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Friday Ephemera

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Matt McCaffrey on our left-leaning, status-conscious intellectual caste: 

Intellectuals do not participate in the market (at least not in the areas they write about), and do not generally rely on satisfying consumers to earn a living. Add to this their naturally critical attitude… and it is easy to see why intellectuals would be hostile to the market. In other words, intellectuals are often out of place in entrepreneurial societies. The growth of the intellectual class is not a response to consumer demand, but to the expansion of higher education. Passing through the higher education system does not necessarily confer valuable skills, but it often does convince graduates that work in the market is beneath them.

Somewhat related, this and this

And Theodore Dalrymple on crime and punishment: 

It is easier to forgive the evil done to others than to forgive the evil done to oneself, especially if in the first place we don’t really like those others to whom the evil is done. Then conspicuous forgiveness becomes a kind of sadism, an additional burden to bear for those to whom the evil was done: for as I know from clinical experience with my patients, the lack of proper punishment of the perpetrators of evil is itself a punishment of the victims of it, a punishment that is often long-lasting… This is because it removes from the victims all confidence that there is justice in the world or that anybody cares what happens to them.

This “conspicuous forgiveness,” a kind of vicarious tolerance, can be quite striking in its boldness and disregard for facts, with acts of savagery being met with improbable excuses and rhetorical diversions. Generally from a safe distance. In 2011, following the London riots, China Miéville, a middle-class Marxist and member of the International Socialist Organisation, claimed to be “horrified” that members of the press and public had used the word feral when describing the career predators and assorted thugs who, seeking excitement and a sense of power, had beaten passing pensioners unconscious and burned random women out of their homes. And who, on the arrival of firefighters, had dragged them from their vehicles and punched them insensible.

To use the word feral when describing such people was, Mr Miéville said, our “moral degradation far more than [theirs].” You see, by referring to such behaviour as savage and anti-social, we are the degraded ones in Mr Miéville’s eyes, the ones in need of chastisement. Our compassionate Marxist was hardly alone in his rush to invert reality and flatter the brutish, even as it became clear that an overwhelming majority of the looters, muggers and arsonists had previous convictions for similar crimes, an average of 15, and some more than fifty. Despite such bothersome details, flattery and evasion were very much the done thing as fellow leftists Nina Power, Laurie Penny and Priyamvada Gopal were happy to demonstrate. Presumably on grounds that none of the feral behaviour, the random beatings and violent predation, was being directed at them.

As usual, feel free to add your own links and snippets in the comments. It’s what these posts are for.

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