Category Archives: Politics

Dickens on Elections

In chapter 13 of The Pickwick Papers Dickens describes an election for the House of Commons in the borough of Eatanswill. There are two parties – the Buffs and the Blues. The two candidates, Slumkey (Blue) and Fizkin (Buff), have only one concern – getting elected. They and their supporters will resort to any chicanery…


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Heather Mac Donald on Medicine

The outstanding public intellectual, Heather Mac Donald has written a penetrating analysis of the current state of medical education, practice criteria, and organizational structure. Appropriately called the Corruption of Medicine, it details the horrible pit the profession has thrown itself into. Gone is first do no harm. In its place is the patient be damned…


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I Don’t Want A Bone, I Want The Bone

Anyone who’s had two dogs understands the title. If you give each of them a bone, they’ll each want the one the other has. They also don’t want to relinquish the one they already have. The resultant conflict, the closest a dog can come to envy, will send them into a muddle of canine angst….


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COVID, Masks, and Children

The US policy regarding coronavirus infection in children has not been one of medical science’s great triumphs as is true of its entire package of actions regarding the infection. The epidemic has been a excuse for the imposition of central control of activities formerly felt to be outside the boundaries of government control and up…


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Predicting Violent Behavior II

The latest shooting in Buffalo has prompted cries for the government to do something to prevent further events like the one now in everyone’s mind. The problem is that there is no ready solution. Predicting violent behavior is almost impossible. There was a study, now more than 30 years old, that presented case histories of…


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Long COVID

I don’t use the title’s words to describe a syndrome resulting from chronic infection with the coronavirus. I don’t have enough ready data to know if such a syndrome even exists. Rather, I refer to the long term consequences of the virus’s effects on society in its broadest definition. The remarkable truth is how little…


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The Gordon Riots – 1780

Andrew Roberts in his biography of George III, (The Last King of America) which I’ll get to in a subsequent post, describes the Gordon Riots of 1780 as the worst catastrophe to befall London during the interval between the Great Fire in 1666 and the Blitz which began in 1940. Those who saw the disorder…


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Madness is a Feature, Not a Bug

“He was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad.” The sentence opens Rafael Sabatini’s novel Scaramouche. It’s also engraved on his tombstone. And it’s also true. Humans as the price for their exalted state of consciousness have been condemned by providence to eternal madness. The two are unalterably…


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Maverick – Book Review

Jason Riley is a fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a member of the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal. His latest book, Maverick, is an intellectual biography of the economist and public intellectual Thomas Sowell. Focusing mainly on Sowell’s thinking, it presents only the bare facts of his life. Sowell has averaged about…


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Defaulting on the Debt Was Impossible

There was a lot of scare declarations about the disastrous effects of the US defaulting on its debt if it congress didn’t raise the debt ceiling. Virtually all of it was wrong. We were told that the country had never defaulted on its debt. It’s done so several times, the last was in 1979. As…


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