Sunday, June 16, 2013

A Few Observations on Misanthropy

How many ideologies, world views, philosophies, theologies have some element of misanthropy underlying them? Why is that? Why is it so common? This element of so much thought is the source of so much evil in the world. Why does it constantly recur?

There was a time when socialists truly believed that socialism was a more efficient way of organizing the economy. However, since it was definitively proven otherwise, socialists no longer use economic arguments, and rather use arguments of fairness. More, they insist that everyone conform to their values. They think that people who have made free choices are nevertheless exploited. This suggests that these people are stupid, dupes. Anyone who thinks others are victims when they are in the position they are in due to their own free choices has a low opinion of those people. That is misanthropy.

Regulators -- including those who favor minimum wage laws -- think that people are otherwise too stupid, too rotten, too gullible to be left to their own devices. That is misanthropy.

Welfare statists think that unless the government takes care of you, you will die in the streets, so stupid, selfish, and incompetent you are. That is misanthropy.

Regulators of personal behavior -- formerly only associated with social conservatives, but increasingly associated with progressives as well -- think that you cannot make good choices for yourself, in your own private life. You have to have someone to make you live right, or else you will only ever do evil. That is misanthropy.

Anyone who thinks that without legislation, we will only ever do evil to each other, is a misanthropist.

Anyone who thinks that people are basically evil is a misanthropist. 

Anyone who "loves mankind," but then hates particular people because they never meet that person's ideals, is a misanthropist.

Anyone who thinks others to be incompetent, evil, or needing to be reformed just because they don't share their particular values or value rankings is a misanthropist.

Anyone who wants to control some one or some group holds that person or people in contempt. They are misanthropists. If you support government regulation, you want to control people. When you support welfare, you think people incompetent to live their lives and make good choices. You want to regulate people into supporting your values. That is dehumanizing, tribalistic, misanthropic. 

If you want to reform humanity, if you want to try to make everyone conform to your world view, if you want to re-educate people to fit your mold, if you want to "improve" mankind, then you hate mankind -- you are a misanthropist.

If you think your group is better than another group, you are a misanthropists. Indeed, this is the true source of misanthropy -- tribalism drives it -- tribalists see their group as good, human the other as evil, subhuman. In our global humanity, collectivism of this sort, derived from tribalism, is the source of misanthropy. This is the source of the idea that there ought to be a rule of the best -- aristocracy -- to rule those who cannot rule themselves. Of course, if you think others cannot rule themselves, you hold those people to be lower than you, you pity them. You only pity those you hold in contempt. Pity and compassion/sympathy are quite different. Pity is aristocratic and misanthropic; compassion/sympathy is equalitarian and philanthropic. 

The true philanthropist loves people for who they are, respects people for who they are, believes people to be competent to act and decide for themselves, embraces people in their true diversity -- even while rejecting misanthropy and misanthropic ideologies, world views, and philosophies.
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