Medical Tuesday Blog
In Praise of Prejudice by Theodore Dalrymple
Theodore Dalrymple, a psychiatrist who regularly saw patients in an English Prison, has an interesting perspective of people and their incongruities. His latest encounter book In Praise of Prejudice draws some very interesting observations. He draws his definition from the Oxford Shorter Dictionary, prejudice is:
a previous judgement, especially a premature or hasty judgement. Preconceive opinion; bias . . . usually with unfavourable connotation. An unreasoning predilection of objection.
It follows, does it not, that we should strive to be entirely without prejudice?
He compares racial prejudice, which he considers the archetypical prejudice, to be the worst of all possible vices. It is merely based on ones race without any other attributes. It was the bases of many massacres and genocides in history. But even then, in polite company, no one would admit to a prejudice which would indicate that oneself is a bigot. . .
Chapter 3: History Teaches Us Anything We Like
A certain historiography persuades us that the wisdom of the past is always an illusion, and that the history of authority is nothing but the history of its abuse. It is not difficult to construct such a history, of course, for there is a lamentable surfeit of evidence in its favor. In a recent book entitled Menace in Europe, the talented American journalist Claire Berlinski tells us that war and genocide are not part of the history of Europe, but constitute the whole if its history. She arrives at this conclusion by looking at European history through the lens of the Holocaust and a list of wars that fills an entire page of print.
In the great history of England, Macaulay wrote:
its patients, rather the reverse, and that distinguished it,
Perhaps the answer can best be appreciated in our
When a doctor proposes an eminently sensible course of action to a patient based upon the most compelling evidence, and the patient replies, “Yes, but. . .” the doctor might as well give up there and then, for however many rejoinders he may make to the patient’s irrational objections, he will never prevail by reaching the end of the infinite regress. Of course, such stubbornness is not at the root only of much human folly, it is at the root of much, perhaps most, human wisdom, too.
This book should be read by all physicians to help make sense of what we do and how we interrelate with those we serve as well as those who strive to control us to the detriment of
This book review is found at http://www.medicaltuesday.net/book-reviews/
The Book Review Section Is an Insider’s View of Medical Writing.
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