A Pug’s Life

In his weekly Takimag column, our pet-friendly doctor dwells on the appearance and life of his cleaning lady’s pug before pondering his own good fortune.

In fact, this is the central mystery of human existence: how we become what we are, for no inventory of our genetic inheritance and environmental circumstances quite accounts for it. Where human beings are concerned, there is always an unbridgeable gap between what is to be explained and the explanation offered, and I hope that there always will be: For total knowledge would lead to total power, and total power to total oppression.

Heading off the Criminal Urge

Over at Quadrant, Theodore Dalrymple considers criminality, the increasing leniency of most Western justice systems, and the effect of crime on its victims.

Leniency is compassionate, severity cruel: such at any rate is the presumption of the intellectual middle classes, who, perhaps feeling guilty at their own good fortune, often inherited, by comparison with the classes from which criminals are usually drawn, find in making excuses for the latter, and in proposing lenient treatment of them, a way of demonstrating their generosity of spirit.

Trumped-Up Charges

In this week’s Takimag, our judicious doctor weighs in on Donald Trump’s latest politically motivated legal travails in New York City.

The real harm that the case has caused New York is not that done by Mr. Trump’s overestimate of the value of his assets and claims to be making a profit when he was making a loss, but that done by a trial that makes the law nothing but an instrument of political enmity that can strike anyone, anywhere, anytime. This is the jurisprudence of tyranny.

Untrue Believers

In his Takimag column, the good doctor calls attention to the latest absurd, woke nonsense emanating from England. ‘Progress’ marches on…

We would like to wish all of our readers around the world a happy, peaceful, and blessed Easter.

One of the great advantages of wokeness is that it allows for both at the same time. A person can make a very decent career out of being passionately devoted to a cause, for causes these days pay very well, or can be made to do so. Doing good works and doing well have become entirely compatible.

Vulgarity as Virtue

In the winter issue of City Journal, Theodore Dalrymple recounts his recent visit to Edinburgh and his unfortunate and jarring encounter with the horrors of modern architecture, as well as the widespread vulgarity on display all around.

Nothing could be more emblematic of the implosion of Scottish (and British) taste than the incapacity of modern architects and government officials to build even a minimally pleasant building on, and appropriate to, the site—in a city whose elegant but simple Georgian architecture is world-renowned.

Waving the Flag, a White One

Over at Australia’s Quadrant, our patriotic doctor considers the difficulties of raising a conscripted army of British or Australian citizens, many of whom are self-serving modern wokeists, rank narcissists, or ‘mental health’ sufferers.

Modern conscientious objection would be different. It would derive not from serious moral thought, but from a shallow and preening self-righteousness and narcissism—with cowardice probably thrown in.

Is Reform Possible?

Our pessimistic doctor advises the people of France and Britain to pay attention to what is happening in Argentina under the leadership of the eccentric Javier Milei as a portent for what’s to come in their countries.

There is a kind of dialectic at work here: First, the government makes people dependent on it; then the government becomes dependent on the people whom it has made dependent on it. From this infernal cycle, it is not easy to escape.

The Distrust of the Political Class

Our dubious doctor offers his take on the current strained and seemingly hopeless political climate in much of the Western world.

Deep mistrust of political elites is now widespread throughout the Western world, probably to an extent greater than at any time in recent history. Whether this is because the elites are worse than they once were or because, thanks to various media, we know more about them is a question often debated around middle-class dinner tables.