Friday, July 21, 2017

Self-Censorship In The Face Of Ignorance And Viciousness

     A long time ago, having observed – and experienced – the consequences of opinion-venting without prior acquisition of relevant knowledge, I resolved never again to speak or write on a subject before familiarizing myself with it. While that’s had a certain tempering effect on me...well, on some subjects, anyway...it’s also given me many occasions for amusement at persons who allow themselves opinions about subjects on which they know little or nothing.

     Unfortunately, it’s also given me many occasions for a facepalm over the behavior of others, including persons and institutions I value.

     One of those arrived just yesterday, at Mass. If you’re unfamiliar with how Catholics conduct Mass, one segment, which is called the prayers of the faithful, involves the reading of (supposedly) worthy intentions by the lector, to which the assembled worshippers are expected to reply with a chorus of affirmation. Those intentions will often include an appeal to God for wisdom and prudence in our high officials, which is about as worthy an intention as is possible when one is speaking of power-mongers. But now and then the intentions go further...unwisely.

     Yesterday’s prayers of the faithful included an appeal for the elimination of nuclear weapons. To say I was startled by it is a grotesque understatement. Yet I could hardly rise to object in the middle of a sacred rite.

     I have no idea who decided to insert that appeal into yesterday’s prayers of the faithful. Whoever it was must be ignorant of the history of the past seventy-two years. Not only did atomic bombs bring an end to World War II in the Pacific, preserving the lives of many thousands of American soldiers, sailors, and airmen; nuclear weapons have been instrumental in restraining armed conflict between nations ever since.

     To take merely one example: before they became nuclear powers, India and Pakistan were at war. The conflict between them was essentially continuous. When India acquired nukes, armed conflicts between them essentially ceased – and not because of ahimsa.

     Brendan at the Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler notes another important case — one that did not occur:

     See…these entitled, stupid ignorant halfassed millennials never picked up a book. Never read any history.
     Don’t know that, were it not for a sudden change in tactics, Peenemunde would never have been bombed. The British scientists sneered at the idea of an atomic bomb, calling it “silly water”. They and others laughed at the concept of such a device even existing.
     Then the V1′s and V2′s visited London. Thousands died.
     The reality came home…Germany had a delivery system...all they needed was the warhead.
     One detonation.
     London.
     A village.
     A demonstration strike on an uninhabited region.
     An ultimatum.
     “We have the atomic bomb. Surrender. NOW.”
     Those of us older, wiser, hardened and educated in the vagaries of Lady Fate, are in no doubt that, had the above occurred, this planet would have screamed for centuries from the nightmare that was the Third Reich.

     Ignorance of such things is understandable and forgivable...in the young and callow. It’s completely unforgivable in persons who expect respect for their opinions – and a pastor, priest, or member of the clerisy who parades his ignorance in such a fashion risks far more than personal ridicule.


     Among our race’s misfortunes is a tendency to defer to a loud voice on the assumption that the speaker knows what he’s talking about. That’s never been a wise assumption. These days it’s chancier than ever.

     There are a lot of loud voices in the national discourse. Very few of them have any basis for their assertions. The black race-hustlers, the feminist “patriarchy”-shouters, those who rail against “white nationalism” or “cis-heteronormativity” or other twaddle seldom actually present an argument for their positions. Rather, they rely upon the intimidation possible to one willing to sling invective, backed by the understandable desire common among persons of good will not to be attacked. Sadly, that results in the shouters and demonizers being granted more air time, larger audiences, and more respect than they deserve.

     One of my self-imposed duties is to oppose such persons, their idiotic assertions, and their overall vileness. Someone must do it, after all, and who would do it better? The consequences are often unpleasant, but usually only briefly, as it becomes apparent to any third parties to the exchange that only one of us: 1) is a man of good will, and 2) knows the subject matter. It’s heartening to be approached afterward and thanked by persons whose private convictions I’ve defended...and saddening when they add “but don’t tell anyone” and slink away before anyone can identify them. But then, courage of conviction isn’t a commonplace attribute any more...largely because the loud voices have acquired allegiants willing to employ violence to ensure that no opinion contrary to the ones they approve will be expressed.


     Yesterday’s piece, which I’ve come to think was improperly titled, addressed the chief barrier to Christian charity: fear. The loudest voices are the ones that engender much of that fear, whether it’s fear of being drawn into an ugly conflict or fear of being singled out for vengeance. The “Antifa / Black Bloc” thugs that have lately striven to suppress conservative events and views are only the most visible elements of the malady.

     It’s exceedingly difficult to build good will among us when fear has become as pervasive as it has in recent months. The quest for a remedy has become urgent. The well-being of the nation – indeed, of the entire world – depends on finding one. That the loud voices spout arrant, easily disproved nonsense should be part of the solution...but then, they probably know it already, so merely disabusing them of their “illusions” won’t help.

     With that, I yield the floor to my Gentle Readers. Put your thinking caps on, folks. I can’t do it alone, and the hour is getting late.

1 comment:

Chris Baird said...

I've found that always staying on thinly-veiled offence is the best way to provoke thought. Slipping in pejoratives like "control freaks" or "emperial stormtroopers" when speaking of bureaucrats or badged enforcers catches people off guard enough to realize the nugget of truth. When the stormtrooper label is resisted, and I'm happy to remind them that nobody watches Star Wars to cheer for the stormtroopers, to which I've had no response but stunned silence and realization of a trap. If they continue to defend the state's costumed abusers, they're easy prey.

I've found too that always staying light hearted and indifferent to the emotional response of others not only fans the emotional flames, but as you say, delineates the men of good will from those bent on being or supporting government control freaks.