Thursday, November 3, 2011

Sentimental Humanitarianism

Is not man the first thing to be considered? it will be asked.  Is he not to be given preference over abstract rights, privileges, and so forth?  What this question fails to see is that man's egotism renders impossible that kind of organization which would allow him to prosper to a degree.  When he puts himself first in this sense, the victory is Pyrrhic.  The only way to give him anything that will last is to place him in a structure where opportunity and ability may meet.  This cannot be done by considering egotistic demands first; such shortsightedness destroys the supporting structure.  Thus sentimental humanitarianism, ignorant of fundamental realities but ever attentive to desires, wrecks society.
Source: Richard Weaver, Ideas Have Consequences 1948

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