Society is broken / Theodore Dalrymple. (paperback). CIS occasional papers ; Welfare state. Social problems. Social values. Social policy. The right of Theodore Dalrymple to be identified as the Author of this work has been Author, doctor, psychiatrist and journalist Theodore Dalrymple was born in. The quarterly magazine of conservative thought. Spring Vol 29 No 3. Unsealing the. Confessional. Theodore Dalrymple. Suicide on the NET. Julia Magnet.

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of conservative thought. Autumn Vol 33 No 1. Life's Compensations. Theodore Dalrymple. A Tribute to Modern. Babylon. Barbara Hewson. Motown Burns. First, let me confess that I have long enjoyed Theodore Dalrymple's writing. This only became an inconvenience yesterday, in fact, when I. From Taki's Magazine. The Sporting Lie by Theodore Dalrymple. May 25, In my youth, hard though it is for me to recall it now, I was quite good at sport.

For example, the newspaper that is virtually the house journal of Britain s liberal intelligentsia, The Guardian which would once honorably have demanded that, in the name.

And who were America s biggest minds? Were they its Nobel prizewinning scientists, its physicists and molecular biologists? Were they America s best contemporary scholars or writers? Or perhaps its electronics entrepreneurs who have so transformed the world in the last half-century? No, some of the biggest minds in America belonged, in the opinion of the Guardian, to rap singers such as Puff Daddy, who were meeting in New York for a summit, as the Guardian put it to end the spate of senseless mutual killings of East and West Coast rap singers and improve the public image of rap as a genre.

LIFE AT THE BOTTOM. Theodore Dalrymple. Monday Books

Pictures of the possessors of these gigantic minds accompanied the article, so that even if you did not already know that rap lyrics typically espouse a set of values that is in equal part brutal and stupid, you would know at once that these allegedly vast intellects belonged to people indistinguishable from street thugs.

The insincerity of this flattery is obvious to anyone with even a faint acquaintance with the grandeur of human achievement. It is inconceivable that the writer of the article, or the editor of the newspaper, both educated men, truly believed that Puff Daddy et al possessed some of the biggest minds in America.

But the fact that the debased culture of which rap music is a product receives such serious attention and praise deludes its listeners into supposing that nothing finer exists than what they already know and like. Such flattery is thus the death of aspiration, and lack of aspiration is, of course, one of the causes of passivity.

Does the fate of the underclass matter? If the misery of millions of people matters, then the answer must surely be yes. But even if we were content to consign so many of our fellow citizens to the purgatory of life in our slums, that would not be the end of the matter. For there are clear signs that the underclass will be revenged upon the whole pack of us.

In the modern world, bad ideas and their consequences cannot be confined to a ghetto. Middle-class friends of mine were appalled to discover that the spelling being taught to their daughter in school was frequently wrong; they were even more appalled when they drew it to the attention of the school s head teacher and were told it did not matter, since the spelling was approximately right and everyone knew anyway what the misspelling meant.

Other institutions have been similarly undermined by the acceptance of ideas that have encouraged and maintained an underclass. When street prostitutes moved in considerable numbers to the street corners of the neighbourhood in which I live, the senior local policeman said in response to residents requests that he do something about it that he would do nothing, since the women came from disadvantaged homes and were probably all addicted to drugs.

He was not prepared, he said, to victimise them further. It was therefore our duty as citizens to pick the used condoms from our rose bushes.

Such is life under the regime of zero intolerance. Worse still, cultural relativism spreads all too easily. The tastes, conduct, and mores of the underclass are seeping up the social scale with astonishing rapidity. Heroin chic is one manifestation of this, though no one with any real knowledge of heroin and its effects could find anything chic about either the drug or its effects.

When a member of the British royal family revealed that she had adopted one of the slum fashions and had had her navel pierced, no one was in the least surprised. Where fashion in clothes, bodily adornment, and music are concerned, it is the underclass that increasingly sets the pace.

Never before has there been so much downward cultural. The disastrous pattern of human relations that exists in the underclass is also becoming common higher up the social scale. With increasing frequency I am consulted by nurses, who for the most part come from and were themselves traditionally members of at least after Florence Nightingale the respectable lower middle class, who have illegitimate children by men who first abuse and then abandon them.

