Guest Post: Compassion – Killer Of Society?

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Rex van Schalkwyk of Casey Research

Compassion – Killer Of Society?

In politics, it is the idea that counts. So also in philosophy, pop music, pedantry and philanthropy. The idea is everything. And between the idea and the reality, there lies that vast uncharted terrain of promises unfulfilled, of lies and deceit and of naked hypocrisy, all of which account for the failure of the public discourse and of public life. In short, this self-inflicted deception accounts for the failure of society.

Bertrand Russell, who is said by some to have been the greatest philosopher of the 20th century, and a notable socialist, proposed that in the one-world society he envisaged, the supply of food should be used as a lever to ensure social compliance. This is what he wrote on the need to prevent the increase of the world's population: "If this is to be done otherwise than by wars, pestilence and famines, it will demand a powerful international authority. This authority should deal out the world's food to the various nations in proportion to their population at the time of the establishment of the authority. If any nation should subsequently increase its population, it should not on that account receive more food…"

In this way, the philosopher would have contrived a one-world totalitarian dictatorship in a perpetual state of starvation. Russell did not even consider where the world's food, without which people were to be starved into submission, would realistically be produced. The most extraordinary thing of all is that he could suggest such an idea in pursuit of his ideal of the utopian life. Were it not for the fact that his work, The Impact of Science on Society, is no laughing matter, it might have been read as a malicious satire.

There is a conundrum here: why is it that so many of those who enthusiastically embrace a benign cause conduct themselves with such malevolent intent? The answer in Russell's case and many others besides is that the real object of their concern is not the welfare of the individual, or of the collective, or the world, as the case may be. The real preoccupation is the idea, and close by the idea is the individual who will see self-interest as synonymous with the public good.

And so it is easy for Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger, George Soros, and others who have made their billions to adopt neo-socialist causes and to plead the morality of higher taxation because, having made their pile, they can with impunity identify with the perceived interests of the disadvantaged. They can adopt the mantle of compassion because there is no real cost involved.

The worst crimes in human history were committed in the name of the communist ideology, whose central premise was the brotherhood of men. Everyone was a comrade, except when they were not, which was practically all the time. Never included in the common definition were the rulers, although they were routinely referred to by the same fraternal denomination.

George Bernard Shaw actually visited Russia in the company of a clutch of like-minded intellectuals after the commencement of Stalin's infamous purges. When he returned to the safety of London, he proclaimed to have been well-pleased by the progressive nature of Russian society.

How did this man of letters come to a conclusion so perverse? The answer is that he traded his integrity in exchange for the acknowledgement of the intellectual establishment of the time. It was believed then, particularly among the intellectual classes of Oxford and Cambridge, that communism was the way of the future. In Major Barbara, Shaw had excoriated the wealth derived from machines of death and destruction. What better trade for a playwright of his inclinations than to feign ignorance of the depravity of Stalin's Russia. In this way he would find favor with the masters of the intellectual universe.

In a letter written to The Manchester Guardian on March 2, 1933, Shaw and 20 other fellow travelers made this observation: "We desire to record that we saw nowhere evidence of such economic slavery, privation, unemployment and cynical despair of betterment as are accepted as inevitable and ignored by the [British] press… Everywhere we saw the hopeful and enthusiastic working-class, self-respecting and free up to the limits imposed on them by nature and a terrible inheritance from tyranny…"

If Shaw were to be believed, he was well aware of the tyranny of the tsar but blissfully ignorant of the savagery of Joseph Stalin, of the ubiquitous secret police, the extermination of the kulaks and the mass deportation and starvation of vast swaths of the Russian population. On his visit, he did not even notice the ever-present apparatus of Stalin's propaganda machine.

Joseph Schumpeter, who was both a sociologist and an economist, had the measure of human nature. In every democracy, votes are exchanged for favors. As the democracy matures and as the prize of political office becomes ever more seductive, the promises become ever more extravagant. By this process the democratic bribe must, according to Schumpeter, result in government that becomes increasingly socialist. If practical proof of Schumpeter's thesis is required, it is to be found in the inexorable rise of socialism in Europe, Canada, Australia and in the United States.

