In Praise of Prejudice: The Necessity of Preconceived Ideas
Prejudice, wrote Edmund Burke, renders a man's virtue his habit. How strange that sounds to modern ears! In recent times, the word prejudice has come to seem synonymous with bigotry. Racial prejudice is taken to be typical of prejudice in general, and therefore the only way in which a person can establish his freedom from bigotry is by claiming to have wiped his mind free from prejudice altogether.In this wise and sprightly book, Theodore Dalrymple shows that this is impossible. It is impossible because no one can keep his mind as a blank slate on all questions until those questions are examined one by one. He also shows that the attempt to free oneself entirely from prejudice has several bad consequences, both for the person who makes the claim and for society as a whole.
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