The “Compassionate” Con

Why do the Tories have to insist, so profusely, that they are “compassionate”? They’ve recently started slipping it in and tacking it on again, at every opportunity. It’s as though they suddenly think we might need reminding. Or they are doing that positive affirmation thing in order to convince themselves. As though conservatism and compassion were not natural bedfellows…

OED: “Compassionate: Sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or        misfortunes of others.Middle English: via Old French from ecclesiastical Latin compassio(n-), from compati ‘suffer with’.

Passion from Old English:
The word passion comes via Old French from Latin pati ‘to suffer’. The Passion refers to the suffering of Jesus Christ. The sexual sense dates from the late 16th century. Passionate in late Middle English included the senses ‘easily moved to passion’ and ‘enraged’. Passive (Late Middle English) comes from the same root, from the sense of ‘being acted upon’, and compassion (Middle English) is literally ‘suffering with’ someone, while compatible (Late Middle English) comes from the Latin for ‘fit to suffer with’.”

Fancy a political ‘One Nation‘ party actually having to qualify ‘Conservative’ with ‘Compassionate’ just to reassure and soften its image! How ridiculous is that! And how sad. They’ll be telling us it’s a ‘British value‘ next.

And how insultingly patronising is the term “Compassionate Conservatism”? What is it saying? “Oh, we feel really sorry for you”? – “There, there, Daddy will take of you”? – “We feel your pain and anger and we understand”? – “We suffer with you”? – “We’re all in it together”?

By the way: “The root of suffer, is Latin sufferre, from sub- ‘from below, under’ and ferre ‘to bear’. As well as ‘to undergo or endure’, it can mean ‘to tolerate’, and this is the sense you are using when you say that someone does not suffer fools gladly. The expression is biblical, from the second Epistle to the Corinthians: ‘For ye suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise.’” – OED

“We suffer you” – that’s the one, isn’t it? They believe We, the People, are the fools that they, being better than us, can afford to – are fit to – accommodate. We are tolerated. Just about.

Of course, there are individual Conservatives who demonstrate sincere compassion; empathy, even but, as a collective; as a political party, they certainly do not. The Cons aren’t compassionate towards us beyond the expedient lip service of self-preservation. And, as for suffering with us: well, that’s almost funny.

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One thought on “The “Compassionate” Con

  1. Pingback: “Envy”? That’s just nasty. | juxtaposed

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