This abuse and later abandonment is usually all too predictable from the man s previous history and character; but the nurses who have been treated in this way say they refrained from making a judgment about him because it is wrong to make judgments.

But if they do not make a judgment about the man with whom they are going to live and by whom they are going to have a child, about what are they ever going to make a judgment? It just didn t work out, they say, the it in question being the relationship that they conceive of having an existence independent of the two people who form it, and that exerts an influence on their lives rather like an astral conjunction.

Life is fate. In what follows I have tried first to describe underclass reality in an unvarnished fashion, and then to lay bare the origin of that reality, which is the propagation of bad, trivial, and often insincere ideas. Needless to say, a true appreciation of the cause of underclass misery is desirable in order to combat it, and even more to avoid solutions that will only make it worse. And if I paint a picture of a way of life that is wholly without charm or merit, and describe many people who are deeply unattractive, it is important to remember that, if blame is to be apportioned, it is the intellectuals who deserve most of it.

They should have known better but always preferred to avert their gaze. They considered the purity of their ideas to be more important than the actual consequences of their ideas. I know of no egotism more profound. Theodore Dalrymple.

Anything Goes

Orwell meant by these the totalitarian doctrines that mesmerised the intellectuals of his time and that prevented them from accepting the most obvious and evident truths about their own and other societies: The demise of totalitarianism has led not to a more straightforward or honest appreciation of reality but merely to a proliferation of distorting lenses through which people choose to look at the world.

If humankind, as T. Eliot put it, cannot bear very much reality, it seems that it can bear any amount of unreality. The intellectual s struggle to deny the obvious is never more desperate than when reality is unpleasant and at variance with his preconceptions and when full acknowledgment of it would undermine the foundations of his intellectual worldview.

Given the social history of England in the last 40 years, little wonder that collective denial should be one of the most salient characteristics of our national intellectual life. I am in an unusual position: The complacent disregard by the latter of the social catastrophe wrought in the former appalls me almost as much as the catastrophe itself. Never has so much indifference masqueraded as so much compassion; never has there been such wilful blindness.

The once pragmatic English have become a nation of sleepwalkers. Recently, for example, I was invited to a lunch at a famous and venerable liberal publication, to which I occasionally contribute articles that go against its ideological grain.

The publication s current owner is a bon vivant and excellent host who made several scores of millions in circumstances that still excite considerable public curiosity.

Around the lunch table from which, I am glad to say, British proletarian fare was strictly excluded were gathered people of impeccable liberal credentials: On my right sat a man in his late 60s, intelligent and cultivated, who had been a distinguished foreign correspondent for the BBC and who had spent much of his career in the United States. He said that for the last ten years he had read with interest my weekly dispatches printed in a rival, conservative publication depicting the spiritual, cultural, emotional, and moral chaos of modern urban life, and had always wanted to meet me to ask me a simple question: Did I make it all up?

It was a question I have been asked many times by middle-class liberal intellectuals, who presumably hope that the violence, neglect, and cruelty, the contorted thinking, the utter hopelessness, and the sheer nihilism that I describe week in and week out are but figments of a fevered imagination. In a way I am flattered that the people who ask this question should think that I am capable of inventing the absurd yet oddly poetic utterances of my patients that I am capable, for example, of inventing the man who said he felt like the little boy with his finger in the dike, crying wolf.

But at the same time the question alarms me and reminds me of what Thackeray once said about the writings. On being asked whether I make it all up, I reply that, far from doing so, I downplay the dreadfulness of the situation and omit the worst cases that come to my attention so as not to distress the reader unduly.

The reality of English lower-class life is far more terrible than I can, with propriety, depict. My interlocutors nod politely and move on to the next subject. It is the custom at the lunches of that famous and venerable liberal publication, once the plates have been removed, for one of the guests to speak briefly to a subject that preoccupies him at the moment.

And what was the subject upon which he dilated with such eloquence? The iniquity of the death penalty in the United States. It is not easy to capture the contented mood that settled round the table as he spoke, a mixture of well-fed moral superiority one of the pleasantest of all emotions and righteous indignation another very pleasant emotion. The consensus was that they were benighted savages over there, while we over here, guardians as ever of civilisation itself, had not resorted to such primitive and barbaric methods for ages that is to say, for 35 years.

