Cruelty, the root of cruelty, says the poet, is willful blindness to the vulnerability and complexity of the human beings around you. It’s the decision to shrug off the moral imperative to be careful what you do and say with vulnerable and complex people:Two roads diverged in the wood.
One way leads bourgeois convention.
The other way leads political correctness, in which exaggerated carefulness is for the virtue-signallers and vulnerability is for the oppressed only, and normal people are less worthy, because of privilege or whatever, of respect.
Sometimes, as with T. S. Eliot, you just have to mock the virtue-signallers.
Why do we have the conventions?
We know intimately, deeply, historically, how it feels to be the object of someone else’s cruelty. That feeling never goes away.Deconstruct that at your peril.
(We have all inflicted cruelty too, and, if we are decent people, our recognition of our capacity to be cruel in the way of Donald Trump provokes things like shame, apology, and reflection on why we behaved that way.)