Specific Idiocy

In the February issue of New Criterion, our favorite doctor has the unenviable task of reviewing a book written by a committed Venezuelan Marxist on the literary style of Karl Marx.

In his short book Marx’s Literary Style, the Venezuelan poet and Marxist Ludovico Silva, who died in 1988 before the socialist experiment in his country got underway and reduced it to its current misery, examines Marx’s writings from the literary point of view and judges them superlative in every way.

Into the Night

In the February issue of New English Review, our mournful doctor reflects on the passing of former colleagues, and one particularly exemplary former boss back in his Rhodesian days.

Events has also taught us another lesson, a potentially dangerous one for a consumer society that requires for its functioning the constant renewal of desire: namely that a great deal of what we covet, desire or think necessary for our happiness is of very marginal or no importance at all to our well-being. But this, too, is a lesson that is likely to be soon forgotten: for if we had truly understood it, we should not have needed to be taught it in the first place.

What Rational, Educated People No Longer Do

Over at Quadrant, Theodore Dalrymple considers the great cultural accomplishments of European civilization against the backdrop of recent obnoxious acts of green radicals and SJW extremists.

Suppose that mankind had always applied its efforts strictly according to the most pressing needs of the time, that is to say according to the values of the contemporary equivalents of those who stick themselves to the walls of art galleries, what of value would it ever have bequeathed to subsequent generations?

Cash Out

In his Takimag column, the good doctor gets a haircut at a cash-only barbershop, goes in search of change for a 50 euro note, winds up in a bookstore, and ends up reading a polemic against Islamism. Just another morning out and about for our intrepid doctor.

I cannot say that I look forward greatly to the time when every purchase we make is traceable by them, which is to say the authorities, who will make use of the information in any way they please. Among other things, they will be able to compare our expenditure with our income, and since they think that all money really belongs to them, and any left to us is by their grace and favor, they will be able to tighten their control over us.

The Progressive Scottish Gender Bill

Over at The Epoch Times, the dubious doctor highlights the devious motivation(s) behind the Scottish nationalist leader’s support for a radical, contradictory, and absurd gender bill, which is opposed by the majority of her countrymen.

Therefore, she tries to square the ideological circle by means of the transgender issue. By making it easier for youngsters to change gender, she’s proclaiming her credentials as a progressive, though what progressives think they’re progressing to always remains unexplained. Perhaps Gomorrah.

Look to the Lebanon

In this week’s Takimag column, the pessimistic doctor picks up a magazine filled with articles on Lebanon and comes to the stunning conclusion that our once glorious, but slowly fading Western world is on the road to Lebanonization.

No analogies are exact, but Western societies seem to be fracturing into various confessional communities each of which, like the Maronites, Druzes, Shiites, Sunni, and others, claims its share of the politico-economic spoils. They struggle like worms or grubs in the tins in which anglers keep their bait, while an unchanging elite preside, or at least glide, godlike, over the whole. In the meantime, public administration deteriorates, infrastructure rots, and inflation rockets.

On Purpose

In last week’s Takimag, the philosophical doctor ponders the purpose-seeking nature of man, the Lisbon earthquake of 1755, and the appeal of conspiracy theories—all stemming from misplacing his credit card.

Yet such is the nature of the human mind that even the firmest believer in the meaninglessness of existence finds purpose difficult to eliminate from his thoughts. If you read books by strict Darwinists, for example, you will frequently find locutions such as “Evolution did this” or “Evolution decreed that,” as if Evolution were a being with a mind and purpose of its own. The question remains, of course, whether we impose purpose on the world (by which I mean all that exists) because of our psychological makeup or whether purpose is genuinely immanent in the world. I incline to the former view, but I would not go to the stake for it.

MCC Podcast: Social Values in Times of Crisis – The Psychiatrist’s Perspective

Our favorite doctor appears on the interesting podcast of Mathias Corvinus Collegium here in Hungary to discuss his travel experiences behind the old Iron Curtain, Western social breakdown, the importance of judgment, as well as Hungary’s efforts to preserve traditional marriage and its historic architecture.

Knowledge and Verve

Theodore Dalrymple pays his respects to the famed journalist and historian, Paul Johnson, who passed away two days ago. Requiescat in pace.

It is customary to say of remarkable men that we shall not see their like again. Whatever may be the case with other remarkable men, this is likely to be true of Paul Johnson. It is unlikely that anyone will tackle so huge a range of subjects again with such knowledge and verve.