Nietzsche: “Observe how children weep and cry, so that they will be pitied, how they wait for the moment when their condition will be noticed.”

Jonathan Haidt: “I’m very concerned about a phenomenon called ‘concept creep’ – which has been happening to a lot of psychological terms since the 1990s. When a word like ‘violence’ is allowed to creep so that it includes a lot of things that are not violence, this causes a cascade of bad effects. It’s bad for students because they now perceive an idea that they dislike, or a speaker that they dislike, as having committed a much graver offence against themselves […]. And it’s also really bad for society because, as we are seeing in a spectacular way in the United States this year, when each side can point to rampant occurrences of what they see as violence by the other side, this then justifies acts of actual physical violence on their side. And there’s no obvious end to this mutual escalation process.”

Patrick West: “At its worst, this age, in which we surrender to emotions, has spawned a new spirit of intolerance and anger. As Sigmund Freud wrote in his great book Civilisation and its Discontents (1930), repression is vital for the functioning of societies in which strangers have to live side by side. Without repression of our emotions and instincts, he wrote, we would happily murder a neighbour who has slighted us. And while we haven’t reached that stage yet, the diminution of reason and repression in favour of emotion and feelings has given us road rage, increasing sexual aggression (see increased incidents of sexual molestation on trains), and a political arena which has become vastly more vitriolic, nasty and intolerant.”


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