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Jun 17 2013

Pathological Altruism is proud to have had among its readers Professor Barbara Oakley of Oakland University, whose recent paper (PDF) on pathological altruism shines academic light on malignant do-gooderism:

Pathological altruism can be conceived as behavior in which attempts to promote the welfare of another, or others, results instead in harm that an external observer would conclude was reasonably foreseeable. …

A working definition of a pathological altruist then might be a person who sincerely engages in what he or she intends to be altruistic acts but who (in a fashion that can be reasonably anticipated) harms the very person or group he or she is trying to help; or a person who, in the course of helping one person or group, inflicts reasonably foreseeable harm to others beyond the person or group being helped; or a person who in reasonably anticipatory way becomes a victim of his or her own altruistic actions.

James Taranto gives an obvious example:

Universities altruistically established admissions standards that discriminated in favor of minorities, a policy that proved pathological because underqualified minority students struggled to succeed and even qualified ones face the stigma of being assumed to be “affirmative action” beneficiaries.

Any clear-minded person would see that promoting the unqualified based on their race hurts everyone; but bleeding heart moonbats drunk on their own deranged righteousness are anything but clear-minded.

Another obvious example is the War on Poverty. Since 1964, $15 trillion has been stolen from American citizens and flushed away in the name of eradicating poverty. The effects have been almost entirely negative, as an objective observer would expect. Obviously, by punishing people for working and rewarding them for not working, the welfare state limits wealth creation, and poverty is the absence of wealth.

But to the moonbat, the only thing that is obvious is how good they feel about themselves after confiscating other people’s money and lavishing it upon doe-eyed urchins. Even after intergenerational welfare dependence has destroyed whole cities, the liberal continues to inflict the same undeniably pernicious policies, not out of malice but altruism.

Leftist politicians elected by well-meaning but misguided liberal voters may also be motivated by pathological altruism — or their conscious objective may be pure evil. The results are indistinguishable.

On a tip from Kevin in Auburn, WA.

16 Responses to “Pathological Altruism”

  1. Henry says:

    “Tyrants and dictators first sell themselves as saviors.”
    –Gary Amirault

    “The greatest tyrannies are always perpetrated in the name of the noblest causes.”
    –Thomas Paine

    “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”
    — C. S. Lewis

  2. MicahStone says:

    “Pathological Altruism”
    …add this to the massive mental illness of “WHITE GUILT” inflicting the lunatic-left. The ONLY rational course of action is to provide them 7/24 psychological counseling and try everything possible to reprogram them into normal human beings (or as close to that that a leftist extremist can get.)

  3. Kevin R. says:

    I don’t see it quite that way. I think that collectivists have a million and one rationalizations for power and control over others. They rationalize beforehand and dissemble after the fact that their motives are altruistic. A lot of well meaning innocent people are duped by their rationalizations.

    They are only ‘pathological altruists’ if you let collectivists self-define themselves as altruists.

  4. wingmann says:

    Nice thread!

  5. dystopia says:

    In the glorious hopetopia everyone will be poor and miserable together in the interest of equality.

  6. Leonard Jones says:

    This is an interesting concept. There are two kinds
    of altrusm; Voluntary and coercive. Conservatives
    beleive in giving voluntarily through churches and
    organizations that do a lot of good.

    Liberals believe in coercive altruism, the practice of
    reaching into other peoples pockets to “Spread the

    Thomas Sowell wrote a book called The Vision Of The
    Annointed: Self Congratulations As A Basis For Social

    Conservatives give to chairity because they believe that
    it is the right thing to do. Liberal altruism is a bit
    more complicated. First, they are motivated more by ego
    than a genuine desire to do good. Second, they are
    spending OPM (Other People’s Money.)

    Any rational human being can look at the damage caused
    by pathological altruism (The Vision Of The Annointed.)
    Good luck trying to convince a true believer in the
    face of South Central L.A., Detroit, Chicago, London,
    Stockholm, Paris etc.

    While they are patting each other on the back for all
    their “Good works,” they could give a rats ass about
    about the welfare of the individual, or individual
    rights for that matter.

