October 4th, 2008

Guilty!

I finished Allan Levite's gripping book of political theory, Guilt, Blame, and Politics.  I had my quibbles, but the book is a really impressive study of the roots of modern liberal collective guilt, of the sort which says all Americans are guilty for starvation in Cambodia, etc.

Right at the end, he offers what he sees as a new solution: convince the individual who tells you these things that HE or SHE is NOT guilty.  Teach them to see that they have personally done nothing to harm Cambodians, and that it is time to shrug that burden of blame off their shoulders.  Once rid of the toxic shame, they will see politics anew, stop pursuing self-sacrifice, and stop looking for a leader to restrict their choices to the straight and narrow way.

I actually think there's something to this.  But I don't imagine the task is easy.

Often it's difficult to convince
people of their own innocence.