Thursday, December 27, 2012

When "Innocence" is Dangerous

A denounces B's conduct, not because B has behaved in an undeniably inappropriate manner - the conduct may have been fairly low-grade - but because A, via passionate denunciations, wishes to establish his or her own virtue and innocence. A's denunciations become a shield as well as a distraction. If B's behavior can be thrown into that hazy "appearance of impropriety" zone, a trip-wire will be triggered and the hounds will be released.

I wonder how many of those bearing pitchforks and shouting insults throughout history were inspired less by genuine anger than by a desire to secure their own status.

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