Commentary Magazine


Contentions

In Praise of Disgust

Nicholas Kristof gets neuro-political:

Psychologists have developed a “disgust scale” based on how queasy people would be in 27 situations, such as stepping barefoot on an earthworm or smelling urine in a tunnel. Conservatives systematically register more disgust than liberals.

How shall I put this?

Guilty. As. Charged.

There is no end to things that are okay with liberals but disgusting to me: human rights abuses in China, human rights abuses in Myanmar, human rights abuses in Egypt, human rights abuses in Iran, human rights abuses in Syria, the neglected population of Gaza, the malnourished population of North Korea, the imprisoned population of Cuba, an al Qaeda led Iraq, a re-Talibanized Afghanistan, and so on.

What liberals these days call realism is nothing but a studied indifference to the planet’s grotesqueries. Iran is the world leader in child hangings? Let’s call it a great culture and offer our hand in friendship? The Chinese manufacturing sphere uses an army of industrial slaves? Let’s give ‘em a wink and talk about the weather. Cuba outlaws dissent? Let’s throw some business their way. Egypt jails political bloggers? Set up a presidential address.

Kristof is onto something here.

But, then, wasn’t it Harry Reid who found the odor of common Americans wafting from the tourist area of the Capitol too much to bear?



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