Everyone agreed with the BBC man, and it was my turn to say something. I confess to not being an enthusiast for the death penalty: And having seen photographs of execution chambers, where fatal injections are administered, decked out as if they were operating rooms in hospitals, I cannot help but feel that something sinister is going on: One begins to see the force of Dr. Johnson s argument that executions should be in public, in the open air, or not take place at all: But I was anxious to dispel the cozy atmosphere of rectitude, of sanctity so easily achieved without cost or effort.

I said we should look closer to home, to the fact that, with the single and admittedly important exception of murder, crime rates in Britain were now higher, and in some cases much higher, than in the United States: The result was that for untold numbers of our compatriots, life was a living hell.

I briefly outlined my reasons for saying so: Opposite me was a well-known pacifist, a man of the highest principle, who was by no means a puritan, however, at least with regard to food and wine. His shiny cheeks radiated bonhomie and self-satisfaction at the same time, and he spoke in the plummy tones of the English upper-middle class. You know funny people, he said, leaning slightly toward me across the table. Funny those people whom I knew might be, I replied to the pacifist, but there were a lot of them, and moreover they lived in our country, often within walking- and burgling-distance of our front doors.

The man s complacency was by no means unusual. A few days earlier I had met a publisher for lunch, and the subject of the general level of culture and education in England came up. The publisher is a cultivated man, widely read and deeply attached to literature, but I had difficulty in convincing him that there were grounds for concern. That illiteracy and innumeracy were widespread did not worry him in the least, because he claimed they had always been just as widespread.

The fact that we now spent four times as much per head on education as we did 50 years ago and were therefore entitled to expect rising rates of literacy and numeracy at the very least did not in the slightest knock him off his perch.

He simply did not believe me when I told him that nine of ten young people between the ages of 16 and 20 whom I met in my practice could not read with facility and were incapable of multiplying six by nine, or that out of several hundreds of them I had asked when the Second World War took place, only three knew the answer. He replied smoothly almost without the need to think, as if he had rehearsed the argument many times that his own son, age seven, already knew the dates of the war.

The trouble is, he said in all seriousness, your sample is biased. And true enough: But it didn t occur to him to doubt whether his sample of one, the son of a publisher living in a neighbourhood where houses usually cost more than , really constituted a refutation of my experience of hundreds of cases, an experience borne out by all serious research into the matter.

He accused me of moral panic, as if the only alternative to his imperturbable complacency he was so serene you might have thought him a monk from a contemplative order were irrational, agitated alarmism.


Have you actually ever met any of the kind of people I m talking about? He replied not that he had, but that he supposed he must have done.

Complacency and denial dominate public as well as private discourse, and when a little of the unpleasant side of contemporary English reality is allowed an airing, a damage-control exercise swiftly ensues. A newspaper recently asked me to go to Blackpool to describe the conduct of the people who go there for a weekend. Blackpool has never been a place of great refinement and has long attracted people who cannot afford to go to more desirable places for their holidays.

Boarding houses rather than hotels predominate, presided over by formidable landladies. But Blackpool was, within living memory, a resort of innocent fun, with donkey rides and Punch-and-Judy shows on the beach, and a brisk sale of the mildly salacious comic postcards about which George Orwell once wrote with great sympathy and insight, in which weedy men are dominated by large, fat wives in bathing costumes, in which mothers-in-law are always battle-axes, in which unmarried men are always trying to escape the snares of marriage set for them by young women, and whose captions are always saucy double entendres.

For example, a judge in the divorce court says to a co-respondent, You are prevaricating, sir. Did you or did you not sleep with this woman? Fun now means public drunkenness on a mass scale, screaming in the streets, and the frequent exposure of naked buttocks to passersby. Within moments of arriving on the street along the beach, which was ankle-deep in discarded fast-food wrappings the smell of stale fat obliterates completely the salt smell of the sea , I saw a woman who had pulled down her slacks and tied a pair of plastic breasts to her bare buttocks, while a man crawled after her on the sidewalk, licking them.

At midnight along this street with the sound of rock music pounding insistently out of every club door, and each door presided over by a pair of steroidinflated bouncers, among men vomiting into the gutters I saw children as young as six, unattended by adults, waiting for their parents to emerge from their nocturnal recreations.

On the day after the publication of my article, I appeared briefly on the BBC s main breakfasttime radio programme, which has an audience of several million.

