Sadism Begets Sadism

Sadism Begets Sadism, by Theodore Dalrymple.

“There can be no greater pleasure in life,” Stalin is reputed to have said, “than to choose one’s enemy, inflict a terrible revenge on him, and go quietly to bed.” He might have added, if he really did say this, “secure in the knowledge that one has done good.”

Committing evil for goodness’ sake must surely rank as an even greater pleasure than Stalin’s: It satisfies the inner sadist and the inner moralist at the same time.

That is why beheading in the Middle East (and recently in the Philippines) is such fun for those who do it.

A link with political correctness, after a discussion of what commenters want to see done to ISIS members:

We should fear our own worst thoughts and refrain from giving them expression, for far from assuaging such thoughts, expression of them only goes to make them more frequent and more extreme. By means of such thoughts and such expressions, we become more like [them].

This is a call to decency and self-control, not to political correctness. Political correctness is the means by which we try to control others; decency is the means by which we try to control ourselves. There is no doubt which is the easier to undertake, and the more pleasurable and gratifying. There is a considerable element of sadism in political correctness.