[Intellectual appeasement] is an attempt to apologize for his intellectual
concerns and to escape from the loneliness of a thinker by professing that his
thinking is dedicated to some social-altruistic goal. It is an attempt that
amounts to the wordless equivalent of the plea: “I’m not an outsider! I’m your
friend! Please forgive me for using my mind—I’m using it only in order to
Whatever remnants of personal value he may preserve after a deal of that kind,
self-esteem is not one of them.
Such decisions are seldom, if ever, made consciously. They are made gradually,
by subconscious emotional motivation and semi-conscious rationalization.
Altruism offers an arsenal of such rationalizations: if an unformed adolescent
can tell himself that his cowardice is humanitarian love, that his subservience
is unselfishness, that his moral treason is spiritual nobility, he is hooked.