The Wretched of the Earth

August 11, 2011

One of the most trenchant social observers and luminous writers in the English language is Theodore Dalrymple, the nom de plume of British doctor and essayist Anthony Daniels. Formerly a prison physician and psychiatrist who spent his time diagnosing the symptoms of cultural decay, Dalrymple now devotes his career to addressing the diseases that gave rise to these symptoms. In light of the unrestrained, premeditated chaos enveloping London, Manchester, Birmingham, as well as many other English urban centers, I thought it appropriate to bring up an essay he wrote two years ago. Although one need not be prescient in order to have foreseen the mindless barbarity of the riots currently engulfing England, as history tells us, the observations he made in this piece are remarkably astute in pinpointing the problems that have led almost ineluctably to the current, post-modern calamity playing out on TV screens across the globe.

Years of fostering an entitlement mentality, along with the past two and half decades of unfettered immigration, have combined to form a toxic environment that has now consumed the economic epicenter of the United Kingdom. The 2009 piece brilliantly dissects how these two forces have irrevocably altered British life. And now, thanks to the Daily News, we have a new column by Mr. Daniels which expresses his thoughts on the current terrorism directed against the productive, law-abiding  sector of English society.

Whether or not you agree with its conclusions-and it’s hard to escape the fact that many of his predictions about the unraveling social fabric, and its roots in misguided cultural policies, have been born out by events like the London riots-you have to acknowledge whence he derived his insights. Namely, years of communication with and treatment of young men and women who came from the dysfunctional families and morally impoverished backgrounds that have given rise to the flames devouring Albion. We ignore the thoughts of Theodore Dalrymple at our own peril.

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