City Journal Spring 2014

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Spring 2014
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Theodore Dalrymple
Protesting Too Much « Back to Story

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Apologies for the typos.

I hate to be unoriginal but you could apply that 'pot, kettle and black' scenario to the USA. The desire to take one's mind off one's own troubles by focusing on someone else's is all too human.
In hate to be unoriginal but you could apply that 'pot, kettle and black' scenario to the USA. The desire to take one's mind of one's own troubles by focusing on someone else's is all too human.
Denise Bjorkman July 11, 2012 at 4:12 AM
The educational standards in the USA are not much better although I agree with you that the UK is calling the French kettle black and needs much explaining to do of its own policies. What about 22 UK banks accepting money laundered cash from Pres. Abacha of Nigeria, and not declaring or better still refusing it within the strong governance controls of the FSA. Its the SAT NAV story - they find another route until discovered. Cash was king. In human physiology there is another explanation. An artery that is blocked produces corollary vessels to rejoin with the main vessel in what is caleld an anastimosis.
They are not mutually exclusive (unless you live on Planet False Dichotomy).  It is possible to qualify as a doctor and go on to work in an entirely different field. What you are is often very different from what you do.  Ask your compatriot Thomas Szasz whether he has the right to call himself "doctor".

Take another look at the article itself.  Its main point is that the government is inconsistent.  Is there anything more inconsistent than writing disparagingly about an organisation he once worked for and from which he now receives a generous pension?  You see nothing morally objectionable about that? He once likened the NHS to the Soviet state.  There is no comparison: iirc the Soviet state was quite difficult to leave, Dalrymple could have left the NHS any time he wanted to.

In this article Dalrymple displays his usual disdain for evidence and sources. Where, for example is he getting this from: "I suggest the following question: How and why is it that, after 11 years of compulsory attendance at schools, at a cost to the taxpayer of $80,000 per head, more than one-fifth of British children leave state schools barely able to read or write?"

He offers no supporting evidence and, even worse, his readers do not demand it.
In the US, our system is as dumb or dumber. After 12 years of "free" public education, students have to take out loans for $100,000 or $200,000 to pay for college education in order to learn the basic skills they should have gotten in high school! Most kids don't graduate from college with an "advanced" degree. They graduate with the skills that should have been learned in high school.

Taxpayers also subsidize higher ed, so they first pay $100,000 for 12 years of poor to marginal schooling, and then they pay tens of thousands more to catch the kids up. What a great deal! Public funding of K-12 education "saves" poor people money, until they get the college loan bill.

In my town, taxpayers pay $100,000 for 12 years of public schooling, but the functional illiteracy rate in some neighborhoods is 70% or so. The graduation rate in our local public schools is 46%. Even in the better districts, education isn't great. Of course, most of the students in the city schools don't go to college so I guess they're "cheaper" for taxpayers,

Also, in my area, employers prefer to hire people with GEDs, rather than high school diplomas, because GEDs guarantee that the person can read and do basic math. With a high school diploma, there is no such guarantee.

I went to pretty bad public schools myself. In some cases, I feel that the teachers and administrators were the problem, in other cases they were definitely not. Teachers were great, but the social problems were too much for anyone.

But, even when teachers are not the problem, I don't see how it makes sense to keep the current system in place. It's like paying toll collectors to sit in booths outside a bridge that has fallen down. Yes, the toll collectors might be competent and talented, but no one can cross the bridge so why pay their salaries? Our system is even dumber than that, though, because we pretend like the bridge isn't down, "it's not so bad, there are problems, but our toll collectors are top notch!" And lots and lots of people try to cross the bridge and fall in the river. Enough already.
Louise: please decide whether you think that Theodore Dalrymple is indeed a doctor, who earned his pension by working, or a fake 'Doctor' who invented a 'phantom slum'. You can't have it both ways.
"The supreme irony of socialist countries - I mean REAL socialist countries, not the candy ass kind that exists in the UK and, more and more, the USA, is that work is not only considered a right, but an obligation of the citizen. In the great turn around that is coming, those who free load off the state may find getting what they want may not turn out to be so great after all."

