15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 13 March 2013
Always witty and incisive Mr Dalrymple (Daniels) wades fearlessly into a tangled social problems, with the authority of a retired prison psychiatrist and intellectual. Those of us on the "mild-left" need our assumptions challenged like this.
One of the most touching moments comes in an essay in which he expresses dismay that so many critics, including professors of leading universities, resort to vituperation to attack what he considered to be carefully balanced views. Opposing views and even corrections he will accept, but internet-scattered ad hominem abuse from people who might be presumed to be above such behaviour he cannot understand.
In the very next essay Mr Dalrymple deals with the Anglican Church - describing it as run by "snivelling, cowardly bishops"!
Ah, well, wouldn't it be boring if humans were consistent?
Thank you for a good read. It is good to see the essay form still thrives in such hands.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
On the face of it I should respond with more enthusiasm to Theodore Dalrymple. We share enthusiasms: bookshops, dogs and cemeteries amongst them. Neither of us has TV nor listens to the radio, and neither can make much sense of “spiritual but not religious”. In addition, he writes lucidly and sometimes wittily. Even more important is that he targets major issues, which are a real threat to our society, or what remains of it. I stand four square behind his attacks on politically correct language, the shallowness of most contemporary art and the poverty of state education. A number of these essays should be required reading for those who wallow in the flabby liberalism of such as “The Guardian”. Furthermore, via this collection, he has inspired some potently intelligent and forcefully argued reviews here.
What holds me back from offering full-blooded endorsement is something in the tone of many essays. At its worst it comes across to me as self-congratulatory, bordering on the smug. There is also a thread of anti-intellectualism. Not all intellectuals are “wet liberals” – many wrestle honestly with complex issues and themselves put liberalism under scrutiny and rigorous pressure. The pose of the plain man’s thinker can at times be a cover for suspicion of anything new, or smacking of the avante garde. Generalisations such as : “licence is no friend to the poor” seem to me less statements of the obvious than indications of a remoteness from the actual lives of those unable to function according to Mr. D’s strict social standards. Occasional snide asides, as for example at Dawkins, seem to be governed by more personal then rational considerations. All that said, I do find some of the essays powerful and important, most particularly: “A Version of Conversion”, “Steady as She Goes” and “Please Feel My Pain”. Overall I’d score three and a half, but since not possible I’ve settled for three.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 14 January 2014
Ruling us today is not a Party as brutal perhaps as Orwell's 1984 but for sure and for certain we are living in a society where dissent from the system is not tolerated, free thinking comes at some personal cost, and where lies and corruption are endemic to everything.
Onto the scene comes Dr. Dalrymple who with a skilled surgeons knife who deftly exposes the rotten core.
The range of his learning is astonishing - and refreshing, it would be a pure joy to read if his material were not so grim.
But if the truth sets us free, lies must imprison us. And Britain is full to overflowing with lies.
My own professional experience is similar to Dr. Dalrymple's and I can vouch for pretty much everything he says.
As an historian I would add that there is not a single example I can think of where a country that has collapsed as thoroughly as modern Britain has not ended up in a condition of a war of all against all.
The radical Left has simply taken over the country. This has happened gradually since the late 1950's but the cultural revolution launched by the liberals - which perhaps really got going with the Abortion Act in the late 1960s - is now a permanent feature of our collapsed society.
What has happened is that the people of this country have been subjected to an extreme form of social experimentation - get rid of the family ( we all know fathers abuse their children so let the state abuse them instead ), celebrate adolescence ( rioting makes you free and importantly brings respect and money from the liberal elite, who enjoy the vicarious frisson of anarchy, and who thieve the money anyway from the despised 'ordinary' people ), abolish borders, language and culture ( there can be no exit from the appalling EU, language is to be used to control others, and culture comes from the lowest, and most anti social dregs of society).
How has all this happened?
How can things change?
You cannot avoid the thought that the political class of this country should be facing the collective wrath of the decent people of this country but decency seems to be the one thing that has been squeezed out of the system.
I cannot imagine anyone from the governing elites wishing to deabte the points Dalrymple raises.
Some of the stuff he writes about they will never even acknowledge, so explosive are the issues.
First class witing - simply required reading for any thoughtful and concerned person.