By Theodore Dalrymple
What's written with no ache, stated health practitioner Johnson, isn't learn with excitement. infrequently might be, yet now not, i'm hoping, by no means: for the little essays during this booklet have been written, i have to confess, with no a lot angst. partially this was once simply because, in writing them, I had no thesis to end up, no awl to grind, other than that the area is either infinitely attention-grabbing and fun, and gives us with an inexhaustible resource of fabric for philosophical mirrored image.
Many of the themes handled of during this e-book have been discovered by means of serendipity or got here to me in flashes – it might be conceited to name them of suggestion – of formerly unsuspected connection and curiosity. i will simply wish that they entertain the reader as they've got entertained me. a minimum of they are going to do no damage, in compliance with the 1st precept of scientific ethics.
— Theodore Dalrymple
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He had the long, uncultivated beard of bikers; I should guess he was in his mid-sixties, but I might be wrong; certainly he had the look of a man who had knocked about the world a bit. Uschi was considerably younger, but still not in the first flush of youth; she was tall, lithe and slender, but with the thinness that spoke of cigarettes rather than natural metabolism or dietary self-control. She wore very tight jeans, a cut-away shirt, and long boots with snakeskin bands and long leather tassels.
Both of the culprits came from highly disturbed and indeed sordid backgrounds, in which there was a lot of violence, emotional instability, excessive drinking, etc. The statistical connection between such a background and violent criminal behaviour is clear; but what the two boys did was nevertheless exceptional (murder by children, even from the worst circumstances is very rare). The press called them monsters, and demanded that they should be locked away for the rest of their lives. But if they were monsters by birth, not only did this seem to reduce their moral culpability (for monsters by birth have no choice but to be monstrous), something must have accounted for their monstrosity: genetics, birth injuries, chemicals in their environment and so forth.
During the show, Dieter had fixed his face in a smile, or a rictus rather; but he gave the impression of being a kind and gentle man, and he was very good with children. A man who can persuade six or seven year olds to wrap snakes round their necks that are as large as they must inspire confidence, after all, and, for all his beaten-up look, Dieter obviously knew what he was about. The posters that had appeared in St Paul le Jeune proclaimed that one of the purposes of the show was to reduce the unreasoning fear that reptiles inspired, and to replace it by love and appreciation.