Re: Compassion vs. benevolence

Chris R. Tame (
Tue, 16 Sep 1997 23:32:46 +0100

In message <>, Max
More <> writes
>I mentioned in an earlier post Nietzsche's suggestion that generosity can
>come from not pity but from an overflowing of power and well-being.
>Similarly, I suspect that psychological healthy people, having removed
>their own suffering, will often be inclined to exercise some of their
>talents on those who still suffer (at least where they can do this with
>some chance of success). They may do this partly for the directly
>self-interested reasons you mention, or simply because it's a rewarding and
>challenging exercise of their talents.
>Max More, Ph.D.
>President, Extropy Institute:,

A penetrating observation, Max, and one that coincides with my

I would also add the following: Although this is only based on my own
subjective experience (and not on anything approximating controlled or
rigorous empirical study, even if it was possible in this sort of area -
of which I a far from sure) it has struck me that most of the
"compassion mongers", the lefties who are forever regaling us with
accounts of their own virtues and the malevolence of their opponents,
seem to be almost universally obnoxious, and venemously unpleasant in
their own personal behaviour. Their lives alos often seem to be
disfunctional and chaotic (even when they are superficially successsful
in careers) and characterised by ressentiment and what Reich so
penetratingly called the "emotional plague".

Although I've come across some pretty obnoxious advocates of freedom as
well I've never observed the same general extent of personal
viciousness. Moreover, the sort of unpleasantness I'm talking about is
not confined merely to political statists of "left" or "right", but is
manifest by control freaks of all sorts - health fascists, feminazis,
religionists etc. Advocates of liberty rarely seem to make such a
brouhaha over their own meritoriousness. It's almost as if the statists
are really aware, in a subconscious way, of the real nature of their
characters and impulses - their anti-life and malevolent nature - and
are compensating by their incessant moralising. It reminds me of that
saying (Oscar Wilde?) that (from memory) when someone starts professing
their honesty that is the time to check your silver.

It is unfortunate that so many libertarians are fixated on economics and
political philsophy. The need for a radically libertarian psychology and
social psychology - and its application in methods of social change - is
urgent. (Andre Spies/Fredrick Mann made an interesting start in some of
his writings of the 1970s).

Chris R. Tame, Director                 
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