Condemnation by Category

Condemnation by category is the lowest form of hatred, for it is cold-hearted and abstract, lacking even the courage of a personal hatred.  Categorical condemnation is the hatred of the mob. It makes cowards brave. And there is nothing more fearful than a religious mob, a mob overflowing with righteousness – as at the crucifixion and before and since. This can happen only after we have made a categorical refusal to kindness: to heretics, foreigners, enemies or any other group different from ourselves.

Wendell Berry

Love Wins

6 comments on “Condemnation by Category

  1. shoreacres says:

    Yes – and “religious” need not imply Christian, Jew, or Muslim. There are zealots abroad in the land these days, certain of their own righteousness and possessed by a fervor ranging from distressing to terrifying, who never would accept that they’re as driven by faith as any of the traditionally religious.

    One of the best examples of condemnation by category I’ve seen recently was “The New Yorker” article about the South. By the time I finished reading that one, I had an inexplicable hankering to whistle up my hound and go tree a coon, then sit back on the porch with some ‘shine and think uncharitable thoughts about “New Yorker” writers. 😉


  2. C.C. says:

    Thanks for sharing this resounding clarity!


  3. Bob Braxton says:

    Regarding The South – W. J. Cash “The Mind of the South” – regarding condemnation by category, a devastating one is what Alice Miller (writer) in her ten or so books calls “toxic child-rearing” out of the 1800’s and doubtlessly influenced my great-grandparents (1854 – 1920 and 1862 – 1912 ) and through them my paternal Grandfather (1887 – 1979 ) and my own father ( 1916 – 1988 ). Through “toxic child-rearing” I have suffered much. Now we have one offspring (I was firstborn of eight children) born 1971 and two grands: male born 2007 and female born 2011. I do not think as regards children of this world that condemnation by category has made such a lot of progress. Others?


    • Bill says:

      Sadly condemnation by category is far too common in the world, although I’m hopeful that it’s becoming more uncommon as time passes.

      I was unfamiliar with Alice Miller. Very sad to contemplate the kind of things she was addressing. May the day fast arrive when that sort of thing is only a sad relic of the past. Blessings to you and congrats on the grands.

      It’s been a long time since I read Mind of the South. It is a classic.


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