Recent events in France *recall one of the oldest dilemmas for liberals, socialists, Christians and even rather moderate progressives like Whigs. A laudable sympathy for the underdog, a desire to address genuine injustices shades all too easily into an unconditional admiration for the moral virtues of the oppressed-and often their artistic ones too. Yet even people at the rough end of society are still people. They too will have the same petty jealousies, tantrums and lusts as the rest of us. Even the poor beat their wives. How far does an individual’s need to murder his enemies depend on his belonging to an out group, to opposition to a supposed Hegemon-or to his own moral shortcomings. What will he do if he suddenly becomes the Hegemon?
Bertrand Russell was thinking about this as long ago as the nineteen thirties. In his essay The Superior Virtue of the Oppressed he demolishes the pretensions and delusions of those who in Lord Sugar‘s immortal phrase, “get the violin out”. We are pleased to note that our hyperlink for you comes from another WordPress blog, called Critica. Our plug is unconditional.
We at LSS are all for removing social injustices and creating a society where everyone has more equal access to things like health and education. We think it makes things more prosperous and long-lasting for everyone. We also think it fatuous to replace one set of oppressors with another, just because we felt sorry for the second lot.
#bertrandrussell #culturalhegemon #samuelpaty #womensrights #freedomofspeech