At his Hilarious Pessimist blog, Dalrymple makes arguments about social stigma that echo his thoughts on prejudice: It is underappreciated, can be either good or bad, and when it is driven from one aspect of behavior will always attach itself to something else. Mostly though, it’s just inescapable:
…a world without stigma would be a world without shame, and a world without shame would [be] a world in which standards of behaviour could not long be maintained. Of course pure Kantians might dream of a world in which everyone acted according to, and only according to, the Categorical Imperative, but such a world is not very likely to come about and would in any case be about as suited to human beings as the Antarctic, being metaphorically no warmer.
It is not always the deserving (or undeserving, depending on from which side you are judging) who become stigmatised. Social stigma is a crude collective instrument wielded by mobs whose main interest is avoiding stigma against themselves. It is a form of group bullying. It is often the weakest who become stigmatised. Dalrymple needs to think this one through again.