PJ Media

Why do intellectuals sympathize with criminals?

Bernard Chapin at PJM a href=”http://pjmedia.com/blog/the-decay-and-fall-of-the-west/”has a terrific interview up/a with psychiatrist Dr. Theodore Dalrymple, author of a href=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1566637953?ie=UTF8tag=wwwviolentkicomlinkCode=as2camp=1789creative=9325creativeASIN=1566637953″ span style=”font-style:italic;”Not With a Bang But a Whimper: The Politics and Culture of Decline/span/aimg src=”http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=wwwviolentkicoml=as2o=1a=1566637953″ width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” / and a href=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1594032025?ie=UTF8tag=wwwviolentkicomlinkCode=as2camp=1789creative=9325creativeASIN=1594032025″ span style=”font-style:italic;”In Praise of Prejudice: The Necessity of Preconceived Ideas./span/aimg src=”http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=wwwviolentkicoml=as2o=1a=1594032025″ width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” / This part of the interview a href=”http://pjmedia.com/blog/the-decay-and-fall-of-the-west/2/”caught my eye:/a br /br /br /blockquoteBC: Why do we as a society automatically extend empathy and compassion to criminals rather than the victims of their crimes? There’s a phrase that you use in this context: “a preference for barbarism.” Why do our intellectuals rally to the cause of miscreants rather than that of good, honest citizens?br /br /Dr. Dalrymple: Intellectuals need to say things that are not immediately obvious or do not occur to the man in the street. The man in the street instinctively sympathizes with the victim of crime; therefore, to distinguish himself from the man in the street, the intellectual has to sympathize with the criminal, by turning him into a victim of forces which only he, the intellectual, has sufficient sophistication to see./blockquotebr /br /I noticed this sympathy with miscreants in Malcolm Gladwell’s book, a href=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0316017922?ie=UTF8tag=wwwviolentkicomlinkCode=as2camp=1789creative=9325creativeASIN=0316017922″ span style=”font-style:italic;”Outliers: The Story of Success/span/aimg src=”http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=wwwviolentkicoml=as2o=1a=0316017922″ width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” / in which he describes a “genius” whom he uses as an example of success. It seems that this “success” tried at one point to poison and kill his tutor over some trivial matter. This genius got probation. Rather than condemn this act, Gladwell discusses how this genius could talk his way out of anything and went on to be a success whereas Gladwell’s example of a “non-successful” genius was a guy who never committed such a heinous act, but lacked the fortitude to talk his way out of anything. Perhaps I am naive, but I think the latter guy who has a moral compass is more of a success.br /br /Update: a href=”http://tigerhawk.blogspot.com/2008/12/sympathy-for-devil.html”TigerHawk weighs in. /a