An English In Kentucky


















Sunday May 18th 2014  Tim Candler


    The word Misanthrope, is defined as a person who either 'hates' or 'mistrusts' other people.  And I think you'd agree that your correspondent has what might be called 'misanthropic tendencies.'  But here, I hope you might also agree that the word 'hate' applied to your correspondents 'misanthropic tendency' might be kind of strong.  And with respect to 'mistrusts'  there is an argument which might suggest that failing to put trust in for example 'god' or 'the invisible hand of capital' or 'the upper class' or 'edging-ism' is also a kind of misanthropy.  Sometimes in the word 'misanthrope' you'll find definitions which mention 'distrustful scorn,' which is a lovely phrase and I have no problem of thinking of myself as 'scornful.'  Worth noting too that in the definition of Misanthrope there is no suggestion that a misanthropic person takes joy from the failure of others. We might be un-patriotic, anti-social, basically obnoxious but we are not Schadenfreude. Morose delectation is not our forte.  We don't slow down to get a better look at traffic accidents.

    Diogenes was the Cynic. His view was, that whatever it was humans attempted, it would probably be wrong. Suits me well. And worth remembering that had it not been for the open-mindedness of the Cynics, when it came to something like ship building, we might never have progressed beyond shell-first construction techniques, things like blueprints would never have emerged, and all ships constructed would have been works of art, direct from the minds of master craftsmen. And of course back then it was the misanthropes who'd say things like "it's probably going to sink" when a new Viking Ship was launched.  Indeed, within our species without those of us with 'misanthropic tendencies,' there would be a great many more foolish examples of history repeating itself.  And I guess too, it's the Misanthropes who now have the task of pointing out the long, long and very ancient legacy of  flaws in the phrase, "Responsibilities of the Privileged."  And again, worth noting, minds that perceive merit in the phrase responsibilities of the privileged as a solution to social ills are themselves prone to what I might call "Misanthropic Justification." Something I am an expert in.


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