now. If you want to know whether a person is good or bad, ask what his opinions are. If they are correct, he is a good man; if they are wrong, he is a bad man.

Because I Say So

Over at Australia’s Quadrant, the skeptical doctor contemplates modern-day democratic dissatisfaction, the growth in the power and arrogance of our bureaucrats, and the political climate in Britain, France, and the USA.

Dissatisfaction being the permanent condition of mankind, it behoves us to put our dissatisfactions into some kind of perspective. If we do not, we shall mistake inconveniences for tragedies and, what is perhaps worse, tragedies for inconveniences. Without any knowledge of history, or even appreciation that history is important, it is impossible to achieve perspective; and one should never forget that it is easier to effect change for the worse than for the better.

 

Corruption Legalised

In a previous issue of The Salisbury Review, our favorite doctor points out the moral shortcomings, general incompetence, financial wastefulness, and increasingly ideologically driven state of British public administration: its vast army of bureaucrats, corrupt contractors, overpaid consultants, and ineffective police.

Slowly and reluctantly, I have come to the conclusion that Britain is a very corrupt country indeed – worse than, say, France. It is corrupt, of course, in its own way, that is to say, slyly, indirectly, surreptitiously, and with a good leavening of hypocrisy. Outward forms of institutions are often maintained, more or less, but they are eviscerated of their meaning.

Britain Is Not Addicted to Punishing Criminals

Back at The Spectator, our judicious doctor pens another forceful critique of the dysfunctional and ineffective British criminal justice system.

Punishment is not therapy for the soul, though it would be good if it acted in this way. The criminal justice system should always remember that it is not the medical profession for those who break the law.

Labour’s Unfortunate Winning Recipe

Over at City Journal, the astute doctor examines the British election results, which saw a well-deserved demolition of the ‘Conservative’ Party at the hands of an alternative even worse: Starmer’s leftist Labour Party.

No government could have deserved to lose an election more than Rishi Sunak’s in Great Britain. Unfortunately, it does not follow that because a government deserves to lose an election that the opposition deserves to win. It is a persistent illusion among voters, however, that because things are bad, they can only get better. Alas, they can usually get worse—much worse.

A Very Innocent Man

In the July issue of The Critic, Theodore Dalrymple highlights some recent instances of incorrect and strange use of the English language, including by a former U.S. president, no less.

I don’t want to over-exaggerate the importance of such ill usage, but on the other hand, I don’t want to under-minimise it either. If we are not careful, we shall become hyper-insensitive to verbal solecisms.

Something Rotten in the State of the Whole Western World

In the July edition of New English Review, our concerned doctor dissects the current sad state of (Western) Europe, with particular focus on the disastrous Swedish experiment of importing unassimilable, backward migrants en masse.

But I think that there was more to it than mere grandiosity, something deeper and more general in Europe as a whole, at least among what might be called the intellectual classes: namely a loss of the right of Europe to exist as a civilisation except as an object of criticism, reprehension and even hatred, the reasons for which loss are no doubt multiple and impossible to designate with absolute certainty.

The Mind of Macron

In this week’s Takimag, the good doctor gets inside the mind of the French president in order to understand his decision to dissolve the National Assembly following his technocratic party’s disastrous showing in the European Parliament elections.

Fear of finding something worse is what keeps a lot of politicians in power in representative democracies; and M. Macron, nanny to the nation, might hope that the French people realize in time that there are far worse people than he in the political menagerie.

Watch Out, Alcoholics and Mrs T.

Back at The Oldie, Prof. Dalrymple explains the symptoms of and possible remedies for Dupuytren’s contracture, which is a thickening of tissues in the palm of the hand. How fascinating, Doctor…

This illustrates a general point: that it may be necessary to wait for some time before differences in the results of treatments manifest themselves. Immediate results may be deceptive.