The Dangers of Saccharine

Tuesday, March 29th, 2016

Theodore Dalrymple flew to Paris the day Brussels was bombed:

And yet…only the other day I was reading, in a book by Professor Henri Pirenne (a Belgian, by the way), that the barbarians made up only 5% of the population of the Roman Empire at the moment of its supposed collapse.

Historical analogies are not exact, of course (otherwise they wouldn’t be analogies), and I don’t think we’re anywhere near collapse — more like decomposition, really. I see the epidemic of tattooing and other forms of self-mutilation in that light, a population desperate to make its mark but capable only of marking itself.

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