Thursday, October 16, 2008

Stephen Cox on Do-Gooders:

Do-gooders (or do-goods, if you prefer the old-fashioned short form, which requires you to spend less time on the varmints) have started more wars, oppressed more people, and confused more impressionable children than any outright villains or nihilists who ever lunged through the portals of history. True villains rarely last long; they are parasites that kill their hosts. Do-goods, by contrast, may do awful damage, yet still not destroy all life. Their venom may, indeed, have a stimulating effect on their victims, not unlike the effects of alcoholic beverages — euphoria, delusions, manic behavior, lachrymose displays of sympathy for all those miserable people whose chemistry has not been altered in this way. When the hallucinations wear off, the victim often discovers that he did something dreadful the night before, such as writing a check for some political cause. Sometimes there are even worse results. The victim becomes addicted to the venom and remains a do-good for the rest of his life.

Liberty, November 2008.
That editorial is not actually online.

[Should I just excise the word "actually" every time I find I've written it?]

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