Category Archives: kindness

The professional purifiers of our utterances

The idea, writes Dalrymple, that ‘hate speech’ can be banned is

a sign of impatience with the intractability of the human condition. It wants to legislate people into kindness, decency and fellow-feeling. It appeals to the sort of people who forget (or never knew) that supposed solutions to human problems frequently throw up further problems that are greater than that which the solution is designed to solve.

For its protagonists,

it has the advantage of creating a bureaucracy of virtue with pension arrangements to match.

Only the USA, he says,

with its constitutional commitment to free speech, has held the line against the encroachments of the professional purifiers of our utterances.

Self-congratulatory posturing

Screen Shot 2015-09-04 at 08.50.54Kindness, writes Dalrymple,

turns into cruelty when it helps to maintain the need for kindness to be exercised; it then becomes an exercise in self-congratulation rather than in doing good.

Screen Shot 2015-09-04 at 09.00.37

The characteristic deformation of the liberal conscience

'I have learned to be polite to the people who make these calls. I imagine that for them it is just a job like any other. Some of their contemporaries went into sales, others into the bank, yet others into insurance; they went into fraud (only a relative, not an absolute, distinction).'

‘I have learned to be polite to the people who make these calls. I imagine that for them it is just a job like any other. Some of their contemporaries went into sales, others into the bank, yet others into insurance; they went into fraud (only a relative, not an absolute, distinction).’

We are enjoined to put ourselves in other people’s shoes before judging them too harshly, but…

When (doubtless ill-paid) telephone fraudsters ring up from India, Dalrymple asks whether showing them politeness is humanity or pusillanimity. He writes:

We often think that to make excuses for others is kindness, to make excuses for ourselves dishonesty.

Therefore should we show a bit of kindness, a bit of consideration, to members of the telephone fraudster community?

After all, perhaps not. Dalrymple says:

To make excuses for others but not for ourselves easily becomes condescension or a sense of superiority moral and even existential. We are responsible for what we do, they are not. We act, they only react.