Theodore Dalrymple is doomed to perpetual frustration. A man showing distinct libertarian tendencies who nevertheless works in the British state-sector as a prison doctor is bound to do a lot of harumphing. He writes well about his experiences though and those who have worked for a bureaucracy might agree with his last line:
“The extension of Government bureaucracy into every corner of life is not only inefficient but destructive of human personality”
One good example of pointless bureaucracy he cites reminded me of my last trip to the United States in December. As we were about to touch down in Chicago the air hostess handed me a form which asked me if I’d been engaged in any genocide. Being full of the holiday spirit and possessing self-destructive impulses in the interests of comedy I toyed with ticking the box to see what would happen. Good sense prevailed and I decided to play it straight but, like Mr Dalrymple, am still perplexed as to why the question is asked. Those who haven’t been involved in genocide will leave the box unticked and those who have been involved in the evil act (Osama, Saddam, Milosovic) presumably don’t regularly turn up in the US on skiing holidays.