Tyranny of Guilt

From Snaphanen, an article from Daniel Pipes. I really liked this formulation.

The brutal French conquest of Algeria, the uniquely evil German genocide against the Jews, and the legacy of extreme nationalism cause many Europeans, in the analysis of Pascal Bruckner, a French intellectual, to see themselves as “the sick man of the planet,” responsible for every global problem from poverty to environmental rapacity; “the white man has sown grief and ruin wherever he has gone.” Affluence implies robbery, light skin manifests sinfulness.

Bruckner labels this the “tyranny of guilt” and I encountered some colorful expressions during my recent travels of such self-hatred. A French Catholic priest expressed remorse over the record of the Church. A conservative German intellectual preferred Syrians and Iraqis to his fellow Germans. A Swedish tour guide put down fellow Swedes and hoped he would not be perceived as one.

Indeed, many Europeans feel their guilt makes them superior; the more they dislike themselves, the more they preen – inspiring a strange mix of self-loathing and moral superiority that, among other consequence, leaves them reluctant to commit the time and money required to bear children. “Europe is losing faith in itself, and birth rates have collapsed,” notes Irish scientist William Reville.

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