In his weekly Takimag column, the dissenting doctor calls out the bloated, bureaucratic nanny state ready to intervene on behalf of the helpless, victimized sheep whose rights it claims to champion.
The more vulnerable people can be induced to believe themselves to be, the more they need assistance to keep themselves going. Such assistance (which is self-justifying, though never sufficient, or indeed even partially effective) requires a vast legal and other infrastructure, put in place and regulated by the government. The government is the pastor, the people are the sheep.
Our levelheaded doctor considers our overly fearful world filled with manufactured anxiety of one looming calamity or another over at The Epoch Times.
Yes, we never lack for reasons for anxiety, which it is our duty as citizens to feel even if anxiety is an unpleasant feeling and by feeling it we improve nothing and affect nothing. Our watchword is not eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die, but eat, drink, and be anxious for tomorrow we die.
Over at Law & Liberty, Theodore Dalrymple opines on the upright bearing of the world-famous tennis champion, Boris Becker, during his sentencing to prison for not revealing all of his assets during bankruptcy proceedings.
In not expressing remorse, Becker displayed a kind of probity. Either he did not feel it, in which case it would have been dishonest to have expressed it, or he did feel some remorse but refused to express it in order merely to obtain a reduction in his sentence. In either case, he showed himself in a certain respect the superior of his judge.
In this week’s Takimag, the good doctor turns his gaze toward the irresponsible and profligate monetary and fiscal policies pursued by most Western governments seeking to square that proverbial circle in an attempt to win the next election.
For many years, the policy of several Western governments has been, by various subterfuges, to live beyond their means, to spread largesse they do not have, to put off the reckoning to another day, to deceive the electorate into thinking that what cannot continue will nevertheless continue, and moreover continue forever.
In the May print edition of First Things, our favorite doctor turns literary critic as he reviews the latest book by the ever interesting Michel Houellebecq, titled Anéantir (Annihilation).
As Chekhov conveyed boredom without being boring, so Michel Houellebecq conveys meaninglessness without being meaningless. Indeed, his particular subject is the spiritual, intellectual, and political vacuity of life in a modern consumer society—France in this case, but it could be any Western country. One gets the point early on in his oeuvre, but his observations are so acute and pointed that his variations on the theme are always worth reading. Houellebecq reveals the absurdity that often lurks behind the commonplace.
In the April edition of First Things, the perceptive doctor summarizes for us the recent French presidential election and the possible consequences it may carry for the next one.
Narrow constitutional legitimacy without the wider kind is now a problem for many Western democracies. In France, however, there is a further problem, and successive presidents have wrestled with it in vain. People dislike their state but expect everything of it. They want its benefits and protections but hate taxes. They want reform but no change.
In this week’s Takimag column, Dr. Dalrymple considers the obesity epidemic while remembering his first and only “epic” breakfast, which took place while visiting a prominent Dagestani Islamist with a penchant for Armenian brandy.
One thing I have noticed: Obese people can be almost evangelistic for obesity, as if to justify themselves. If everyone is obese (or many people are), no one is obese, and individual responsibility is thereby abrogated. Fat people tend to have fat dogs, at least on my straw poll. We live in a world that is becoming like that of a painting by Fernando Botero, with the humor taken out.
The dubious doctor rebukes the latest woke leftist nonsense regarding the selection of actors at the Royal Shakespeare Company in England over at The Epoch Times.
Here at The Skeptical Doctor, we sincerely hope that wokery will die a swift and spectacular death, so that we can move on to rebuilding European Christian civilization from among the ruins.
I think rather that Wokedom is analogous to diseases such as Kuru and Creutzfeldt-Jakob in humans and scrapie in sheep, caused by particles called prions that infect the brain and cause it to degenerate, resulting in strange and disturbed behavior ending in death. Unless a remedy is found, what will die, however, is not an individual human being but ultimately a culture and a civilization.
The May issue of The Critic features a blistering critique by the dissenting doctor of the demagogic leftist politician, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, and his unworkable socialist policies.
No lie appeals more to the dissatisfied than this, offering as it does the illusory hope of a confiscatory solution to life’s little problems. The best that can be said of it is that it permits the dissatisfied an access of hatred and moral outrage, which is always enjoyable and gratifying to experience.
In the May edition of New English Review, our inquisitive doctor strolls through the Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris and discovers a curious tomb of a young Frenchman.
There is nothing like a cemetery, of course, for recalling to oneself the tragic dimension of life, the dimension that our constant busyness and pursuit of distraction is designed to veil from us, and that is largely successful: except that the tragic dimension will sooner or later take its revenge on our attempted insouciance.