The interviewer was an intelligent and cultivated woman, and having briefly and accurately summarised for the readers my account of what I saw in Blackpool, she then asked me, Aren t you being a toff?

The question was, of course, a loaded one, with many layers of deeply derogatory implication. I in turn asked her whether she would herself bare her buttocks to passing strangers, and if she wouldn t, why not? She declined to answer this question, as if it were not serious just as a future government minister with whom I once appeared on the radio, after asserting that one of the tragedies of some recent urban riots was that they had taken place in the rioters poor inner-city neighbourhood, refused to answer when I asked her if she would rather the riots had taken place in her own rich neighbourhood.

Not long after the interview about my experiences in Blackpool, the BBC broadcast letters from a few listeners who charged that I had failed to understand the nature of working-class culture. They used the word culture here in the anthropological sense of the sum total of a way of life, but they were also taking cunning and dishonest advantage of the word s connotations of Bach and Shakespeare to insinuate that the wearing of plastic breasts on the Blackpool promenade is indistinguishable in value from the B-Minor Mass or the sonnets.

The liberal assumption, in this as in most things, is that to understand is to approve or at least to pardon , and therefore my disapproval indicated a lack of understanding. But strangely enough, the letters that the BBC and the newspaper that published the original article forwarded to me those they hadn t broadcast or published wholly endorsed my comments. They were from Blackpool residents and from working-class people elsewhere who passionately denied that working-class culture had always consisted of nothing but mindless obscenity.

Several writers spoke very movingly of enduring real poverty in childhood while maintaining self-respect and a striving for mental distinction. The deliberate exclusion of these voices from public expression provided a fine example of how the British intelligentsia goes about its self-appointed task of cultural destruction. Violence, vulgarity, and educational failure: Indeed, it requires far more mental effort and agility not to discern them, to screen them out of one s consciousness: It is worth examining the mental mechanisms that liberal intellectuals use to disguise the truth from themselves and others, and to ask why they do so.

First, there is outright denial. Increasing crime, for example, was long dismissed as a mere statistical artifact, before the sheer weight of the evidence overwhelmed the possibility of denial. It wasn t so much crime that was increasing, we were told, as people s willingness or ability to report it via the spread of the telephone.

As to educational failure, it was long denied by the production of statistics showing that more and more children were passing public examinations, a classic half-truth that omitted to say that these examinations had deliberately been made so easy that it was impossible to fail them the concept of failure having been abolished , except by not turning up for them. But even the most liberal of university professors has now noticed that his students can t spell or punctuate.

Second, there is the tendentious historical comparison or precedent. Yes, it is admitted, violence and vulgarity are a large part of modern British life; but they always were. When English soccer fans ran amok in France during the European cup finals the kind of behaviour now universally expected of them , even the conservative Daily Telegraph ran an article to the effect that it was ever thus, and that Hanoverian England was a riotous, drunken era thereby implying that there was nothing to be alarmed about.

For some reason not fully explained, it is supposed to be a comfort even a justification that anti-social behaviour has persisted unabated over hundreds of years. In the same way, intellectuals depict alarm over rising crime as unreasonable and those who express it as lacking in historical knowledge , because it is not difficult to find historical epochs when crime was worse than it is now. I have even seen worry about a rising murder rate treated with mockery, because in medieval England it was very much higher than it is now.

Thus historical comparison with a period hundreds of years ago is held up as more relevant than comparison with 30 or even ten years ago, as long as that comparison fosters an attitude of complacency towards undesirable social phenomena. Third, once the facts are finally admitted under the duress of accumulated evidence, their moral significance is denied or perverted. Do children emerge from school as ignorant of facts as when they entered?

Well, of course: Their inability to write legibly in no way lessens their ability to express themselves but rather accentuates it. At least they have not been subjected to the learning of arbitrary rules. Vulgarity is liberty from unhealthy and psychologically deforming inhibition; it is merely the revival of popular bawdy, and those who oppose it are elitist killjoys.

As to violence, any quantity of it can be explained away by reference to the structural violence of capitalist society.

A BBC television producer recently outlined the phases of liberal denial for me. His colleagues, he told me, regarded him as a maverick, a tilter at windmills, almost a madman. And what was his madness? He wanted the BBC to make unvarnished documentaries about life in the lower third of society: And he wanted, in particular, to concentrate on the.

