Polarity is unimportant. 1000V will do you harm whether it’s positive, negative, or alternating.
[D]espising oneself may also be a paradoxical form of pride: When some people in the West acknowledge Europe’s barbarism but deny it to other continents, which are always exonerated of their errors, they evince a paternalism of penitence. By seeing themselves as the kings of infamy, they still remain at the pinnacle of history.
Unfortunately Geras misses the point:
I’m not convinced that the dominant motivation influencing those Westerners he’s talking about is guilt.
Well, of course it isn’t, Norm. It’s pride.
Jingoism is an extreme and ultimately ignorant form of patriotism. We’re the best there is, by jingo! The sort of self-flagellation indulged in by the intelligentsia, in which their own society must be blamed for every ill of the world while other societies are indulged in vile or questionable behavior, is a form of jingoism in the negative. By asserting that their own society is good enough not to do that — whether “that” is torture, oppression of women and/or homosexuals, mass murder, or something else — and other, lesser societies must be excused for doing less well, they declare that they’re the best there is, by jingo, and all others are inferior.
It is ultimately as ignorant as anything the dirty peasants of flyover country might indulge in. Ignorant self-satisfaction is ignorant self-satisfaction, whether expressed in positive or negative terms.