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It’s increasingly recognised that emotional intelligence, instead of being an innate human characteristic, represents, to a large extent, learned behaviour. It can be taught. Perhaps growing up and living in a environment that tolerates intolerance, blames and shames, and promotes hostility, encourages the development of a ‘James Moriaty’ of emotional intelligence rather than a ‘Sherlock Holmes’. Might individuals learning in this way see it as less wrong to exclude ‘migrants’, less wrong to deny heathcare to vulnerable people, and less wrong to dehumanise the unworthy. We need to recognise that promoting intolerance, unkindness and cruelty teaches intolerance, unkindness and cruelty.
No competing interests
29 January 2019
Mark Davies, consultant in anaesthesia & perioperative medicine
Royal Liverpool & Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust