Era of gestural politics

Screen Shot 2016-05-08 at 07.23.59Gestures, writes Dalrymple,

never seem to assuage resentment, rather to accentuate and aggravate it. They are never enough; more are demanded. It is a bit like the Cultural Revolution, during which no confession was grovelling enough for the Red Guards and no admission ever of sufficient crimes.

In part this may be because

deeper or more important realities – for example, the excess of crime or poor educational achievement – remain refractory to change. When people feel impotent to change what they dislike, they are apt to turn their efforts on to something that they can change, on the kick-the-cat principle.

Also, resentment

is a self-reinforcing emotion which it takes great effort to control. It is an emotion that satisfies (in a sour way) and can keep its embers burning for a lifetime, unlike any other emotion.

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