Naive humanitarianism: compassion not linked to common sense

I think James Robertson expresses the gist of a problem pervasive in Euro-America when he summarizes this about the declining standards in education:
The problem seems to be an excess of compassion that is not linked to common sense. It is no favor to pass a kid through school when they continually fail basic subjects, and it continues to be no favor to them to send them to a college where they are certain to fail. Without basic standards being enforced, all this compassion yields is tragedy. Better to fail kids early, when there's a chance they'll learn something from it, than to feed a sense of entitlement.
Compassion not linked to common sense is a problem pervasive not just in education, but in all Euro-American policy. It is a problem I like to call naive humanitarianism. In schools, in social policies, in taxation, we disadvantage and discourage those with more potential, at the same time as we coddle those without. Within our countries, we encourage people to develop a sense of entitlement that is not correlated with what they produce; we encourage people to think they have rights which require other people to come up with payment, such as food and health care and help in disaster recovery and per-child kickbacks. Then we look outside our countries and we see all these people suffering hunger and illness, and we want to save them as well - not taking into account that it is these same people who brought their troubles onto themselves, and that only they can eventually, through generations, alleviate them.

We have these enormous surpluses of compassion, and these preposterous deficits of understanding for the consequences of our actions - these awful deficits of common sense.


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