Sentences (#14)

John Derbyshire cites (with great approval) this sentence from Oscar Wilde:

I have never come across anyone in whom the moral sense was dominant who was not heartless, cruel, vindictive, log-stupid and entirely lacking in the smallest sense of humanity.

(I’d prefer to see the same point made less moralistically.)

— as dinner party guests, certainly.

March 23, 2015admin 7 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Sentences


7 Responses to this entry

  • Sentences (#14) | Neoreactive Says:

    […] Sentences (#14) […]

    Posted on March 23rd, 2015 at 8:10 am Reply | Quote
  • vxxc2014 Says:

    Is Dominant defined as: morality will check or brake this person?

    Perhaps even guide?


    Posted on March 23rd, 2015 at 10:28 am Reply | Quote
  • Sentences (#14) | Reaction Times Says:

    […] Source: Outside In […]

    Posted on March 23rd, 2015 at 11:43 am Reply | Quote
  • Barry O'Bamaugh Says:

    Well Wilde would say that, wouldn’t he?:

    ‘Fryer also writes, as though it was not particularly controversial, of Douglas taking a boy-lover named Ali in Algeria, whom he cruelly whipped after the boy was said to have been sleeping with women. Gide informed his own mother, of all people, that even when that relationship ended, the child was not still in his teens. Ali has been written about before. But Fryer further claims, this time controversially, that Douglas told Gide he was looking forward to seducing Wilde’s nine-year-old son, Cyril, as soon as he got the opportunity. It is not suggested that Wilde raised any objection to this sort of talk; nor does Fryer himself raise any objections. Unlike most of Wilde’s friends, Douglas didn’t have to pretend to be decadent, and most readers will sigh with relief that the relationship between Wilde and Douglas ended, however terrible the circumstances, before little Cyril could face the potential consequences of the latter’s advances.’

    De Profundis suggests deep guilt about where his former attitudes had lead him. If he had lived, I could see him becoming a Catholic ala Huysmans.


    Posted on March 23rd, 2015 at 11:57 am Reply | Quote
  • E. Antony Gray (@RiverC) Says:

    vx, I think he is referring to those people for whom the primary reason they do anything is the moral one. Imagine concocting a moral reason to go to the grocery store.

    Maybe he could have said, “Anyone for whom even grocery shopping can be a moral crusade is likely no more than a criminal too frightened to get on the wrong side of the law. But at least they don’t sleep with boys.”

    Decadents don’t fail because they’re immoral, but because their souls are profoundly weak from undiscipline. The moralist fails to understand the point of rules is to discipline the soul, not that such and such a set of morals is absolute. It seems an easy error given that moral sense IS absolute; but to absolutize a given set of morals would be like to absolutize a given building code. There ought to be order (well, there WILL be order or the buildings will fail, ultimately) but it doesn’t mean that life consists in following the codes.

    Wilde strikes me as the sort who would object to moralists but would not resist being murdered by one because self-defense would strike him as too moralistic.

    (maybe I kid)


    Posted on March 23rd, 2015 at 1:14 pm Reply | Quote
  • Bedrich Says:

    It’s odd that the word ‘prig’ after never quite making it into American english has largely disappeared from British english as well, while priggishness seems to have gone beyond epidemic proportions to become the default position for a significant portion of semi-educated opinionators.
    It roughly corresponds to political correctness; I would define a prig as one who displays a canting and exhibitionistic moralism. Wilde’s dictum would seem well suited here.


    Posted on March 23rd, 2015 at 8:32 pm Reply | Quote
  • neovictorian23 Says:

    “He’s an honest politician–he stays bought.”

    ― Robert A. Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land


    Posted on March 23rd, 2015 at 9:28 pm Reply | Quote

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