Views & Reviews Between the Lines

Lacking moral fibre

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: (Published 23 November 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c6635
  1. Theodore Dalrymple, writer and retired doctor

It is strange how a phrase that you have not heard used for several decades can, like Proust’s madeleine, stir the deepest, though not necessarily the fondest, memories. I happened recently to be leafing idly through Sir Charles Symonds’s Studies in Neurology, a selection of his papers published in 1970, when he was 80 years old. The book begins with an autobiographical introduction, and on page 18 three words, followed by their acronym, stood out from the rest of the page as if in pink neon lights on a pitch black night: “lack of moral fibre”—or LMF.

How, I wonder, do the eyes, guided by the mind, …

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