Add to this the requirement of the bankers and of the lesser financial institutions to secure political advantage, and it becomes easy to follow the money. This also explains the paradox of capital making common cause with socialism. If there is hypocrisy in those who choose to ignore the contradictions of their actions, this hypocrisy is multiplied in those who regard such conduct as a promotion of the public good.

When, as Treasury Secretary, Hank Paulson went down on his knees in his abject supplication before Nancy Pelosi, the high priestess of Congress, was it for the survival of the economy or his share-option scheme that he most fervently prayed? Whose interests was he guarding when he provided his banker friends and colleagues with insider information about the imminent collapse of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae – a possibility that only weeks before he had publicly and emphatically dismissed?

The "liberated" South Africa is governed by the African National Congress (ANC), which comprises an assortment of socialists, communists, trades unionists and a sprinkling of pragmatists. The one thing that this unruly crowd has in common is its conspicuous consumption. In the process, billions of rand are misspent, unaccounted for or simply stolen. The chief in the office of former president Thabo Mbeki, Smuts Ngonyama, once proclaimed that he had not engaged in the liberation struggle to be poor. Candor of this kind is, however, rare; far more likely, a critic of government corruption will be met with the accusation of racialism.

The poor and the dispossessed are routinely exploited for the social and political ambitions of their rulers. Winnie Mandela, the former wife of the idealized former president, was convicted of the common-law crimes of kidnapping and assault. Were it not for an opportunistic appeal-court judgment, she might have spent many years in jail. Although she no longer goes by the moniker "Mother of the Nation," she still cuts a prominent and elegant figure on the many occasions she appears in public. Her kidnap victim was found dead, but her compassion is always on display: she never misses a photo shoot opportunity in the immediate presence of misery.

If the politicians and intellectuals are masters at the art of hypocrisy, Hollywood actors and pop stars have a sublime skill in the promotion of humbug. One such practitioner is Paul David Hewson, also known simply as Bono, the lead singer and lyricist of the accomplished Irish rock group U2.

Bono has turned his talents and his genius for publicity to the international populist causes of the day. He has organized many benefit concerts, eagerly supported by the "me-too brigade" who make up much of the entertainment industry. The most woebegone victims invariably attract the greatest artistic support, which is always provided for free.

For his efforts, Bono has consorted with presidents and kings and accumulated an assortment of titles and awards. Formally granted an honorary knighthood in March 2007 and thrice nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, the former Time Person of the Year has been described by Paul Theroux as a "mythomaniac"; a person who wishes "…to convince the world of (his) worth." The sociologist and political commentator Muhammad Idrees Ahmad has condemned Bono's conduct as "…a grand orgy of narcissistic philanthropy." So we have it on good authority: narcissism and philanthropy can coexist.

If the hypocrisy of the pop stars is nauseating, the grandiloquent but meaningless oratory of the aspirant political "leaders," of which much will be seen and heard in the coming months, is almost certain to produce results, the very opposite of what is pledged.

Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy and others besides have fallen into the trap of bribing their electorates with promises that become ever more unsustainable. In each of these states, expectations have been created that cannot be met and that cannot now be undone. This is surely a recipe for social unrest.

These will not be the only countries to succumb to failure. The national debt, the unaffordable long-term cost of social security, health care and a myriad other entitlements and the mounting evidence of the insolvent state point to the same outcome for the UK and the US. Failure is ensured; the more pressing question is, what happens next?

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Bill D. Cat's picture

Well .... this bad news . Obviously the markets go up .

Silver Bug's picture

The system becomes more and more unstable everyday. The tape holding it together is not going to work much longer. Hold tight your gold and silver.


Buy Silver, Protect yourself.

Matt's picture

Since he mentioned Manchester, anybody keeping an eye on the Manchester United IPO? supposed to be in the USA now. Morgan Stanley got replaced by Jeffries, after the whole FB fiasco.

ndotken's picture

If Bono wanted to give money anonymously to his supported causes, there is nothing to prevent him from doing so.  The donation of his time is nothing more than a ingenious marketing scheme, used to deceive the masses into forking over their hard earned dollars or other currency.  Just another example of the elite liars, crooks and theives taking advantage of the muppets.

deflator's picture

...the tape, or adhesive as it were that is holding this system together is confidence, the only thing that makes a fiat currency "money" is confidence. Once that confidence goes away it doesn't come back over night. We will wake up some morning and everything will be shut down for awhile until we figure out what money is "again".

saturn's picture

compassion can work if you hold population growth on a leash.

