Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Rude and potentially intolerant

I'm OK with that.

The inimitable David Warren:

It could of course be argued that pagan savages is a rude and potentially intolerant way to refer to the de-Christianized heirs of our Western civilization. We are aware that they can be quite touchy, and are generally disinclined to take what they give. We could fill this column with the terms they apply to religious believers.

Let me add that people touchy about themselves, but not about others, are called narcissists too, and in that very formula my reader may discern the link between narcissism and criminal behaviour.

Indeed, let me spell that out.

At the root of criminal behaviour, after we have lopped off all its branches and dug to its source, is indifference to the pain of others, contrasted with wilful indulgence of one's own pleasures.

Reason comes into this, too. At the root of reason is a certain patience in observing the connections between things. One does not, for instance, take out one's wrath on Prince Charles because the education secretary in a government he never elected has raised one's tuition fees. One does not even take it out on the education secretary, who is only doing his job in the face of massive public debt. Instead, one patiently reviews his arguments, to see if they can be confuted.

Unless, of course, one is a student in a university only in some nominal and superficial sense - mere accreditation. More deeply, one may be a ward of the state, already living on massive public subsidy; and beyond this, a person with criminal tendencies - a thug and a hooligan.

Which is precisely the problem we face on university campuses, not only in England; and increasingly in the streets, not only in London. We have a whole generation of what I characterized above as pagan savages, whose most plausible excuse is that they were raised by pagan savages in their turn. We have generations who have lived since early childhood almost exclusively for the sake of consumer gratification; who have no other God.

And it will be a royal pain to convert them; but I can see no other way forward.

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