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I've never been a particular fan of T.S. Eliot's work, but I do like this particular quote. Theodore Dalrymple uses the same quote in attempting to explain "why people adopt theories that conflict with the most minimal honest reflection." Describing "the endless struggle to look well in the eyes of their fellow intellectuals and the fear of losing caste", Dalrymple then adds a flourish from Orwell - "We have sunk to a depth in which re-statement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men."

Equally pertinent is Sowell's observation about "gaining and maintaining the moral hegemony of the anointed."

One would be hard put to find more appropriate statements to characterize most politicians - especially the current occupant of the Oval Office.

Thanks for sharing them.


I share your reserved reception of T.S. Eliot's work - I had to acquaint myself with him somewhat.

The first college I attended in England was named after him; a wonderful building constructed to serve as a prison, only to be used as one of the red-brick universities that popped up all over the UK in the 60s.

It's nice to live in a prison that isn't a prison and that you can leave anytime you wish, especially if you have a preference for small, cell-like rooms, as I do.

Theodore Dalrymple spent a large part of his life in prison, as a doctor. He and his most charming wife were the first people I met when I arrived at Bodrum, Turkey, in September 2012. Norman Stone (the historian of the World Wars) and the three of us spent the most genial, warm summer evening together.

You've met Dalrymple!!??

Wow ... color me simultaneously impressed and envious!

He has long been one of my "When I grow up, I want to be ..." candidates. One of the few (like Buckley) who seem to talk (and think) in paragraphs, or even chapters.

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