Home Society & Culture Why Is It That the People Who Profess “Be Kind” Are the Worst Kind

Why Is It That the People Who Profess “Be Kind” Are the Worst Kind

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In recent years, a particular phrase has become a rallying cry for many on the left: “Be kind.” It is often used as a moral high ground, a way to signal virtue and compassion. But a growing number of people have noticed a disturbing trend. Those who loudly proclaim the importance of kindness are frequently the ones who display some of the most unkind, intolerant, and hypocritical behaviours. This phenomenon raises an important question: Why is it that the people who profess “be kind” are often the worst kind?

At the heart of this issue lies the concept of virtue signalling. Coined to describe the act of expressing moral values publicly to enhance one’s social standing, virtue signalling has become a significant part of the far-left’s identity. By promoting messages of kindness, tolerance, and inclusion, individuals can present themselves as morally superior without necessarily embodying these values in their actions. The phrase “be kind” becomes a tool for self-aggrandisement rather than a genuine call for compassion. The far left’s embrace of virtue signalling creates an environment where appearances matter more than substance. It’s easier to tweet about kindness than to engage in the difficult and often uncomfortable work of practising it. Consequently, many individuals who profess kindness fail to live up to their proclaimed ideals when faced with real-world challenges. Their hypocrisy becomes evident as they attack, cancel, and ostracise those who disagree with them, all in the name of kindness.

One of the most troubling aspects of the “be kind” movement is its inherent intolerance. While it preaches acceptance and understanding, it often demands strict adherence to a narrow set of beliefs and values. Those who deviate from this orthodoxy, even slightly, are labelled as bigots, racists, or worse. This intolerance is particularly evident in the far-left’s approach to free speech and open dialogue.

In an effort to protect marginalised groups, the far left has increasingly embraced censorship and de-platforming. Universities, once bastions of free thought and debate, now regularly disinvite speakers whose views are deemed offensive. Social media platforms, too, have become battlegrounds where dissenting voices are silenced. All of this is done under the guise of creating a kinder, more inclusive society. But in reality, it promotes a culture of fear and conformity where performative wokeness takes the place of genuine kindness and understanding.

Cancel culture is perhaps the most pernicious manifestation of the “be kind” hypocrisy. The idea that individuals should be held accountable for their actions is not inherently problematic. But cancel culture often goes far beyond accountability, seeking to destroy the personal and professional lives of those who have transgressed, sometimes for minor or historical offences. This punitive approach stands in stark contrast to the supposed values of kindness and compassion.

Those who participate in cancel culture often justify their actions by claiming they are protecting vulnerable communities. Yet, in many cases, the targets of cancellation are themselves members of these communities. The irony is glaring: the people who profess to be kind and inclusive are often the ones inflicting the most harm on others, all in the name of their cause. This behaviour reveals a troubling lack of empathy and a willingness to sacrifice individuals for the sake of maintaining ideological purity.

Understanding why those who preach kindness can be so unkind requires delving into the psychology of moral superiority. Research suggests that individuals who see themselves as morally superior are more likely to engage in self-righteous behaviour. This self-righteousness can lead to a sense of entitlement and a belief that one is justified in acting harshly towards others who are perceived as morally inferior. The performative nature of virtue signalling can create a disconnect between one’s public persona and private actions. When people place a lot of stock in their reputation as kind and compassionate, any challenge to this self-image might make them feel threatened. Consequently, they respond with hostility to anyone who questions their beliefs or actions, perceiving such challenges as personal attacks rather than opportunities for growth and understanding.

If the current “be kind” movement is fraught with hypocrisy and intolerance, what does genuine kindness look like? True kindness involves more than just words; it requires consistent actions and a willingness to engage with others, even those with whom we disagree. It means listening with an open mind, showing empathy, and striving to understand different perspectives. Genuine kindness also recognises the humanity in everyone, including those who have made mistakes or hold different beliefs.

One of the key components of genuine kindness is humility. Unlike the self-righteousness of virtue signalling, humility involves recognising our own flaws and limitations. It means acknowledging that we do not have all the answers and that we can learn from others, even those we disagree with. This humility fosters an environment where open dialogue and mutual respect can thrive, creating a more genuinely inclusive society.

The hypocrisy of those who profess “be kind” while behaving unkindly is a troubling trend that undermines the very values they claim to uphold. Virtue signalling, intolerance, and cancel culture have turned the call for kindness into a tool for social control and personal aggrandisement. To move beyond this, we must embrace genuine kindness, rooted in empathy, humility, and a commitment to understanding. Only then can we create a society where kindness is more than just a slogan but a lived reality.

Sarah Williams is a writer and social commentator based in the UK, specialising in cultural and political issues.

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