Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Tuesday Quote: Theodore Dalrymple


"[A] man . . .the other day pointed out that I was never bored. I hadn’t thought of that before, but it’s true: I’m never bored. I’m appalled, horrified, angered, but never bored. The world appears to me so infinite in its variety that many lifetimes could not exhaust its interest. So long as you can still be surprised, you have something to be thankful for."

- Theodore Dalrymple


Bio notes for Theodore Dalrymple:

  • Pen name of Anthony Daniels (1949 - ), English writer, retired prison doctor and psychiatrist.  (In case you're wondering, he is not the actor by the same name who plays C3PO in Star Wars). 
  • Has worked in hostile and difficult environments, including countries in Africa, the east end of London and in prisons.
  • Is a contributor to various magazines and newspapers, and has written a number of books: 
Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass 
Our Culture, What’s Left of It 
Spoilt Rotten: The Toxic Cult of Sentimentality 
  • Based on his experience of working with criminals and the mentally ill, he has frequently argued in his writing that Western liberal and progressive views have resulted in a loss of individual responsibility for one’s actions. This has caused a loss of traditional norms, contributing to the rise in richer countries of an underclass associated and characterised by violence, criminality, sexually transmitted disease, welfare dependency and drug abuse. 
  • He is frequently criticised as being overly conservative and pessimistic; defenders comment that his conservatism is accurate and realistic.
In 2010 British MP, author and journalist Daniel Hannan wrote of Theodore Dalrymple Dalrymple's work "takes pessimism about human nature to a new level. Yet its tone is never patronising, shrill or hectoring. 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".

Some other Theodore Dalrymple thoughts and quotations:
“The bravest and most noble are not those who take up arms, but those who are decent despite everything; who improve what it is in their power to improve, but do not imagine themselves to be saviours. In their humble struggle is true heroism.” 
“When every benefit received is a right, there is no place for good manners, let alone for gratitude.” 
“There is nothing that an intellectual less likes to change than his mind, or a politician his policy.” 
“If the history of the 20th Century proved anything, it proved that however bad things were, human ingenuity could usually find a way to make them worse.”

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