Overall, I don't read a lot of nonfiction, but when I do, it is often in the form of feminist essays. And I just think I may have been spoiled by better essay writers than Solnit.
Posted on September 30, by Scott Alexander [Content warning: Try to keep this off Reddit and other similar sorts of things.
All the townspeople want to forgive him immediately, and they mock the titular priest for only being willing to give a measured forgiveness conditional on penance and self-reflection. They lecture the priest on the virtues of charity and compassion. Later, it comes out that the beloved nobleman did not in fact kill his good-for-nothing brother.
The good-for-nothing brother killed the beloved nobleman and stole his identity. Now the townspeople want to see him lynched or burned alive, and it is only the priest who — consistently — offers a measured forgiveness conditional on penance and self-reflection.
The priest tells them: You forgive a conventional duel just as you forgive a conventional divorce. He further notes that this is why the townspeople can self-righteously consider themselves more compassionate and forgiving than he is.
Actual forgiveness, the kind the priest needs to cultivate to forgive evildoers, is really really hard. The fake forgiveness the townspeople use to forgive the people they like is really easy, so they get to boast not only of their forgiving nature, but of how much nicer they are than those mean old priests who find forgiveness difficult and want penance along with it.
Whether or not forgiveness is right is a complicated topic I do not want to get in here. You can forgive theft, or murder, or tax evasion, or something you find abhorrent. You can have all the Utility Points you want.
The Emperor summons before him Bodhidharma and asks: How many Virtue Points have I earned for my meritorious deeds? The Emperor, somewhat put out, demands to know why. Of course I have nothing against gay people!
And today we have an almost unprecedented situation. We have a lot of people — like the Emperor — boasting of being able to tolerate everyone from every outgroup they can imagine, loving the outgroup, writing long paeans to how great the outgroup is, staying up at night fretting that somebody else might not like the outgroup enough.
This is really surprising. No one did any genetic engineering. No one passed out weird glowing pills in the public schools. And yet suddenly we get an entire group of people who conspicuously promote and defend their outgroups, the outer the better. What is going on here?
But if the Emperor has curly hair, are straight-haired people part of his outgroup? I want to avoid a very easy trap, which is saying that outgroups are about how different you are, or how hostile you are.
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