In Kindness #1, I argue that telling people just to “Be kind” is both inadequate and potentially dangerous and suggest that one should be wary of the motives of the person doing the telling. That person is worth considering more closely.
“Be kind”: What do they mean?
A Covid message – or a message on any strained occasion – about kindness should really be “Be kind when kindness is called for. In the present situation of upheaval and uncertainty, kindness may be called for more often than usual or may be more difficult to practise than usual, so please do kindness readily”.
It could be said in defence of the kindness advocates that this is all they mean by “Be kind” – that they are just being succinct instead of long-winded (like me).
Kindness advocates as role models
“Be kind”: do they mean it?
This claim on their behalf might be believable if the ethos they practise themselves included the range of loving qualities that are necessary for life, and not just kindness. But it doesn’t: their own moral itinerary is very limited.
I don’t just mean their broadcast itinerary (kindness, empathy, inclusiveness etc), I’m also talking about their behaviour. Our woke role models routinely behave in a way that is the very opposite of loving.
Love is “not boastful or conceited” (see the quoted passage in Kindness #1): The popular pastime of virtue signalling is pure bragging and moral posturing – a new self-righteousness. The opposite of love, and therefore morally wrong.
Love “does not take offence or store up grievances”: We see the woke taking offence so readily, and even eagerly, that they often exaggerate or even manufacture the offence (untruthful) or presumptuously take offence on behalf of others (untruthful and boastful). And some encourage others to take offence – and to maintain that state of offence – instead of helping them recover from their hurt. Again, the opposite of love.
Love “does not rejoice in wrongdoing”: For example, we see the woke simplistically and unfairly labelling people according to woke’s priority characteristics – and judging and punishing on this discriminatory basis. This is wrong, not love.
Love finds “joy in the truth”: Integrity is nowhere to be seen in the new moral order: it is not even mentioned. Instead, we see untruth, selective truth, bias, blatant inconsistency (eg “Believe the science” for some issues, “Ignore the science” for others), conjuring new definitions of familiar words and then relying on the moral force of the old familiar meaning, silencing of those who wish to speak truth and falsely accusing those people of hatred. This is all dishonest. It is more wrongdoing, the opposite of love.
As it turns out, woke behaviour even lacks the qualities of nurture, especially kindness. Examples:
- the degree of control and muzzling that we see and experience (unkind);
- the treatment of people who hold “wrong opinions” (unkind);
- the selective focus of nurture on certain victim groups, and the pointed ignoring of others (unkind to the latter);
- encouraging victims to maintain a victim mindset – a perverted nurture that further harms the victims;
- the use of sympathy and blame to divide society, setting groups against each other (unkind to everyone!).
When nurture is called for, its absence or perversion is a failure to love, and is morally wrong.
Another aspect of nurture – patience – also seems to be missing from the woke moral itinerary. It is clear that the moral and cultural revolution is in a headlong rush, quite willing to ride roughshod over any idea, opinion, person or group that gets in its way.
No, they don’t
All this is the opposite of love, and much of it is even the opposite of kindness. Indeed, it is seriously, obviously and consistently the opposite of love.
So, what is to be said about the kindness advocates’ incessant urging to “Be kind”?
They don’t mean it (I don’t know how else to interpret their behaviour). What does this tell us about them?
I should be clearer about who I mean by “they” and “them”. I don’t mean everyone who urges kindness, because kindness is often exactly what is required. I don’t even mean everyone who says kindness is all we need because they’ve been trained to believe it and say it. I mean those who trained them and who lead them from behind – the generals, not the cannon fodder.
Kindness (and nurture generally) is not enough; and, on its own, it’s dangerous. And the conspicuous and abject failure of its advocates to practise kindness (along with other essential elements of love) reveals their deep insincerity, and should make us very suspicious about their actual agenda.
We’re being conned, and we should think about why that might be.