|sanc·ti·mo·ny (noun) – feigned piety or righteousness; hypocritical devoutness or high-mindedness.|
Sanctimony is a disease. A dangerous one.
And the Left is being seriously damaged by it.
Sanctimony in the form of expressing faux outrage is a displacement activity for real thought and opinion – and it’s dangerous because it deflects and distracts attention away from the real problems and suffering in society caused by really dangerous people.
As a blogger and political writer, sanctimony is something I’ve experienced first-hand relatively often – usually from the Left – for example after I wrote a satirical blogpost attacking Katie Hopkins for publicly attacking a 10-year-old disabled girl:
The faux outrage whipped up from some of my fellow Lefties for comparing Katie Hopkins to a bitch is – in my opinion – trivial sanctimoniousness at its worse.
I publicly attacked KH for attacking a disabled child. That was the context and the aim and the meaning of the blogpost. I tried to do it in an intelligent, entertaining, readable way. In the offending blogpost, I don’t just lazily call KH a bitch. I was writing as if she actually was a female dog. Literally.
But now I’m in danger of trying to explain satire. Which is pointless because in my experience, if you have to explain satire to someone, they will never understand it.
Understanding something like satire needs perception, deliberation, intelligence and openness of thought all of which are impossible if someone is in the grip of a severe attack of sanctimony.
Lazy sanctimony is dangerous because it trivialises inequality, suffering and hardship and makes thousands of people who would normally be sympathetic to arguments from the Left, switch off altogether and shake their heads at the triviality of the discussion.
Sanctimony is a serious threat to openness of thought, freedom of speech, open discussion and civil engagement.
I regard myself as a left-wing libertarian. On the Political Compass test – you can take it here – I am wedged right in the bottom left-hand corner.
The libertarian part of that equation is as important to me as the left-wing part. Not more important – as important.
And that means I believe that freedom of expression and openness of thought are essential to a civilised, fair and equal society.
Much to my bewilderment, the Left – from Communist Russia to New Labour – have had a reprehensible record of supporting freedom of speech and opinion.
In fact, I despair of the Left sometimes.
So if you are easily offended by words, or openness of expression or controversial ideas, or aren’t quite bright enough to understand the real meaning of satire – do me a favour will you?
Don’t read this blog.
Please feel free to comment.