The Baby Boomer generation did rather well out of the welfare state themselves. And if there had been no public employment Theo would have been devoid of a job.

It makes me laugh when Americans sneer at European countries. America itself has an elaborate and well-established welfare state. It is a pluralistic welfare state. One that often pays its 'beneficiaries' to eat themselves to death.
"I suspect that the one-fifth of British children who leave school illiterate come almost entirely from the underclass that Dr D has written so much about"

Would that be the population of the hospital located in the phantom slum he has 'written so much about"?

Now that was one elaborate delusion.
Relinquish your pension, "Doctor" and that will be one less burden on the taxpayer.
I've always believed that the UK is the front runner in English speaking world's race to the bottom, but that the USA is right behind. The last paragraph of this article tells me that the USA and the UK share the same problems not just with government funded existence but education as well.

Where is all this headed I wonder? The answer may be found in Greece. Food shortages have a way of focusing the mind on problem with government. The answer unfortunately, will not be more democracy.

The supreme irony of socialist countries - I mean REAL socialist countries, not the candy ass kind that exists in the UK and, more and more, the USA, is that work is not only considered a right, but an obligation of the citizen. In the great turn around that is coming, those who free load off the state may find getting what they want may not turn out to be so great after all.
Tax avoiders are cheats pure and simple. And the one-fifth you cite are not their kids. I wonder if the tax avoiders' kids had to attend the same schools because their parents paid their taxes and didn't have all that "loan" money leftover to send them to exclusive and elitist schools, if the education outcomes might alter?
Does the Queen know about this?

Much like my State of California for producing illiterates; if the dullards want to go to a two year community college, most have to have some extra prep semesters to finally get ready to take challenging college classes such as Black History, Chicano History, Tattoo Art and so forth.
This trend goes back two generations or more.

I believe in trends, so we have hit bottom with no place to go but up. Pray that my guessing is right.
It would be so much easier just to have lower taxes. If they are low enough its not worth the effort to avoid them. Then governments don't have to waste money chasing after people who have no intention on paying (and will very likely not pay them.

Of course the hard part is to get the government to live in its means.

Surely there's a huge difference between migrating to a country with a realistic, if lower, income tax rate, and employing an artificial structure for the sole purpose of reducing the tax rate to a totally unrealistic 1.25 percent?

After many years in which proper lawyer's lawyers had whittled down the effectiveness of the old ill-drawn anti-avoidance provision of Australia's Income Tax Assessment Act (Section 260 for the nostalgic)a non-Labor government came up with Part IVA nicely encapsulated in "it's the provision which says that if you don't have to pay tax then you do have to pay". It is certainly much scarier to the rich than the old provision but stil not entirely to the liking of grasping tax gatherers. Unfortunately Australian politicians seem unable to grasp the full merits (not least diversion of sharp brains out of the tax avoidance industry) of reducing the maximum marginal income tax rate to about 5 per cent above the corporate rate (the figure being chosen as a margin not worth running a private company to save for most people). The politics of the change could be handled by adding a personal consumption tax for say, the top 2 per cent of income earners, perhaps with two rates, the top one such as to allow the politicians to say the total when added to the top marginal income tax rate was higher than the present top rate.
As such high income earners would all employ accountants it wouldn't create an undue burden on anyone and the accounting could easily allow for the consumption taxed (a residual after deductions including net investent from income) to exclude education, health care and charitable donations.
Can anyone clarify nomenclature for me? In Britain, a "trust" can refer to what Americans call a mutual fund. Then, are these trusts on the island of Jersey trusts in the way that an individual can create a personal trust for estate planning purposes or are they more like mass trusts like the trusts which are the custodians of millions of Americans' Individual Retirement Accounts?
I suspect that the one-fifth of British children who leave school illiterate come almost entirely from the underclass that Dr D has written so much about. It's hard to imagine what teachers could do to impart reading skills to these barely-socialised, unwilling, and usually absent pupils.