By Ralph Musgrave
Recent research has discovered that about half the population think it is more important that a statement is “kind” rather than truthful.
As one one of the many people for whom truth is sacrosanct, I find that totally bizarre, but it it does explain a lot, as I’ll show in the arguments below.
Incidentally, that lack of interest in reality is not something which is confined to the less academic section of the population; the South Korean economist Ha-Joon Chang once said: “Unfortunately, a lot of my academic colleagues not only do not work in the real world, but are not even interested in the real world.” Plus the idea that plenty of people are no longer interested in reality is not some unusual or crank idea, it’s a notion which is widely recognised, as the cartoon above amply demonstrates.
One phenomenon that the above bias in favour of “kindness” helps explain is the existence of the emotional terms “hate speech” and “hate crime”.
It is completely irrelevant for those who witter endlessly about “hate” to actually try to prove that statement or act which allegedly involves “hate” is actually motivated by hatred itself. I’ve read literally hundreds of newspaper articles, particularly in the liberal Guardian newspaper, which attribute “hate” to all and sundry, but I’ve never seen so much as the beginning of an attempt to prove that hatred is actually involved. Which ironically is an example of the lack of interest that the “kind brigade” have in reality! So what’s the explanation?
I suggest it’s partially, if not wholly, down to the belief that all statements should be “kind” and hence any statement which is not “kind” must be motivated by the opposite of kindness, in other words “hate”.
A second phenomenon which the above disregard for reality possibly explains is the rather sharp divide between the pro-and anti-immigration sections of the population in any Western country.
It is blatantly obvious that “kindness” towards would-be immigrants and ‘asylum seekers’ consists of letting them all into the country.
But against that there is the indisputable reality that letting in a never-ending stream of Muslims, Africans and Third Worlders will ultimately turn the host country into something resembling the Islamic part of Nigeria. In other words, a “shithole” to use Donald Trump’s delightful (and rather unkind) phraseology!
But the latter reality is by definition of no interest to those who are not interested in reality and who prefer being “kind”.