'Twixt that darkness and that light...
0 comment Saturday, June 28, 2014 |
A number of blog posts ago, I linked to an article which was about the subject of resisting evil. The writer described two types of responses, the first being 'selloutism' and the second being 'retreatism.'
The first approach is the mainstream one, the one usually recommended by middle-of-the-road types. The solution is supposedly to work within the system, to try to change things from within the existing order. To the extent that the activist becomes part of the system, they often become part of the problem, co-opted or compromised. The 'retreatist' recognizes the evils of the existing order and responds by retreating. In a sense this is sometimes a healthy response, if the existing order is too hopelessly corrupted to be rectified or reformed by standard means.
I thought about this in the context of both a TV documentary I saw and a conversation I had with a fellow Christian yesterday. The documentary was about a criminal, a violent sexual predator. One of his neighbors and acquaintances, who looked like a typical middle-class respectable man, asserted that this predator was a 'good man' -- based on what? Based on the fact that the offender was a father who attended birthday parties for his (the interviewee's) children. Then he displayed a picture of the sex predator smiling, and radiating friendliness.
I suppose to the unwary, this is all it takes to be deemed one of the good guys. Smile, present a friendly face, and do nothing overt to alarm your neighbors. Voil� ; you are then a ''good man'', even if you abduct and molest somebody's children, and shoot it out with the police.
he conversation with my friend had to do with the inauguration. Now, keep in mind this friend did not vote for the Usurper, and in fact has been rather negative about him, although in an ambivalent fashion. But she said, her college-age child had told her that the inaugural speech contained some wonderful things, and that perhaps he would do some very good things after all, and be a good president.
Again, here is an example of children 'leading' parents, and of children infecting their parents with their leftist ideas.
But the larger question to me is: how is it that so many people in our age are so unable to discern not only where ideas and doctrines are concerned, but where people are concerned? Why are so many among us so quick to assume that a smiling face and soothing words mean 'goodness' and trustworthiness? Have we mostly lost the ability to distinguish between good and bad, or to recognize evil when it presents itself?
I would posit that there is another, distressingly common response to evil, that being to fail to recognize or acknowledge it. In fact I think that this is the most common response these days. I don't know if it involves a response of denial when warning signs appear, or if it is outright moral blindness. I rather suspect it might be the former.
Political correctness, along with the 'therapeutic', pop-psychology ideology of today, insists that we refrain from ''judging'' anybody or anything, especially if that person is of a protected group. Therefore warning flags may go up, but the conditioned response is to censor our own judgments, lest we be 'racist' if the person is of a 'victim' group, or plain old ''judgmental'' otherwise. Both these things are considered deadly sins in our Oprahized society.
But if this phenomenon is just moral obtuseness or ethical agnosticism on the part of most people, then it is baffling because it is contrary to common sense. Most of us should, as good parents, teach our children at a young age that you cannot trust that someone is 'good' and trustworthy just because that person is friendly or attractive or glib or personable or 'nice.' Or well-dressed. Most of us know that ourselves, and if we don't know it, we are in danger in this rather corrupt world of ours.
We have old sayings like ''don't judge a book by its cover', but strangely, most people interpret that only in the negative sense. They lean over backwards to give the benefit of the doubt to people of questionable appearance. Doing so is a huge gamble, but one which many 'nice' people are willing to take so as not to appear 'prejudiced' or 'biased' or 'judgmental.' Most people would not interpret that saying about a book and its cover in connection with pleasant-appearing people; we too often judge them favorably even when they give evidence of not being good or honest.
This blanket ban on 'judgmentalism' seems to apply only to negative judgments about people; political correctness and pop psychology encourage us to avoid judging people negatively but they do not encourage us to avoid making positive judgments based on superficial evidence. In fact, much of political correctness consists of defusing our natural instincts to be wary of certain people, such as outsiders and strangers not of our own people, or people with criminal backgrounds, or people with bizarre appearances. In the past, such people would be subjected to a prudent kind of scrutiny, but now we are taught to go against that tendency and lean over backwards to be 'welcoming' to all such people.
The only exception to this ban on judging others (which really means condemning others) is in the case of those who transgress against political correctness -- and who are thereby 'bigots' worthy only of abuse and contempt. And under our present system, this class of 'offenders' includes mostly White Christian middle-class traditional people.
So what is the harm if many well-meaning ''nice'' people (I carefully distinguish them from ''good'' people) choose to be morally blind, to go through life like the three monkeys in the 'see-no-evil' mode? The harm is that like the neighbor who saw his sex-predator friend as a 'good man'', and like my friend who is letting her children guide her morally, a great deal of evil is given a pass, not recognized or not acknowledged for what it is. And this is solely due to our strange new philosophy of willing ourselves to think only good of people who should set off our alarm bells.
We don't want to be judgmental and moralistic, or we don't want to be 'biased' and racist, so we willfully expunge any suspicions we might naturally have and we focus on some small gesture on the surface that might, might reassure us that someone is good and worthy of our trust. We as a society have essentially 'learned' that it is wrong to be suspicious or even wary in a healthy sense of certain people. We have allowed ourselves to be convinced that certain people deserve every benefit of the doubt solely because their ancestors, or others who look like them, were discriminated against in the indefinite past.
It's become a truism accepted by many people that we are not to judge anything, not only in a spiritual sense, but in a cultural sense or a social sense. Who are we to judge if a piece of alleged 'art' is obscene or not? It's all a matter of taste, and if we don't like it, we are constrained to just look the other way. Who are we to judge the extreme clothing styles that are popular in certain quarters? It's all relative.
So essentially anything goes -- anything, of course, except violations of political correctness, which are to be harshly condemned and punished. All standards otherwise, all attempts to discern and choose and judge, are 'discriminatory' and probably racist, sexist, homophobic, classist, and mean-spirited.
As a result, we lack the discernment and the will to enforce standards, to protect our culture and our way of life, and ultimately, many people refuse to even educate their children to use good judgment in dealing with situations and people. Our national borders are wide-open and unguarded, which is an outward image of our society in every sense of the word. The fact that we refuse to guard our gates and enforce our laws is mirrored in our spiritual and social sphere as well. We don't 'guard our borders' in the sense of keeping boundaries between ourselves and outsiders. We don't care enough, many of us, to keep our identity alive and reproduce our kind.
The absence of discernment and judgment is disastrous not only to our country and our people, but to our spiritual life, as we increasingly have a Christianity that is morally slothful and negligent, concerned only with effete 'niceness' rather than an active and militant goodness that actually recognizes evil, sounds the alarm, and takes an active stand against it. In order to respond to evil at all, we have to first recognize it, even when it comes in a pleasing disguise, speaking smooth words and 'masquerading as an angel of light.''

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