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New book: These Spindrift Pages

Dalrymple has a new book available on Amazon. These Spindrift Pages is a collection of thoughts inspired by his recent reading. The material that serves as his inspiration, both prose and poetry, is as varied and profound as you might expect and, naturally, so are his observations. He discusses writers that run the gamut from the very popular to the very obscure, and addresses all kinds of topics, from murder and charlatanism to beauty and compassion.

The title comes from a beautiful Dylan Thomas poem that Dalrymple quotes in the preface. I had to look this up, but spindrift is the sea spray that is blown off the tops of cresting waves, and the title conjures in my mind images of a writer capturing his thoughts as they drift off into a mist. 

To purchase the book, check your friendly, local Amazon page. It is available here to US readers and here to those in the UK.

Of a Scale Unknown

In the winter edition of City Journal, the concerned doctor reflects on the shocking Rotherham sexual abuse scandal, which was largely swept under the rug by the criminally negligent local authorities.

The toxic mix of two degraded cultures intermingling in the context of a public administration that is bloated, cowardly, unsure of itself, and rotted by ideological stupidity resulted in child abuse almost on assembly-line principles. The Rotherham scandal was some years ago now, but it was far from unique.

The Buzz of Endless Talk Revealing Nothing

In his latest Quadrant piece, our critical doctor shares his thoughts on graffiti, tattoos, noisy restaurants, and the lack of creativity in modern hotel room designs.

Few things reveal a man more than his aesthetic judgments, which is why so much art and architectural criticism, at least of contemporary art and architecture, fails to make any. A whole vocabulary is employed to avoid them: they are as much to be avoided as rude remarks at a garden party. Which of the desiderata of truth, beauty and goodness remains standing after the postmodernist assault?

Unwelcome Addition

In last week’s Takimag, the doubtful doctor lambastes the latest addition of hideous modernist architecture blighting Oxford’s cityscape.

The story of the modern addition to Pusey House in Oxford is a case in point. Only three years after it was completed and opened, it has had to be closed because it is cracking up, but not with laughter. At the time of its opening, it was lauded by the usual suspects as being “innovative” in design, but we have enough experience of innovation by modern British architects to know that the word in their mouths means ugly, dysfunctional, and improvable only by demolition.

Beware Health Totalitarianism

Our favorite doctor castigates a new oath at the Minnesota Medical School, and warns us against the dangers of the increasing politicization of the medical profession over at Law & Liberty.

Political propaganda has never been intended to inform, and under totalitarian regimes, it is not even intended to persuade. In conditions in which it is obligatory to assent to, applaud, and even repeat and intone it, doing violence to the truth can itself become an aim. The less truthful propaganda is, the more it is at variance with common sense and common experience, the better: for by forcing people publicly to assent to what they know to be false, the propagandists humiliate them and do violence to their self-respect. Such people are easy to herd and dominate: their locus standi to resist future impositions has been destroyed in advance. 

The Importance of Free Speech in the Medical Profession, and the Dangers of Censorship

Over at The Epoch Times, Dr. Dalrymple voices his concern over conflicting messages from the American Medical Association relating to what doctors can and cannot say publicly.

In essence, they require physicians to voice their opinions but also to face disciplinary action if their opinions happen not to coincide with the received opinions of their time. This is a very odd way of going about stimulating medical debate, which is so necessary to progress, to say nothing of freedom itself.

Electoral Economics

Dr. Dalrymple skillfully diagnoses the conflict between the typical demagogic democracy and sensible, long-term fiscal policy over at Takimag.

But, even supposing a government to be honestly disposed in the matter of balancing its budget, it finds itself on the horns of an insoluble dilemma: It must either reduce its expenditure or increase taxes. And in modern democracies, government is not about doing the right thing by the country but about winning the next election. We live, in effect, in a permanent election campaign.

Why Are We Letting Dangerous Criminals Roam the Streets?

Over at The Spectator, the skeptical doctor once again challenges the prevailing British criminal justice system’s lax attitude towards parole after the latest atrocity from England.

Everything in that system has become a charade, a Potemkin village – a failing state with no Catherine the Great in sight. All is appearance, nothing is substance. Judges sentence criminals to three years’ imprisonment, knowing full well that they will be released in 18 months or sooner, as a matter of course, and do not protest against having to lie in this fashion.

This Property is Condemned

In this week’s Takimag, our critical doctor sets his sights on the recent fraud scandal involving Gautam Adani before attacking another Indian billionaire’s hideously tasteless palace, which was designed—to no one’s surprise—by Western architects.

The question, then, is: Why is it that in our age, everywhere in the world, the very rich are incapable of adorning the world, unless it be by preservation of the monuments of the past? The artists and architects who serve them cannot do it either. If beauty is one of the proper goals of life (the others being truth and goodness), humanity has lost its way—at least in this respect.