December 17th, 2014

pissed

Superior Virtue

In 1937 Bertrand Russell wrote an essay entitled "The Superior Virtue of the Oppressed," in which he attacked the sentimental assumption of the title, pointing out that while the oppressed are no worse than we are, they are also no better, and given the opportunity, would act as badly we have. Since then, Robert Heinlein has dramatized the idea (the three-monkey parable in Stranger in a Strange Land), and the State of Israel has given us an object lesson. At a more trivial level, the whole Fake Geek Girl thing strikes me as a marvelous horrible example of learning the wrong lesson from oppression.