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« And To All A Good Night | Main | The Insanity Of The Left »

The Road To Hell

Roger Kimball, on political correctness, good intentions, and moral accountability:

In The Social Contract, Rousseau warned that “Those who dare to undertake the institution of a people must feel themselves capable … of changing human nature, … of altering the constitution of man for the purpose of strengthening it.” Robespierre & Co. thought themselves just the chaps for the job. The fact that they measured the extent of their success by the frequency that the guillotines around Paris operated highlights the connection between the imperatives of political correctness and tyranny—between what Robespierre candidly described as “virtue and its emanation, terror.”

That is the conjunction that should give us pause, especially when we contemplate the good intentions of the politically correct bureaucrats who preside over more and more of life in Western societies today. They mean well. They seek to boost all mankind up to their own plane of enlightenment. Inequality outrages their sense of justice. They regard conventional habits of behavior as so many obstacles to be overcome on the path to perfection. They see tradition as the enemy of innovation, which they embrace as a lifeline to moral progress. They cannot encounter a wrong without seeking to right it. The idea that some evils may be ineradicable is anathema to them. Likewise the traditional notion that the best is the enemy of the good, that many choices we face are to some extent choices among evils—such proverbial wisdom outrages their sense of moral perfectibility.

Will Smith is (unjustly) involved.

One of the dangerous (and false) assumptions underlying the "progressive" project is the notion that there is no human nature, and that human beings are almost infinitely malleable and mutable. All that is needed is to pass the proper laws, and to punish those who refuse to bend to the dictates of the superior morality. Such notions lie at the heart of most of the human catastrophes of the last couple centuries, from Robespierre, to Lenin and Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot. And of course, it is at the heart of the war in which we're now engaged, with the new totalitarians who would, if they could, bend us to their extreme Islamic will.

[Update a few minutes later]

Seven pillars of terrorism?

I don't think so, and neither do most of the commenters. This is just the old "poverty causes terrorism" myth gussied up a bit. The problems with the Arab and Muslim world go far beyond that, as noted. It doesn't explain why Hindus don't do these things.

Posted by Rand Simberg at December 26, 2007 06:27 AM
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