    This is the politics of a termite mound. Social insects
    are slaves to the colletive. In their eyes, South
    Cental Los Angeles is their vision of a socialist

    No amount of evidence will ever change their minds!

  7. DJ says:

    Dave, as usual, extremely well said.

    That said, I wonder what the inner cities — now inhabited by blacks — would look look sans the welfare state? My guess is they’d more resemble the slums of Logos Nigeria than not. IOWs, as bad as the outcome of intergenerational dependence on the welfare-state is, it could very well be allot worse. Which brings us to the crucial question: are altruist collectivists the problem or is the natural abilities of those receiving the handouts the problem?

  8. Louie says:

    Try as I might, I can think of nothing done by this Administration that does not fall I to this category.

    They screw up everything they touch.

  9. DJ says:

    OMG! Correction. Should read: That said, I wonder what the inner cities — now inhabited by blacks — would look LIKE sans the welfare state?

  10. octa bright says:

    I believe that you might be pleasantly surprised. I remember prior to “The Great Society” that the Negroes as a group worked hard, went to church, had a father at home, and pushed to educate their kids. What killed the nuclear family was that a mother in the short run could do better on relief than with a husband and that if there was a man in the house there was no well fare.
    The mothers got younger and younger. The boys ran wild and the girls couldn’t wait to get pregnant and start their own households. The men were more and more forced to the margins with the roles of husband and father increasingly denied to them.
    More and more there was no perceived reward for success or penalty for failure. It is my personal bias that most people CAN achieve some success if given a chance and proper motivation and that the current system is a catastrophic failure.
    I think that the system demonstrates the adage “Be careful what you pray for, you just might get it.”

  11. DJ says:

    “More and more there was no perceived reward for success or penalty for failure. It is my personal bias that most people CAN achieve some success if given a chance and proper motivation and that the current system is a catastrophic failure.” –octa bright


    But they are given all the chance in the world and then some. Both the public and private sectors are bending over backwards to provide/guarantee them motivation and a HUGE chance.

    What you’ve outlined, octa bright, is the official conservative excuse/obfuscation for why the majority of blacks are in the state of being they are in; which, of course, on its face appears true. But when you do a little digging beneath the surface, what you find doesn’t square with the PC worldview we are being force fed on a continual basis.

    I’m tired of the excuse making. It’s long overdue that the truth be told. That said, I think this adage is more appropriate: “Honesty is the best policy.”

  12. DJ says:

    Middle Class Blacks V. Underclass Blacks In Suburban Michigan: “There Goes The Neigborhood!”

    By Steve Sailer on June 17, 2013

  13. Momster says:

    Kevin R. says:
    June 17, 2013 at 1:07 pm
    In my experience, libs/progs/commies tend to have been the little dweeb in grammar school who never was chosen to be on a team, who had their lunch money taken on a regular basis, and who felt powerless.

    Now “grown up” they seek to feel power by making others do what they tell them. They can make welfare recipients jump through certain hoops, live a certain way, live where they tell them to live, eat how much they let them, etc. They can also take the lunch money away from their successful former classmates to fund the housing, food, and medical care of their “pet” welfare clients.

    That is why LPCs support abortion. It is akin to sterilizing one’s pet. I mean, at this point LPCs can’t exactly have their “pets” sterilized–yet. They also can’t take their “pet’s” whole litter to the shelter to be euthanized (oops–forgot about that abortion fiend who cut the throats of newborn human babies!).

    It’s all about POWER baby, and don’t you forget it. It’s fun to tell other people what to do—but it’s GRAND to MAKE them do it.

  14. Dupree says:

    Pathological Altruism explains the actions of the useful idiot progressives, but the tyrants at the top know exactly what they are doing. They are Cultural Marxists.

  15. SR71 says:

    So if the libs are the ones who had their lunch money taken on a regular basis who was the one taking their money?

  16. Shinto says:

    SR71 Says: “So if the libs are the ones who had their lunch money taken on a regular basis who was the one taking their money?”

    A Theif…

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