Friday, October 23, 2015

Dalrymple on Original Sin

Theodore Dalrymple is always worth reading. Besides the grace of his prose style, he is remarkably Chestertonian in his ability to throw off phrases that capture succinctly profound insights. For instance, in his recent work Admirable Evasions: How Psychology Undermines Morality he writes this:
... for Man is not so much a problem-solving animal as a problem-creating one.
(Another reason for loving Dalrymple and his style is his refusal to bow to politically correct grammar. Thank God he didn't write "... for human beings are not so much problem-solving animals...")

What a wonderful encapsulation of the Doctrine of Original Sin! Dalrymple does not call it that and is not talking specifically about sin, but that doesn't matter. For what is Original Sin but the creation of problems where none needed to be created - in the Garden of Eden for instance? And how many of our problems - political, economic, cultural and personal - are not problems that descended upon us but instead are self-created?

It is an essentially conservative insight. If we are problem-creating animals, then we must constantly be on guard that in attempting to solve problems we merely create more.

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