It is upsetting when we have to conclude that someone is “simply a bastard.” Partly, we are upset because of the initial offense that led us to conclude that. But we are also upset because, as tolerant, educated, broad-minded, empathetic people, we want to have a better explanation. We want to be able to attribute people’s behavior to legitimate differences in philosophies, perspectives, cultures, priorities. When we cannot, we feel that we have failed, and we are angry at having been put into such a narrow-minded, thoughtlessly reactive position.

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