His BBC superiors greeted his proposals with condescension. First, they denied the facts. When he produced irrefutable evidence of their existence, they accused him of moral panic. When he proved that the phenomena to which the facts pointed were both serious and spreading rapidly up the social scale, they said that there was nothing that could be done about them, because they were an inevitable part of modern existence.

When he said that they were the result of deliberate policy, they asked him whether he wanted to return to the bad old days when spouses who hated each other were forced to live together. And when he said that what had been done could be undone, at least in part, they produced their ace of trumps: The British public would be left to sleepwalk its way undisturbed through the social disaster from which a fragile economic prosperity will certainly not protect it.

But why so insistent a denial of the obvious by the very class of people whose primary function, one might have supposed, was to be what the Russians called truth bearers?

The answer is to be sought in the causative relationship between the ideas that liberal intellectuals advocated and put into practice and every disastrous social development of the last four decades. They saw their society as being so unjust that nothing in it was worth preserving; and they thought that all human unhappiness arose from the arbitrary and artificial fetters that their society placed on the satisfaction of appetite.

So dazzled were they by their vision of perfection that they could not see the possibility of deterioration. And so if family life was less than blissful, with all its inevitable little prohibitions, frustrations, and hypocrisies, they called for the destruction of the family as an institution.

The destigmatisation of illegitimacy went hand in hand with easy divorce, the extension of marital rights to other forms of association between adults, and the removal of all the fiscal advantages of marriage. Marriage melted as snow in sunshine.

The destruction of the family was, of course, an important component and consequence of sexual liberation, whose utopian programme was to have increased the stock of innocent sensual pleasure, not least among the liberators themselves. It resulted instead in widespread violence consequent upon sexual insecurity and in the mass neglect of children, as people became ever more egotistical in their search for momentary pleasure.

If liberal intellectuals recalled their childhood experiences of education as less than an unalloyed joy, education had to become a form of childish entertainment: Were not grammar and arithmetic indeed all disciplines mere bourgeois or, in America, racist tools with which to maintain social hegemony?

Response to Theodore Dalrymple

And self-respect being radically incompatible with failure, the very idea of failure itself had to go. The only way to achieve this was to do away with education altogether an experiment that could be carried out in full only on that section of the population least concerned about education in the first place, thus creating a now hereditary caste of ineducables.

And if crime was a problem, it was only because an unjust society forced people into criminal activity, and therefore punishment constituted a double injustice, victimising the real victim. By what right could an unjust society claim to impose its version of justice? Empathy and understanding were what was needed, provided they absolved the criminal of his responsibility.

The creation of a universal disposition to do good, and not the creation of fear of the consequences of doing evil, was. The first time I took a drink I knew it wasn't for me. Every time I drank I got drunk. Fact Situation Hi, my name is Costas and I m I spent my summer at the courthouse.

I was on trial and was found guilty of killing a guy. Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me; I once was lost, but now I m found; was blind, but now. All other rights reserved. The Intriguing Interp Series is published. January, Case no: It was her second year post qualification as a junior associate in the Finance team at Hammill.

Moving on If you re still reading this, congratulations, you re likely to be in the minority of traders who act based on facts, not emotions. Countless others would have simply denied the facts, and moved. If you have any new people, take a few minutes to introduce yourselves. Briefly share how you heard about this group. Since , I ve been a daily presence in the Fairfax County Courthouse and have handled hundreds of drug cases as both a Prosecutor and a Defense Attorney.

I have spent the last decade analyzing the legal. Reading and writing; talking and thinking We begin, not with reading, writing or reasoning, but with talk, which is a more complicated business than most people realize. Of course, being. Kristen Mehl AGE: As a human being and as a citizen you automatically have certain rights. These rights are not a gift from anyone, including the state. In fact,. Does Marriage Counseling really work? Rabbi Slatkin answers All of the questions you are too afraid to ask.

Rabbi Slatkin answers all the questions you are too afraid. Vice President, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Thinking about College? Don A. Murray, Esq. The publisher who eventually helped Dalrymple release the book was the Ivan R. They published the collection as a hardcover in The sections are individually broken up into chapters, with sixteen in "Grim Reality" and six in "Grimmer Theory". Each chapter is an individual essay, which were published in separate issues of City Journal around seven years prior.

