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Theodore Dalrymple is a retired prison doctor and psychiatrist. A highly popular journalist, he writes for The Times, The British Medical Journal,The Observer, Daily Telegraph, Spectator, The Salisbury Review and is contributing editor to the City Journal where he is Dietrich Weismann Fellow. His books include, ‘Life at the Bottom’, ‘Our Culture’, What’s Left of It’ ‘Spoilt Rotten: The Toxic Cult of Sentimentality’ ‘The Worldview that Makes the Underclass’. 'Dalrymple's work,' writes Daniel Hannnan, 'takes pessimism about human nature to a new level....once you get past the initial shock of reading about battered wives, petty crooks and junkies from a non-Left perspective, you find humanity and pathos.'
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Jane Kelly worked for the Daily Mail
for 15 years as a leading celebrity
interviewer. Among her subjects
were; Hilary Clinton, Jack Nicholson,
Russel Crowe, George Clooney,
Michael Portillo, Tony Benn, Jeffrey
Archer, Edwina Curry, Scarlett
Johansson, Arthur Scargill, Vanessa
Redgrave and Elizabeth Taylor. She
has written two books; a biography
of Colin Farrell, and ‘Inside’ an
account of working as a teacher in
Wormwood Scrubs Prison, London.

These acerbic, direct, and often
funny blogs, reflect Jane’s clear
eyed view of our silly, sentimental,
shopping obsessed, left wing society
as it stumbles toward self
annihilation.
On my Uppers
Jane Kelly


The Hilarious Pessimist
Theodore Dalrymple
5th of April Theodore Dalrymple is unpersuaded that wrongdoing
is unintentional and only needs 'working with'.

The belief that everyone can be persuaded by argument to behave well is, I
suppose, a corollary of the notion that no man does wrong knowingly. The task
of the moralist, then, is to get people to understand the true nature of their
conduct, to educate them; and once this is done, the reprehensible conduct will
cease by itself.

This is an optimistic theory, and like all optimism is unfounded. Men not only do
wrong knowingly, but often do wrong because they know it is wrong. Of course,
every false theory is an employment opportunity for someone. The truth might
set you free, but it will also sometimes make you unemployed. And
unemployment is more to be feared than is freedom to be welcomed.

Recently I attended our annual town meeting. The senior policeman in charge of
our area was there to take public questions. He was very smooth, and might just
as well have been a mildly evangelical vicar as a policeman. One of the
townspeople asked him about periodical nuisance in the town, namely the
descent upon it of hundreds of motorcyclists who gather garbed in black leather
at a disgusting café a few miles out of town, and arrive like a swarm of African
killer bees, their machines making a sound like angry hymenopterans of
Brobdingnagian size.

Was it an offence to make such a noise, asked the townsman?
'No,' replied the vicar-policeman.

If he had left it at that, we should all have been satisfied with the knowledge that
in order to do something about it, if we felt sufficiently moved to do anything at
all, we should have to lobby parliament. However, the vicar-policeman
(presumably his boss was a canon-policeman, or even a bishop-policeman)
continued:

'We are working with the bikers to educate them about the noise they make. We
send an officer to the café on the weekends when they meet there.'
This infuriated me. Talk about wasting police time! It was grossly disparaging of
us to imagine that we should be impressed by such evident absurdity, and
condescending to the bikers themselves to suppose that they were unaware that
the revving of their engines made a noise fit to bring down the walls of our town.
They did not make the noise because they were unaware of it, they made the
noise because they liked it. The pretence that ignorance was the heart of the
problem (the vicar-policeman was far from stupid) gave his force an excuse to
engage on pseudowork, so much easier and less wearing to perform than real
work.     

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