19 July 2018

Would you have dinner with Hitler?

Would you have dinner with Hitler? ... How about lunch? ... How about tea?

How about, not Hitler, but some other psychopath(1)?

Image: Hare (1993)

Would you have dinner with a compulsive liar? A hypocrite? An idiot? How about a racist? How about somebody who would say about women: "And when you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. ... Grab 'em by the pussy. You can do anything."(2)

How about someone who has excelled in one field but exhibited terrible taste in another -- Pablo Picasso's misogyny, Mother Teresa's cruelty, Bill Clinton's womanizing. Would you have dinner with one of them?

Of course, there are those who believe that dialogue is always better than isolation. But where are the limits? And do you think you could have changed Hitler's mind? And if so, how?

In my life I have learned three things about people: First, people do not like to stick to facts, they like to stick to whatever it is they believe. Second, people judge and choose even if they know nothing or only parts of the story. And last, people have two standards, one which they apply to themselves, family, and friends, and another that they apply to everybody else.

So, should you have dinner with Hitler? Should you have dinner with somebody who would have dinner with Hitler? Should you have dinner with somebody who would have dinner with somebody who would have dinner with Hitler(3)?

But why am I asking? It is complicated; I will answer in my next article.

NOTES AND REFERENCES

(1) Robert D. Hare (1993), Without Conscience: p. 34
(2) https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/08/us/donald-trump-tape-transcript.html (Accessed: 19 Jul 2018)
(3) If you are rigorous about acceptable behaviour, your friends will be few.

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