Thursday, June 25, 2009

Niceness and Goodness

At the New Yorker's Book Club, Jon Lee Anderson, discussing various charming dictators he's interviewed over the years, makes an interesting point about the difference between niceness and goodness:

It seems to me that niceness is a social tool, while goodness is a matter of conscience. Neither are innate, but are taught—ideally, early in life. The two are not necessarily related, however; i.e., you can be good without being nice, and vice-versa.

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