Theodore Dalrymple

Theodore Dalrymple is a retired prison doctor and psychiatrist, contributing editor of the City Journal and Dietrich Weissman Fellow of the Manhattan Institute.

The French-German Disconnect

Riss zwischen Frankreich und Deutschland

A recent article in the French newspaper Le Monde drew attention to an important difference between the French and the Germans. The French, said the author, think that the government spends other people’s money; the Germans think that the government spends their own money. This, if true, is important because each attitude must affect the politics as well as the economic policy of its respective country.

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Ditching Drug Prohibition: A Dissent

Continuing from my initial post, the second main argument in favor of the legalization of drugs whose consumption (or at least possession) is presently prohibited is that the harms associated with drug-taking are caused more by their illegality than by their pharmacological or other effects. Their illegality means that their production and distribution are necessarily criminal activities; while the artificial expense of obtaining supplies that results from criminalization leads consumers, particularly addicts, into criminality in order to obtain sufficient money to buy them.

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How Modern Psychology Undermines Freedom and Responsibility: A Conversation with Theodore Dalrymple

evasionsFrequent Law and Liberty contributor Theodore Dalrymple discusses with Richard Reinsch his latest book, Admirable Evasions: How Psychology Undermines Morality. Dalrymple, a former psychiatrist in the British prison system, diagnoses modern psychology’s tendency to enable its subjects or is it objects to engage in self-absorption not self-examination. The ultimate effect of various psychological schools, Dalrymple observes, is that of an acid eating away the responsibility and freedom of the human person. His solution: a return to literature, and with that, a return to the authenticity and realism of human action and its limitations.

Pondering the Immigration Imponderables

The relationship between personal experience and public policy is not at all straightforward, and of no aspect of public policy is this more true than that of illegal immigration. In Europe, the question is daily put before us by newspapers, magazines, blogs, radio, and television, with dramatic pictures of desperate illegal immigrants trying to reach our shores across the Mediterranean, many of them drowning en route.

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Wrong About Rights

Recently an American acquaintance of mine told me that, when asked, he informed a group of students that he did not believe animals had rights, and this deeply shocked them. They did not merely disagree with him: they simply could not take on board that any intelligent, sane, and civilized person could hold such a view. It was as if someone had gone to Mecca and said there is no God and therefore Mohammed could not have been his prophet.

One of the characteristics of our age that may surprise future social historians (if there are any) is the speed with which ideas go from being generally regarded as ludicrous and unthinkable to being conceivable, then accepted, then ensconced as unchallengeable orthodoxy. This makes it difficult for satirists; satire becomes prophecy and, in practically no time at all, mere description.

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