The demand to be lied to

img_2970The demand, writes Dalrymple,

for public expressions of contrition is the demand to be lied to, and it rewards thespian skill more than moral regeneration.

Often such expressions are

laughable, though no one laughs. How seriously is one supposed to take (as I have heard recounted to me) the alleged realisation that smashing a baby’s head against the wall and trying to stuff its body down the lavatory is wrong?

Even if such a realisation were

as genuine as Buddha’s enlightenment under the sacred Bo Tree, of what importance would it be, what would it count for? Is everything made right by a little light contrition afterwards?

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