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Theodore Dalrymple quotes Showing 1-30 of 141

“In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, not to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is...in some small way to become evil oneself. One's standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to.”
Theodore Dalrymple
“To regret religion is to regret Western civilization.”
Theodore Dalrymple
“When every benefit received is a right, there is no place for good manners, let alone for gratitude.”
Theodore Dalrymple
“The purpose of those who argue for cultural diversity is to impose ideological uniformity.”
Theodore Dalrymple
“Feeling good about yourself is not the same thing as doing good. Good policy is more important than good feelings.”
Theodore Dalrymple
“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.”
Theodore Dalrymple
“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.”
Theodore Dalrymple
“The loss of the religious understanding of the human condition—that Man is a fallen creature for whom virtue is necessary but never fully attainable—is a loss, not a gain, in true sophistication. The secular substitute—the belief in the perfection of life on earth by the endless extension of a choice of pleasures—is not merely callow by comparison but much less realistic in its understanding of human nature.”
Theodore Dalrymple, Our Culture, What's Left of It: The Mandarins and the Masses
“There is something deeply attractive, at least to quite a lot of people, about squalor, misery, and vice. They are regarded as more authentic, and certainly more exciting, than cleanliness, happiness, and virtue.”
Theodore Dalrymple
“How many people does each of us know who claim to seek happiness but freely choose paths inevitably leading to misery?”
Theodore Dalrymple, Our Culture, What's Left of It: The Mandarins and the Masses
“All that is necessary for evil to triumph, said Burke, is for good men to do nothing; and most good men nowadays can be relied upon to do precisely that. Where a reputation for intolerance is more feared than a reputation for vice itself, all manner of evil may be expected to flourish.”
Theodore Dalrymple, Our Culture, What's Left of It: The Mandarins and the Masses
“Of the thousands of patients I have seen, only two or three have ever claimed to be unhappy: all the rest have said that they were depressed. This semantic shift is deeply significant, for it implies that dissatisfaction with life is itself pathological, a medical condition, which it is the responsibility of the doctor to alleviate by medical means. Everyone has a right to health; depression is unhealthy; therefore everyone has a right to be happy (the opposite of being depressed). This idea in turn implies that one’s state of mind, or one’s mood, is or should be independent of the way that one lives one’s life, a belief that must deprive human existence of all meaning, radically disconnecting reward from conduct. A ridiculous pas de deux between doctor and patient ensues: the patient pretends to be ill, and the doctor pretends to cure him. In the process, the patient is wilfully blinded to the conduct that inevitably causes his misery in the first place.”
Theodore Dalrymple, Our Culture, What's Left of It: The Mandarins and the Masses
“I sometimes astonish my patients by telling them that it is far more important that they should be able to lose themselves than that they should be able to find themselves. For it is only in losing oneself that one does find oneself.”
Theodore Dalrymple
“[T]he scale of a man's evil is not entirely to be measured by its practical consequences. Men commit evil within the scope available to them.”
Theodore Dalrymple, Our Culture, What's Left of It: The Mandarins and the Masses
“There is nothing that an intellectual less likes to change than his mind, or a politician his policy.”
Theodore Dalrymple
“The Cartesian point of moral epistemology: I'm angry, therefore I'm right.”
Theodore Dalrymple, Spoilt Rotten: The Toxic Cult of Sentimentality
“Political correctness is often the attempt to make sentimentality socially obligatory or legally enforceable.”
Theodore Dalrymple, Spoilt Rotten: The Toxic Cult of Sentimentality
“In The Gulag Archipelago, for example, Alexander Solzhenitsyn remarks that Shakespeare’s evildoers, Macbeth notably among them, stop short at a mere dozen corpses because they have no ideology.”
Theodore Dalrymple, Our Culture, What's Left of It: The Mandarins and the Masses
“No man was more sensitive than Zweig to the destructive effects upon individual liberty of the demands of large or strident collectivities. He would have viewed with horror the cacophony of monomanias—sexual, racial, social, egalitarian—that marks the intellectual life of our societies, each monomaniac demanding legislative restriction on the freedom of others in the name of a supposed greater, collective good.”
Theodore Dalrymple, Our Culture, What's Left of It: The Mandarins and the Masses
“It is only by having desire thwarted, and thereby learning to control it — in other words, by becoming civilized — that men become fully human.”
Theodore Dalrymple
“The idea that freedom is merely the ability to act upon one's whims is surely very thin and hardly begins to capture the complexities of human existence; a man whose appetite is his law strikes us not as liberated but enslaved.”
Theodore Dalrymple, Our Culture, What's Left of It: The Mandarins and the Masses
“IT IS A MISTAKE to suppose that all men, or at least all Englishmen, want to be free. On the contrary, if freedom entails responsibility, many of them want none of it. They would happily exchange their liberty for a modest (if illusory) security.”
Theodore Dalrymple, Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass
“Political correctness is the means by which we try to control others; decency is the means by which we try to control ourselves.”
Theodore Dalrymple
“How can one respect people as members of the human race unless one holds them to a standard of conduct and truthfulness?”
Theodore Dalrymple, Not With a Bang But a Whimper: The Politics & Culture of Decline
“Yet literal-mindedness is not honesty or fidelity to truth--far from it. For it is the whole experience of mankind that sexual life is always, and must always be, hidden by veils of varying degrees of opacity, if it is to be humanized into something beyond a mere animal function. What is inherently secretive, that is to say self-conscious and human, cannot be spoken of directly; the attempt leads only to crudity, not to truth.”
Theodore Dalrymple
“I've heard a hundred different variations of instances of unadulterated female victimhood, yet the silence of the feminists is deafening. Where two pieties--feminism and multi-culturalism--come into conflict, the only way of preserving both is an indecent silence.”
Theodore Dalrymple, Our Culture, What's Left of It: The Mandarins and the Masses
“In the psychotherapeutic worldview to which all good liberals subscribe, there is no evil, only victimhood. The robber and the robbed, the murderer and the murdered, are alike the victims of circumstance, united by the events that overtook them. Future generations (I hope) will find it curious how, in the century of Stalin and Hitler, we have been so eager to deny man's capacity for evil.”
Theodore Dalrymple, Our Culture, What's Left of It: The Mandarins and the Masses
“Like all pacifists, Zweig evaded the question of how to protect the peaceful sheep from the ravening wolves, no doubt in the unrealistic hope that the wolves would one day discover the advantages of vegetarianism.”
Theodore Dalrymple, Our Culture, What's Left of It: The Mandarins and the Masses
“A crude culture makes a coarse people, and private refinement cannot long survive public excess. There is a Gresham's law of culture as well as of money: the bad drives out the good, unless the good is defended.”
Theodore Dalrymple, Our Culture, What's Left of It: The Mandarins and the Masses
“And secretly I fell prey to the one of the besetting sins of western intellectuals, which normally I abhor: I began to experience envy of suffering, that profoundly dishonest emotion which derives from the foolish notion that only the oppressed can achieve righteousness or - more importantly - write anything profound.”
Theodore Dalrymple, The Wilder Shores of Marx: Journeys in a Vanishing World

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Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass Life at the Bottom
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Our Culture, What's Left of It: The Mandarins and the Masses Our Culture, What's Left of It
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Spoilt Rotten: The Toxic Cult of Sentimentality Spoilt Rotten
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In Praise of Prejudice: The Necessity of Preconceived Ideas In Praise of Prejudice
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