Sunday, November 14, 2010

Dalrymple on Sentimentality.

Political Correctness has many causes, but at its core, it is the elevation of sentimentality as a legitimate end of actions. What matters is not being good but acting to "feel" good.  It is the real world manifestation of the philosophy of Utilitarianism. Dalrymple gets to the heart of the matter:

Sentimentality is hardness of heart, or even contempt, masquerading as feeling. It is to sympathy what incontinence is to urination (except, of course, that it is voluntary, and is vastly more destructive). It is mental and emotional laziness, a refusal to discipline the gratifying glow of self-regard by deeper reflection. It has rotted us through and through; it is the reason why it is necessary to remind our rulers that the protection of the population from crime is not an optional extra for the state once it has paid for the sex-change operations of those who want them, etc, but comes very close to the state’s whole raison d’ĂȘtre, and that rulers who fail in this regard are no longer legitimate, but parasites upon the body politic.
Where I disagree with Dalrymple is in the comment "a refusal to discipline the gratifying glow of self regard". That comment would seem to imply that many of PC are conscious of what they are doing, that they are fully aware of what they are doing. They are not. Many of the PC crowd are "nice" well mannered people who are "concerned" about others. Their motives are not malign and they are capable of making great sacrifices for their cause. They are not consciously plotting evil, rather they are hoping in their own eyes to build a better world.

In some instances their refusal to "see" what they are doing is a product of habituated thought-filtering, but most of them are just stupid.  Not stupid enough to be what Catholic theologians would call "invincibly ignorant", and therefore morally inculpable,  rather men and women who can't think past the obvious. Essentially, they are capable of first order thought, thoughts which stop when they feel right about a solution.  The best (and therefore least culpable) simply cannot comprehend how something that feels so intuitively right is so utterly wrong. The worst, suspect that they are wrong but fear of psychic pain stops them from pursuing their thoughts. Their intellect is constrained by their feelings. They can't think past the pain and hate those who make them do it.