A Specter Haunting Europe

Over at City Journal, our worried doctor points out the dangers of the Western European political elite’s incompetence, ineffectiveness, and unwillingness to address the main concerns of much of the population.

Geert Wilders is not a fascist, but if his electoral triumph in the Netherlands (relative, not absolute) does not result in genuinely assuaging the discontents of which his triumph is a symptom, it is not unlikely that at least some of his voters will become so disillusioned with, and frustrated by, normal politics that they will look elsewhere for a solution.

Catching a Cloud

The December edition of New English Review features a lengthy Dalrymple discourse on the importance of reading novels in the context of his review of a new Joseph Epstein book.

The novel will cure us of our shallowness and make us aware of the tragic dimension of life, the lack of awareness making tragedy all the more unbearable when it strikes—as it does and always will.

Currency Events

The critical doctor takes on sloppily-dressed tech moguls, the cryptocurrency racket, fiat currency, and even the devastating legacy of Peronism over at Takimag.

I confess to a visceral distaste when I see pictures of the founder of Binance, Changpeng Zhao. My distaste is for a reason that some people might find strange: Though he is a billionaire (perhaps soon to be an ex-billionaire), he dresses with studied casualness to make himself appear as if were just any slobbish student. There is here hypocritically combined a ravening appetite for wealth and a desire to appear egalitarian.

Moral Grandiosity of Epic Proportions

Theodore Dalrymple condemns the latest outrageous trend among green extremists: vandalizing works of fine art in public.

Moral grandiosity seems to be of almost epidemic proportions these days. Everyone pronounces on the largest questions and thinks that, by doing so, he has discharged some important moral duty, more important by far than his conduct in the trifling affairs over which he has direct control.

Paris, City of Blight

Over at Quadrant, the good doctor returns to an overcrowded and increasingly shabby Paris and is confronted with illegal migrant squatters, bedbugs, rats, and the looming Olympic Games, “that festival of stupid international rivalry.”

Returning to Paris after an absence of only a few months, I was dismayed by the deterioration it seemed to have undergone in that short time. It struck me as dirty and grossly overcrowded, while the mayor has for a long time been doing everything possible to reduce the city’s beauty in the name of saving the planet. In the former, at least, she is succeeding.

Antisemitic Mob Rampages in Makhachkala Airport: A Tale of Changing Times

Over at The Epoch Times, our concerned doctor analyzes the recent appalling events at the Makhachkala Airport in Dagestan in the context of his own travel memories to the country in the 1990s.

Curiously enough, apart from those who wore Muslim beards, the young men were very Western in appearance. They wore jeans, T-shirts, and baseball caps. Apart from shouting Allahu akbar! they would have fitted in perfectly with a Black Lives Matter mob. It seems, then, that Westernization can happen without secularization. It’s easier to combine the worst of different trends than the best of them.

The Voice Inside the Progressive Head

Over at Law & Liberty, Theodore Dalrymple covers the pernicious leftist ideology behind the general support of intellectuals for the failed ‘Voice’ amendment in Australia. Once in a while, democracy actually does seem to work.

Far from improving the situation of Australian Aborigines, which is sometimes but not always tragic, the Voice would permanently raise the ideological temperature and prevent measured debate about practical improvements. Benefits would be received without gratitude and, would never, virtually by definition, be sufficient.

Blanquette de Bard

In the November issue of New Criterion, the skeptical doctor has the unenviable task of reviewing two recent ‘woke’ books on Shakespeare that focus on race exclusively at the expense of everything else.

The origin of polysyllabic incomprehensibility as the key to academic success cannot be traced with any certainty, but the bilge that has long spewed out from the humanities departments of universities, as from a sewage pumping station, is a necessary condition of the current lamentable state of the Western mind, culture, and soul.

A Good Man

In the November edition of New English Review, our globe-trotting doctor considers the legacy of Gilles Kepel, his own travels to Egypt and Burma, and how Damascus was a most pleasant city to visit despite the vicious regime of Hafiz al-Assad.

My only memory of Asyut was of an excellent witticism made by an Egyptian as I was sitting in a café there reading a book. He was about fifty, dressed in western clothes, and approached me as I read.

‘What are you reading?’ he asked, in perfect English.

I showed him: A Good Man in Africa by William Boyd.

‘A good man in Africa?’ he said. ‘I’d like to meet him.’