How to be Good

Persecution fantasies are a strange thing. Why should we find it so comforting to imagine being treated badly? (or is that just me?) Here’s my theory:

Our societies are largely post-religious, but our ethical systems are still simplistic. They probably have to be, if they are to be robust and usable.  Our lives are busy. Moral judgements are improvised as situations occur. 

Perhaps, in these summary codes, the working definition of “Bad People” is “those who do harm.” Logically, good people would be their binary opposites: the victims of that harm, rather than just those who do good. It’s not always easy finding ways to do good effectively, and it can be hard work, so being persecuted has become short-hand for being virtuous. 

Minority groups, especially people of colour, don’t have to resort to fantasy to establish themselves on the moral high ground. They have experienced real racism and discrimination. 

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