At the Library of Law and Liberty, Dalrymple criticizes a recent speech by Pope Francis in which the Pope blames the West for the drowning deaths of Africans migrating across the Mediterranean to Europe. The refugees deserve our compassion, says Dalrymple, but by blaming the West for their deaths, the Pope elevates sentimentality and spiritual pride above reason:
By elevating feeling over thought, by making compassion the measure of all things, the Pope was able to evade the complexities of the situation, in effect indulging in one of the characteristic vices of our time, moral exhibitionism, which is the espousal of generous sentiment without the pain of having to think of the costs to other people of the implied (but unstated) morally-appropriate policy. This imprecision allowed him to evade the vexed question as to exactly how many of the suffering of Africa, and elsewhere, Europe was supposed to admit and subsidize (and by Europe I mean, of course, the European taxpayer, who might have problems of his own). I was reminded of a discussion in my French family in which one brother-in-law complained to another of the ungenerous attitude of the French state towards immigrants from the Third World. ‘Well,’ said the other, ‘you have room enough. Why don’t you take ten Malians?’ To this there was no reply except that it was a low blow: though to me it seemed a perfectly reasonable response.