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New set of short stories: Saving the Planet and Other Stories

Dalrymple has written a new set of short stories called Saving the Planet and Other Stories, and it is available at all Amazon sites. The book includes eight stories that reflect various aspects of contemporary society and culture, including frustration with modern officialdom but also both the tragedy and delight of everyday interpersonal conflict — all in quintessential Dalrymple style. It is his fourth collection of short stories.

You can buy it here in the US or here in the UK, or from whatever Amazon site you use.

Kafka Comes to Scotland, and Free Speech Goes Missing

The dubious doctor covers another preposterous story from Britain involving the arrest of a man by the police for simply having posted a disrespectful and crude tweet.

But increasingly a tyranny of self-proclaimed virtue seems to be the aim of university-trained intellectuals who, in the name of their own beneficence, seek to silence those whose opinions they find objectionable. It is the very class that one might have supposed had most to fear from censorship, both legal and extra-legal, that most strongly advocates it.

The Delusions of a Marxist Professor

Over at The Epoch Times, our skeptical doctor runs into a delusional bolshevik academic and ponders whether such an unhinged ideologue should be corrupting the youth.

The professor was an intelligent man, and probably cultivated too. How was it possible, in the Year of Our Lord 2021, for such a person still to believe that, until the advent of Stalin, the Russian revolution was a good thing, to be emulated or repeated elsewhere?

Credulity Springs Eternal

The good doctor is enjoying fine health and taking advantage of more free time to work his way through his massive library during the lockdown as we learn in his weekly Takimag column.

I have been fortunate (so far) during the pandemic. Not only have I not caught the disease, but I have an isolated house and a large number of unread books that I have accumulated over the years to keep me occupied. I never buy a book without intending to read it, but, like the person whose eyes are bigger than his stomach, I buy books much faster than I can read them. They pile up.

The Mass Surrender of Individuality in Rock Music and Fascism

Theodore Dalrymple remarks on the fawning and ludicrous coverage of the fifth anniversary of the death of David Bowie by the farcical, liberal British media.

Once I wrote an article for a French cultural review in which I said that a rock concert appeared to me like a fascist rally of libertinism. The conformism with overtones of revolution, or at least of overturning established norms of behavior, seemed to me rather similar.

And Everything in Its Place

The February edition of New Criterion showcases our favorite doctor’s review of a new book on the invention of the alphabetical order.

The way in which we classify the things, people, and events in the world is very important, but there is no way that is correct for all purposes. One of my projects in retirement is to classify and catalogue my books, some thirty thousand of them, in time for my relict to sell them to a bookseller at a knock-down price merely to disembarrass herself and the house of them. How do I classify them? Alphabetical order plays a part, but only a part. Nobody else looking at the books would understand the way they are arranged. My classification, an autobiography of sorts, is unique and dies with me.

The Spoiled Brat Reaction to Pandemic Effects on Health

Over at The Epoch Times, the skeptical doctor surveys some of the Wuhan pandemic literature and in particular one pamphlet written by a typically ungrateful and carping member of the French professoriate.

But to speak of the degradation of our health is not only to exaggerate, but to talk the language of the spoilt brat who does not know his own good fortune by comparison with that of preceding generations. And spoilt brats without a sense of perspective are not necessarily the wisest of policy-makers.

Rash Thinking

In this week’s Takimag column, the good doctor is reminded again of his deceased friend from last week’s article on account of a recurring skin rash.

But no word of complaint was ever heard to emerge from the mouth of M…… D……. He bore his cross—which was soon to crush the life out of him—with patience and fortitude, and he remained far more interested in other subjects than in himself. At the time, this did not strike me as at all remarkable or heroic: It was just how he was. Nor do I think he would have much appreciated expressions of the admiration I now feel for him; he would have found them embarrassing, and he neither pitied himself nor wanted pity. And yet, looking back, I wish I could have let him know in what high regard he deserved to be held.

If the Stoics Had Been Right

Dr. Dalrymple meditates on death, the Stoics, vigils, and tomb robbers in the February edition of New English Review.

If the Stoics had been right—that death is nothing to be feared—surely Mankind would have lost its fear of it by now, but I see no sign of this, perhaps rather the reverse; for as belief or confidence in an afterlife declines, it—Mankind— clings more than ever to the only life that it has, or believes that it has.

Bureaucracy and the Tin-Pot Stasi

The dubious doctor points out yet another laughable British court sentence against a young criminal to show how the British criminal justice system has become just another ineffectual bureaucracy concerned mainly with the growth of its (and the state’s) power.

What accounts for this ridiculous charade that is both ineffectual and totalitarian in its implications? Part of the problem is in the bureaucracy’s need to appear to be doing something without actually doing anything. But there is something deeper: namely a concerted drive, going back decades, to find alternatives to prison at all costs—including the cost of high levels of violent crime, up by nearly a hundred times since 1950.