Theodore Dalrymple

Black-eyed monster

Theodore Dalrymple observes an increase in sexual jealousy and the violence that follows

If you exclude the hypothesis that most British official statistics have been manipulated for one political purpose or another, the latest crime figures appear strange and mysterious: while crimes of violence against the person have risen by 20 per cent in a single year, other forms of crime have fallen somewhat. Since most serious crimes are committed by people who also commit many lesser crimes, and clear-up rates are at an all-time low, the figures are surprising, to say the least.

The most parsimonious explanation I can think of (other than that people now know there is no point in reporting lesser crimes to the police unless it be for insurance purposes) is that the government wants things to look serious enough for it to be allowed to continue to erode genuine civil liberties – simultaneously continuing to confer scores of bogus ones upon us – while at the same time presenting its fight against crime as a success.

Be that as it may, I am perfectly satisfied that the level of violence in our society has increased, is increasing, and ought to be reduced. And one of the reasons for the increase is the sexual revolution: from the sexual point of view (and indeed from several others) much of Britain appears like a zoological garden in which the cages have been unlocked and from which the zoo-keepers have fled. It used to be the case that morbid jealousy was an uncommon condition: so uncommon, in fact, that the Othello syndrome was included as a chapter in a book entitled Uncommon Psychiatric Syndromes, written by two eminent British psychiatrists, Enoch and Trethowan. But just as satire has a habit these days of turning into prophecy, so rare conditions sometimes become common ones, indeed – in this case – very nearly the norm.

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