Category Archives: benevolence

How the German intellectuals adored Hitler!

Carl Schmitt (right)

Dalrymple writes:

The penetrating clear-sightedness and benevolence towards humanity that intellectuals often claim for themselves by comparison with the benightedness of the rest of the population is at least sometimes—and maybe often or always—self-serving and mythical. The fact that the most educated part of a modern society supports such-and-such a policy is no evidence that it is right.

It was harder, he points out,

for non-German intellectuals to admire Hitler than Stalin because of the nature of Hitler’s ideas: claiming the inherent and ineradicable superiority of one’s own race and nation in everything from time immemorial is not the best way to attract foreign adherents.

Martin Heidegger

Nevertheless,

many German intellectuals, notoriously Martin Heidegger and Carl Schmitt, rallied to Hitler, and few actively opposed him.

How far their support was motivated by fear or opportunism is impossible to say, but

years of study and intellection did not protect them from gross misjudgment.

Even before Hitler attained power,

support for him was greater among university students and the professoriat than in the nation as a whole.

 

Malice and benevolence

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 05.02.39Joseph Butler, Dalrymple explains,

does not deny that motives are often mixed, but this does not mean that all motives are really one meta- or mega-motive.

In this connection, Butler coins his dictum:

Everything is what it is, and not another thing. (This can be found in Fifteen Sermons, Preface §39.)

In other words, says Dalrymple,

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 05.06.10benevolence is benevolence and malice is malice, even if they co-exist in one human heart.

Butler’s

argument against self-love, self-interest or power being the only human motive is simple but decisive.

Dalrymple draws attention to Butler’s 1727 sermon Upon Human Nature, citing this passage:

That what has [the appearance of goodwill] is often nothing but ambition; that delight in superiority often (suppose always) mixes itself with benevolence, only makes it more specious to call it ambition than hunger, of the two; but in reality that passion does not more to account for the whole appearance of good-will than this appetite does. Is there not often the appearance of one man’s wishing that good to another, which he knows himself unable to procure him; and rejoicing in it, though bestowed by a third person? And can love of power any way possibly come in to account for this desire or delight?

The quintessential apparatchik

Punchy: Paul Hunt

Paul Podsnap-Hunt: keeping on the right side of the rules of correctness

What is the secret of being a successful, well-paid administrator-at-large in the global health and aid-and-development apparat, with all the opportunities that this affords for international travel, for avoiding dull routine, for feeling very good indeed about oneself, and for transnational or nether-world approbation?

The secret, Dalrymple explains, is to follow the recommendation of Paul Hunt, the former Special Rapporteur of the United Nations on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, to give him his full title. Hunt makes it a point in his speech and writing to be

as punchy as I can be within the rules, both spoken and unspoken.

Screen Shot 2015-06-07 at 10.13.47At the same time Hunt believes that, as a human rights lawyer, he must

expand the traditional boundaries

of his

calling,

more or less to include everything. There is, says Dalrymple,

Screen Shot 2015-06-07 at 10.16.09a kind of grandiosity about this that produces in me a similar effect as that my teachers used to produce when they had a piece of defective chalk that squeaked on the blackboard. Here is a man so perfect, so moral, so well-intentioned, so benevolent towards humanity, that he feels he has the right—no, the duty, the calling—to lay down the world’s agenda.

Screen Shot 2015-06-07 at 10.27.47

Antonio de Mendoza y Pacheco, primer virrey de la Nueva España (1535-50) y del Perú (1550-52)

Hunt finds that he gains an appreciation of his worth as a humanitarian UN leader of considerable ability and far-sightedness when he hears that

some country or other has passed a law because of his

intervention,

and he feels as if he has achieved something, as if all laws in the world were obeyed and achieved their end.

Alas,

Obedezco pero no cumplo.

Screen Shot 2015-06-07 at 09.05.24

Paul Hunt: grandeur

Coiffure of a globa; healthcare visionary

Coiffure of a global healthcare visionary