For Goodness’ Sake

In this week’s Takimag, the good doctor considers what it takes to be a good person, a world without hypocrisy, and our mediocre ruling elite. A delightful article to get the weekend off to a strong start.

But with the spread of the idea that goodness consists entirely of having the right ideas about the abstract questions of the day, presented in such few slogans that even the meanest of intelligences can grasp or memorize them, together with the seemingly obvious principle that the good should inherit the earth, the scene is set for a kind of prolonged coup d’état by the mediocre. And when it comes to the current crop of politicians in the Western world, many of them seem to have mediocrity inscribed on their faces.

5 thoughts on “For Goodness’ Sake

  1. Avital Pilpel

    The woman he was speaking to, which said you must be intelligent to be good, must have had in mind Plato’s idea that wisdom is required for goodness. But Plato would never think wisdom alone is *sufficient* for being good, still less that wisdom is what we today call intelligence, i.e., “being good in tests at school.”

    1. Verity

      When I read the second paragraph of TD’s article, I thought immediately, “I bet that was Greer!”

      And indeed I still think, “I bet that was Greer!”

      …Although in which case, “prominent intellectual” ought really to be “attention-seeking pseud”.

      Or perhaps “ageing pervert”…

      1. Dom

        I made that assumption too, but I can’t find evidence online suggesting that Theodore Dalrymple and Germaine Greer ever shared a platform apart from the Q&A episode I already linked to.
        Either there was another event featuring them both or he’s referring to a different person. I also wouldn’t rule out that he’s mistaken or misremembering.


    My favourite example of the depraved intelligent person is Doctor Doctor Otto Rasch. He had doctorates in law and political economy at a time when only a small minority of the German population went to university. Most of the human race does not need a law degree to grasp that killing innocent people is illegal. He participated in the Babi Yar massacre in 1941, where over 33,000 Jews were murdered. But at least he was smart enough to insist that the blame was spread around.

    “SS Brigadeführer Dr. Rasch distinguished himself by particular ruthlessness. He ordered the leaders also to participate personally in the shootings.[3]…….Rasch made sure that all Einsatzgruppen personnel, including the commanding officers, personally shot Jews, so that all members were culpable.”


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