Goldtoothchimp09's picture

my guess would be an eventual revaluation of currencies...hey, we promised you a $50k/year it is... too bad $50k today(future) is worth $12k in 2011 dollars

WageSlave's picture

Goldtoothchimp09, but but that's not fair.

zaphod's picture

This is the way it always always happens. The nominal is honored, the real is devalued. Every single time.

dolce vita's picture



1.take away your job

2.take away your pension

3.take away your house

4.take away you health care

5.take away your vote

6.take away your food

7.take away your gold

8.take away your guns

 TPTB are sweatin' numbers 6, 7 & 8...these will be where rubber mets road.....

duo's picture

We could have had a decent debt-default holiday in 2008 with only a 1/3x devaluation of the dollar.  Instead, more debt was created and now we're at 1/10x, ergo, we need to expand M0 by 10x to get out of this.

Not quite wheelbarrow time, but close.

ugmug's picture


Politicians wonder why the general public never retains a very high regard for them. But it is easy to understand for the public yearns for an administrator who can recognize the difference between policy and apologizing.


Increasingly politicians are using policy as a way to extend an apology to an aggrieved special interest group (a.k.a. - looters) to garner their vote. The trick nowadays in getting politicians to open up the government's money vault is to be a highly organized 'victim' demanding a lucrative 'monetary apology'.


As the media behaves more like adults playing with dolls, spewing out all sorts of juvenile political accusations to satisfy their fetish like attention cravings, the 'Barbie Doll' media perpetuates the victimization mentality of society whose only remedy then becomes a government policy that guarantees a never ending 'monetary' payout from the taxpayer (a.k.a. - bailouts).

...end of lecture 


Zero Govt's picture

and nobody plays the 'victim card' better than a State funded 'Charity' rammed with Marxists and other social scum

Britain is a shithole of taxpayer funded propaganda Charities producing the next 'research piece' to justify, yes you guessed it, more Govt intervention and the growth of the parasite State

ugmug's picture

I will add that liberals and Marxists love to point out their hatred for laissez-faire economics.

But there is also laissez-faire socialism – which is no interference by the taxpaying rubes who have to pay for all the socialism.



SilverTree's picture

Ten Verses Never Preached On


Ezekiel 16:17 NIV

You also took the fine jewelry I gave you, the jewelry made of my gold and silver, and you made for yourself male idols and engaged in prostitution with them.

yabyum's picture

silver tree: Is there a porn sight for this verse??

Unbezahlbar's picture



 Deuteronomy 23:1 ESV


No one whose testicles are crushed or whose male organ is cut off shall enter the assembly of the Lord.

Gazooks's picture is written, whosoever shall mocketh the presumable word of the Lord on the interwebs so shall he too reapeth the wrath visited on Costanza.

Yea, though he may reach for his genitals expecting size of a donkey, the cold water of the Lord will descend upon them smite and shrink them to that of a wretched flea. And his wife, his brother's wife, women of the village and verily even the lowliest of prostitutes shall mock his humiliation of vanished manhood, denying him even a towel as the angels of the heavenly host point and hysterically rain a torrent of tears.

Then shall ye know the worth of gold and silver for purposes of reconstructive surgery, and the Lord will have had yet another good laugh.

sessinpo's picture

Savage - liberalism is a mental disorder

Me - socialism is a cultural disease.

SilverTree's picture

SilverTree - War is on the horizon.

xtop23's picture

^ that

... and it's not going to be a teeny kinetic action. 


Miffed Microbiologist's picture

Agree too, just praying it's only conventional. Nukes would be unfathomable.


americanspirit's picture

I want nuclear. Everywhere. Totally. There isn't a single human being worth the breath they draw.

Fuck compassion. Clear the planet.

juangrande's picture

You tell me it's the institutions..
Well, ya know,
You better free your mind instead!

Compassion works if it is unconditional....
Compassion works when you realize that your compassion benefits you...
It matters not how it has effected others...
But if conditional, it is not compassion....

