Daniels on bogus illnesses

Anthony Daniels (a.k.a. Theodore Dalrymple) on “bogus illnesses” and their relationship to tort law.

Miracles are usually taken to mean that saints or relics cause miraculous improvements, but the tort law system causes miraculous deterioration in people. According to this law, if a person does you wrong by act, omission or negligence, and you suffer from it, you are entitled to compensation. And this sounds like a natural justice, but as we know – anything that can be corrupted by perverse incentives will be corrupted by perverse incentives.

It is in the power of any man to exaggerate what he has suffered, and continues to suffer. And in this case, the alleged injury – namely, whiplash – exists only in those countries in which the sufferer of it can be legally compensated for it. It does not exist in those jurisdictions where it is not recognized as an injury that can be compensated.

Apart from a slight soreness of the neck for a day or two, in other jurisdictions people get better straight away. But not in England or America.

Are you as busy as you think?

Instead of saying “I don’t have time” try saying “it’s not a priority,” and see how that feels. Often, that’s a perfectly adequate explanation. I have time to iron my sheets, I just don’t want to. But other things are harder. Try it: “I’m not going to edit your résumé, sweetie, because it’s not a priority.” “I don’t go to the doctor because my health is not a priority.” If these phrases don’t sit well, that’s the point. Changing our language reminds us that time is a choice. If we don’t like how we’re spending an hour, we can choose differently.

– Laura Vanderkam, Are you as busy as you think?

Paul Kalanithi, When Breath Becomes Air

Death comes for all of us. For us, for our patients: it is our fate as living, breathing, metabolizing organisms. Most lives are lived with passivity toward death — it’s something that happens to you and those around you. But Jeff and I had trained for years to actively engage with death, to grapple with it, like Jacob with the angel, and, in so doing, to confront the meaning of a life. We had assumed an onerous yoke, that of mortal responsibility. Our patients’ lives and identities may be in our hands, yet death always wins. Even if you are perfect, the world isn’t. The secret is to know that the deck is stacked, that you will lose, that your hands or judgment will slip, and yet still struggle to win for your patients. You can’t ever reach perfection, but you can believe in an asymptote toward which you are ceaselessly striving.

– Paul Kalanithi, When Breath Becomes Air

The convenient “whitelash” thesis

From Mark Lilla in the New York Times:

Finally, the whitelash thesis is convenient because it absolves liberals of not recognizing how their own obsession with diversity has encouraged white, rural, religious Americans to think of themselves as a disadvantaged group whose identity is being threatened or ignored. Such people are not actually reacting against the reality of our diverse America (they tend, after all, to live in homogeneous areas of the country). But they are reacting against the omnipresent rhetoric of identity, which is what they mean by “political correctness.” Liberals should bear in mind that the first identity movement in American politics was the Ku Klux Klan, which still exists. Those who play the identity game should be prepared to lose it.

George Mason: Get a grip

In today’s Washington Post, regarding my school and implicit prejudice:

To project onto a person a preconceived opinion that is not based on actual experience or personal knowledge is manifestly wrong — so wrong, in fact, that it has a special name: prejudice. Yes, that’s right: To know only that a person is conservative, white, straight, Christian, cisgender and male but nonetheless draw a broad conclusion regarding that person’s overall position in life is to harbor a prejudice. There are millions of ways a person may be disadvantaged, many of which are immeasurable and difficult to detect but still tragic. The proverbial (or contemptuous, depending on whom you ask) white male may also be blind, illiterate, intellectually disabled, autistic, chronically depressed, mentally ill, physically disabled, suicidal, non-English speaking, prone to addiction, socioeconomically disadvantaged and so on.

To say that one demographic based on one personal trait has a greater moral claim over another demographic to favorable treatment by a state actor is nothing more than advocating the execution of a prejudice through government compulsion. That, too, has a name: fascism. And by selectively providing “resources” for one group over another, George Mason is flirting with it.

Trump is the change voters wanted

Virginia Postrel hits the nail on the head at BloombergView:

Trump’s coalition certainly includes an element who are tired of being told that they’re worthless and awful — Won’t it be great when stupid white men are put in their place! — and are punching back, sometimes in deplorable ways. For them, voting for Trump is a way of combating political correctness. But it’s also a positive vote for someone they believe is proud of them and proud of their country.

Liberals want to turn Trump’s victory into an endorsement of racism and misogyny. That’s a dumb strategy if you’re against those things. The liberal belief that half the country is made up of horrible people is a big reason Trump got elected, and the more Democrats keep repeating it, the more likely their worst fears are to come true.