Theodore Dalrymple

Theodore Dalrymple

Theodore Dalrymple is an author and retired doctor who has written for many publications round the world, including the Spectator (London), the Wall Street Journal (New York) and The Australian (Sydney). He writes a monthly column in New English Review and is contributing editor of the City Journal of New York. His latest book is Admirable Evasions: How Psychology Undermines Morality, Encounter Books.

Judges of History

Last week, I gave a talk to my local historical society about a distinguished lady who lived locally and died sixty years ago this year. After my talk, a middle-aged gentleman—by far the youngest in the audience—came up to me and said something very revealing, which, of course, I shall leave to ...

Bleak Options

The current preliminaries to the forthcoming American election are both appalling and fascinating (the appalling usually fascinates in a way that the meritorious seldom does). The contest seems to be boiling down to which of the two candidates’ mental gaffes is the more disqualifying for the ...

Justice Underserved

Viscerally, I am in favor of the death penalty, but in more sober reality I am against it. There are some crimes so heinous, so beyond all extenuation, that death seems the only just punishment; but justice is not the only desideratum in human arrangements, so this is not a decisive argument. I ...

A Tale of Two Drunks

Personal experience is no guide to statistical reality, a lesson brought home to me recently once again by a trip to London. When I arrived back home from my trip, a copy of The Spectator was waiting for me, and its cover story was about the decline of drinking in Britain. Suffice it to say that ...

Children at Checkout

It is a trope of many intellectuals that to stack shelves in a supermarket, or to work at a supermarket checkout, is the worst fate that can befall a human being. Such a job is regarded as the very epitome of dead-endedness, though a dead end is what we are all progressing toward anyway, and many ...

Keeping Up With Japan

Everyone lives in his own little world and unless he makes a special effort from time to time to enlarge it, there is a tendency with age for it to collapse in on itself and become yet smaller. It is for this reason that I sometimes read the Japan Times, for otherwise that country would not be on ...

Harvard University, Boston

All the President’s Mien

The slow-motion implosion of Claudine Gay’s presidency of Harvard has been a pleasure for many to watch, in the manner in which wanton boys, to use Shakespeare’s designation of them, enjoy picking the legs and wings off flies. Her discomfiture was deserved, however; she seems to have made a ...

The Food Police

The world, said James Boswell, is not to be made a great hospital; but to a hammer everything is a nail, and to doctors and medical journals everything is either a medical problem or a medical solution. Looking at the website of the Journal of the American Medical Association today, I came across ...

Broken Codes of Conduct

The desire for perfection in human relations is a powerful stimulant of conflict—and of a bureaucracy to adjudicate it. That all should be fair, open, aboveboard, that no one should ever experience discomfort because of what someone else says, that each should be shown equal signs or marks of ...

Ruins of Kenidjack arsenic works Cornwall UK

Poison Pen

One of the great pleasures of retirement is that one can lie abed in the morning and read Agatha Christie without any feeling of guilt—guilt about being late for work, for example. It doesn’t matter in the least if one gets up at eleven: One hasn’t anything else important, or ...


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