InconvenientCounterParty's picture

me: conservatism has been on the wrong side of every inflection point in human history since fire was harnessed.

The conservative to me: wimp, pussy, moron, imbecile, retard, socialist, communist, nazi, collectivist, cry baby...... You impressed yet?

me: Thanks for the comedy, but the joke's on you and time will deliver the punchline. It always does.


Ident 7777 economy's picture

Spewing crap; save it for a crowd that respects crap ... 'k?

Ben Dover's picture

I understand what you're saying, but it is false to assume that the entitlement philosophy is found only in the lower or leftist classes.

crawldaddy's picture

so you put out your own fires, you fight your own crime, you clean the city street youself, you fight your own wars, you keep the electricity running, you fix the roads yourself? YOu have no insurnace?


You are an idiot, you dont even understand the definiton of socialism.

CABill's picture

My siblings usually had a fallback option if they didn't make an effort to succeed.  Therefore they never succeeded.  


My neighbors were on welfare, pregnant too young to finish high school.  They taught their kids how to apply for welfare and increase payments by having more kids.  Their many kids became my neighbors.

SilverTree's picture

How many generations will it take to "right the ship"?

juangrande's picture

When exactly was the ship right?
Back when, before entitlements, a work ethic was essential to survival ala "a gun to the head". Had there been another option, it would have been taken by just as many people, proportionately.
Collectively, we got a fucked up mentality, that like our institutions, is unsustainable...

CommunityStandard's picture

I think the point of this article is that entitlements are bad for society, but the author was both all over the place and nowhere at all, so I really can't be sure.

Sean7k's picture

Then we read a different article. This one calls to task the leaders that society looks up to and values for exhorting ideas that cripple and disease community. Even if their ideas are entirely messed up.

Unfortunately, the author commits the same one by not providing the more important follow up to "what happens next". He is pontificationg on the poverty of the status quo by COMPLAINING about it.

What comes next is fairly simple: either we win or they do. Either we accept total wage slavery and a return to medievel serfdom or we bring down the fascism that infects all governments and try liberty with responsibility. Either we learn how to do the heavy lifting or we trade our labors for whatever the Elites tell us has value and how much we can have.

Historically, the people have taken what they have been given. They have worked hard (or not, plenty of slackers in all time frames) and received what they have been given by their Lords.

Therefore, if we want a different outcome, we need to create it ourselves, as communities or clans or tribes. We need to find like minded lovers of liberty and responsibility (or not or anything in between) and create islands that exemplify our best efforts and dreams.

The Elites will always act as parasites, how long will you let them suck your blood and drain you of your life force and opportunity?

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

The big lie we tell ourselves is that only the powers that be are corrupt and/or corruptible. In our own little ways and measures we are all corrupt and corruptible.

old naughty's picture

Cog Dis,

"...In our own little ways and measures we are all corrupt and corruptible."

Is it UNpossible that the Power that be, while corrupt and corruptible, decided that they would right the ship for all of us?

Just wondering.


juangrande's picture

I think what he means is you are, in a subtle way, responsible for TPTB's existence.

Sean7k's picture

An unfortunate piece of negativity and failure. CD, you are better than this.

slewie the pi-rat's picture

i knew bono was versatile but this is ridiculous!

knukles's picture

Dontcha just love the irony of that Yeves St Laurent or whoeverthefuckitis's ad with him and his wifeie supposedly standing in the middle of the Great African Veldt with their designer bags, designer watches, a small private plane.... just so ever unthinking of the subliminal implications of the expansive carbon footprint....
OK for them, bad for the rest.
Do as I say.


slewie the pi-rat's picture

bono is unbelievable

not only do the nannies accept him, they approve of him

just un-fuking-believable

juangrande's picture

Knukles, you mean like they felt "entitled"?

Dr. Sandi's picture

OK, so where's the part of the story about COMPASSION?

Plenty of crap about opportunism here.

Is it the editor who wrote the headline or the author who doesn't know what COMPASSION means?

I don't see "free ride" or "exploitation" mentioned in these various definiations of COMPASSION.


lightning's picture

I am guessing that he is referring to the type of compassion often spoken about in liberal circles to justify their policies.  Agree that he could have been clearer.