It has occurred to me that, among other snags in our cultural fabric, “compassion” has hooked American society—defined according to my dictionary: “Deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the wish to relieve it.” Now, more than individual human sympathy, it’s become an actively organized and politicized industry, extending to animals (and in some distorted minds, even to plants).
No longer do people “suffer in silence.” They proclaim all their personal afflictions and those of others through the social media—advocates of the distressed loudly and publicly demand concern. Activists tell us to “get involved.” Coalitions and associations of causes organize to “make a difference.” All manner of offended and disadvantaged carry their crosses to the media and courts.
Worse, our legislators entangle us in laws, regulations and rulings that require everyone to bear the burdens expected to relieve a growing parade of sympathies—some clearly ridiculous.
I’m reminded of the unreasonably outrageous extent to which relief of perceived suffering can be taken by a recent news story from Holden Beach. (link) Officials will release feral cats on the island, previously free of these pests. (Chad Adams has commented at this site.)
Normal people understand that the proliferation of untamed cats results in public nuisance: possible spread of rabies, destruction of native wildlife and fights with domestic pets. Allowing savage animals to roam free is irresponsible behavior; but it’s now perversely authorized in the name of “compassion.”
God help us. Elected officials often add to a growing list of insufferable compassions that we must endure.
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