The chapters are organised thematically , not necessarily in chronological order. Dalrymple also writes about his views on the "destruction of This is meant to be directed against intellectuals and liberals that form the many ideas absorbed into the mentality of the underclass.

A Filipina doctor, for example, asked me why so few people seemed grateful for what was done for them. What prompted her question was an addict who, having collapsed from an accidental overdose of heroin, was brought to our hospital.

He required intensive care to revive him, with doctors and nurses tending him all night.

His first words to the doctor when he suddenly regained consciousness were, "Get me a fucking roll-up" a hand-rolled cigarette. His imperious rudeness didn't arise from mere confusion: he continued to treat the staff as if they had kidnapped him and held him in the hospital against his will to perform experiments upon him. If he considered that he had received any benefit from his stay at all, well, it was simply his due.

My doctors from Bombay, Madras, or Manila observe this kind of conduct open- mouthed. At first they assume that the cases they see are a statistical quirk, a kind of sampling error, and that given time they will encounter a better, more representative cross section of the population.

Gradually, however, it dawns upon them that what they have seen is representative. When every benefit received is a right, there is no place for good manners, let alone for gratitude.

Case after case causes them to revise their initial favorable opinion. Before long, they have had experience of hundreds, and their view has changed entirely. Last week, for example, to the amazement of a doctor recently arrived from Madras, a woman in her late twenties entered our hospital with the most common condition that brings patients to us: a deliberate overdose.

At first she would say nothing more than that she wanted to depart this world, that she had had enough of it. I inquired further. Just before she took the overdose, her ex-boyfriend, the father of her eight-month-old youngest child now staying with her ex-boyfriend's mother , had broken into her apartment by smashing down the front door.

His mother said he would change. This baby is like a bolt out of the blue: I don't know how it happened. That's the way life goes sometimes. She met him in a club; he moved in at once, because he had nowhere else to stay. He had a child by another woman, neither of whom he supported. He had been in prison for burglary. He took drugs. He had never worked, except for cash on the side. Of course he never gave her any of his money, instead running up her telephone bills vertiginously.

She had never married, but had two other children. The first, a daughter aged eight, still lived with her. The father was a man whom she left because she found he was having sex with year-old girls. Her second child was a son, whose father was "an idiot" with whom she had slept one night.

That child, now six, lived with the "idiot," and she never saw him. What had her experience taught her? The Housing'll charge me for the damage, and I ain't got the money. I'm depressed, doctor; I'm not happy. I want to move away, to get away from him. I discussed the case with the doctor who had recently arrived from Madras, and who felt he had entered an insane world.

Not in his wildest dreams had he imagined it could be like this. There was nothing to compare with it in Madras.


He asked me what would happen next to the happy couple. They'll download her new furniture, television, and refrigerator, because it's unacceptable poverty in this day and age to live without them. They'll charge her nothing for the damage to her old flat, because she can't pay anyway, and it wasn't she who did it.

He will get away scot-free. Once she's installed in her new flat to escape from him, she'll invite him there, he'll smash it up again, and then they'll find her somewhere else to live.

There is, in fact, nothing she can do that will deprive her of the state's obligation to house, feed, and entertain her. He said it was not: that her problem was that she accepted no limits to her own behavior, that she did not fear the possibility of hunger, the condemnation of her own parents or neighbors, or God.

In other words, the squalor of England was not economic but spiritual, moral, and cultural. I often take my doctors from the Third World on the short walk from the hospital to the prison nearby. It is a most instructive yards. On a good day—good for didactic purposes, that is—there are seven or eight puddles of glass shattered into fragments lying in the gutter en route there are never none, except during the most inclement weather, when even those most addicted to car theft control their impulses.

The local authorities have at last accepted that herding people into giant, featureless, Le Corbusian concrete blocks was a mistake, and they have switched to the construction of individual houses.This article appears in the 05 July issue of the New Statesman, He makes us nice enough for export.

Hey doc! Otteson , in his novel Actual Ethics, spoke of how Dalrymple "does not employ the facts and figures", but "relies instead on his anecdotal experience". Until the cure, of course, he can continue to abuse his consort for such abuse has certain advantages for him safe in the knowledge that he, not his consort, is its true victim. Around the lunch table from which, I am glad to say, British proletarian fare was strictly excluded were gathered people of impeccable liberal credentials: the one exception being myself.