All sentimentality is like this – it redirects emotion from the object to the subject, so as to create a fantasy of emotion without the real cost of feeling it. The kitsch object encourages you to think, “Look at me feeling this – how nice I am and how lovable.” That is why Oscar Wilde, referring to one of Dickens’s most sickly death-scenes, said that “a man must have a heart of stone not to laugh at the death of Little Nell”.
Câteodată ma întreb de ce Liiceanu, Pleșu, Patapievici și Tismăneanu tot scriu despre comunism. Ei știu mai bine, dar cred că are ceva de-a face cu ce scria Roger Scruton despre responsabilitatea scriitorilor conservatori în lumea de astăzi:
So what should conservatives be doing? (…) Our work, it seems to me, consists in what Plato called anamnesis – the defeat of forgetting. We cannot ask young people to live as we lived or to value what we valued. But we can encourage them to see the point of how we lived, and to recognize that freedom without responsibility is, in the end, an empty asset. We can tell them stories of the old virtues, and enlarge their sympathies toward a world in which suffering and sacrifice were not the purely negative things that they are represented to be by the consumer culture but an immovable part of any lasting happiness. Our task, in other words, is now less political than cultural – an education of the sympathies, which requires from us virtues (such as imagination, creativity, and a respect for high culture) that have a diminishing place in the world of politics.