For the most part, I am tolerant of other people's politics. I have not always been, but as Lady_Day puts it "I was younger, angrier and ten times dumber." I am perfectly happy to accept that there may be more than one solution to a problem and that my own brand of liberal socialism is not everybody's cup of tea. There is however one political class with whom I have no truck. They are easily identifiable by their usually vocal opinion of people like me:
Oh my god you've caught me. Yes, red handed. I have, nefariously and with malice aforethought hijacked our once great nation for my liberal, PC, namby-pamby, wishy-washy, bleeding-heart, pinko-fascist agenda of Doing Good. With people like me around, no wonder this country is going to the dogs.
It is not that I do not respect their views. There are sensible arguments in favour of capital and corporal punishment, life meaning life, making eight year olds responsible for their crimes, halting immigration, making exams harder, privatising the health service, abstinence only sex education, zero-tolerance policies on drugs, fewer laws regarding so-called political correctness, reducing human rights laws, and the like. Admittedly, I do not agree with any of those policies but that is beside the point; we can have an intelligent discussion about them and either come to a conclusion or agree to disagree. What I do not respect are the motives the members of this political class have for supporting the above and policies like them. Their motives are revealed by the phrase they use to damn their opposition.
They are not going to "do good," they are not going to be sucked into this liberal agenda born of (if I may steal a phrase from Fry and Laurie) "trendy young people in the sixties." They are in fact proud of their ability to put aside their conscience, their empathy and sensitivity. Instead of looking at the issues, carefully considering one option against another, weighing up the pros and cons, these irate, bilious and angry people simply take the entire range of all possible solutions and pick the one that will, undoubtedly, ensure that someone's life is made miserable.
I may of course be being slightly unfair. For the most part, when I or people like me are labelled as do-gooders, we are not engaged in a constructive debate. Under such circumstances, it is understandable if I have been mistaken for the do-gooder-shouter's true nemesis, the person who, instead of looking at the issues, weighing them up and so on, always opts for the path that will not certainly cause anyone any misery. However, these do-gooders are, in my humble opinion, still to be preferred over those who rail against them. The reason is that despite their simplistic, formulaic approach, these people intend to do no harm to anyone; they would be happiest if no-one was miserable at all. The road to hell may be paved with good intentions, but surely good intentions are better than the alternative.
This brings me to my final point. Doing good is not a negative thing, it is of its nature better than evil or indeed neutrality. Refusing to be a do-gooder is not something to be proud of, nor is the ability to cast aside mercy, forgiveness and sympathy. Perhaps some would say the same about casting aside motives such as revenge and selfishness, and perhaps they are right too. That isn't the point. The point is that that the desire for everyone to be happy is not a bad thing, and its pursuit is in fact accurately, and not derogatively, described as doing good.