Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Benevolence Beyond Pluto

     It’s typical of the “progressive” that he readily displays callousness toward identifiable individuals while he proclaims his love for anonymous collectives. It’s why you’ll so frequently hear them defending some oppressive measure as for the good of “the nation,” “the people,” or (God help us all) “the children.” Individuals and their rights are too irritating to deal with; crowds of notional unidentified beneficiaries are much easier.

     The consequences of exporting one’s benevolent impulses so far from one’s proximate orbit “should” be “obvious.” They were to C. S. Lewis:

     Do what you will, there is going to be some benevolence, as well as some malice, in your patient's soul. The great thing is to direct the malice to his immediate neighbours whom he meets every day and to thrust his benevolence out to the remote circumference, to people he does not know. The malice thus becomes wholly real and the benevolence largely imaginary.

     [C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters]

     Benevolence reserved for amorphous masses is benevolence that need never be actually exercised. So it is with the Left and its mouthpieces, as their own behavior so often demonstrates.


     The following three items struck me powerfully this morning:

     For reproductive-rights supporters in the United States, it's long been easy to see the Republican Party's hard-line antiabortion politics as a kind of grotesque hypocrisy. How can a political body that has aligned itself against school lunches and for machine guns claim to support "life?" This juxtaposition has been particularly cruel over the past year, as revelations about the imprisonment of migrant children in concentration camps have coincided with a wave of draconian antiabortion legislation. (Just last week, a federal appeals court approved Trump administration rules cutting off federal funds from health-care providers that offer abortions or even discuss the procedure with patients, effectively slashing the budget of organizations like Planned Parenthood.) But understanding this confluence as ironic can actually mislead us. In fact, as King and his white nationalist allies have become increasingly comfortable admitting, state crackdowns on reproductive and immigrant rights are inextricably linked.

     [From the Washington Post]

     The owner of a legendary California eatery has blasted socialist presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders after he was ‘cranky’ and ‘rude’ to staff during a dinner with his campaign team on Thursday.

     Senator Sanders had been in San Francisco to attend the Democratic National Committee’s summer meeting last week when he stopped by the iconic John’s Grill on Union Square, flanked by a number of his entourage.

     But the owner of the 111-year-old restaurant, John Konstin, said he was less than impressed by the 77-year-old Democrat’s decorum, claiming that he was ‘rude’ to staff and declined to shake hands or pose for photos.

     ‘It was all very nice, except for cranky Bernie,’ Konstin told Politico. ‘He was just rude, not friendly.

     [From The Daily Mail]

     “Beto” O’Rourke had no trouble telling a man that his mother had an absolute, unchallengeable “right” to abort him on the day before his birth. He was defending the “progressive” doctrine of “women’s rights.” Women, you see, are a special subsector of Mankind with extra rights and prerogatives that we Y-chromosome bearers don’t possess.

     Marissa Brostoff, the author of the WaPo article, seeks to defend those same “women’s rights” by attacking Congressman Steve King, Dutch political figure Geert Wilders, and the rest of us who want to see the white race survive and prosper as “white supremacists.” Never mind that were she to plug any other race into that formulation, she would immediately garner enough denunciations to hound her out of public life and into a name change and plastic surgery. Abortion “rights” (a.k.a. “reproductive services” or “safe medical procedures”) must be defended a outrance!

     And then we have kindly old Bernie Sanders, the doddering uncle figure the openly socialist Left can’t seem to replace. Sanders has long been known as a rude old bastard. He jostles and shoves. He disdains the common courtesies. He has no time for commoners who work in lowly service and hospitality jobs. But “he speaks for the people!”

     The “progressives” keep turning out spokesmen of this sort. Yet those who back them are uninterested in the contrast between their rhetoric and their behavior. There’s an election to win.


     Among the bits of advice frequently offered to those still looking for mates, the following are prominent:

     “If you want a preview of how he’ll treat his wife, watch how he treats his sister.”

     And:

     “Watch how she treats waiters and retail clerks, because that’s how she’ll treat you in five years.”

     The application to political figures and their behavior could hardly be clearer. Yet an appalling number of persons are unable to see it. Still fewer will consistently apply it.

     Say what you will about the presidency of George W. Bush, he was a decent man who treated those around him with courtesy, even charity, at every encounter. The accounts of his courtesy and generosity toward those who approached him are beyond enumeration. Yet only a thin margin in Ohio spared us a John F. Kerry presidency. Had American voters given more thought to the way he treated his Secret Service entourage, he’d have been lucky to get ten electoral votes.

     Personal quality is inseparable from one’s behavior toward the persons nearest him. Concentration on politicos’ statements obscures that factor – which is exactly as the Left likes it. The Left is willing to “break eggs” in whatever number is required to make its collectivist “omelet.” How could we expect those who carry its standard to behave otherwise? How could we fail to use such persons’ day-to-day behavior to distinguish them from decent Americans?


     Allow me to conclude with a passage from a great work of fiction:

     After an idle discussion with the pest control man who came once a month to spray around the outside of his home in the Ruxton section of Baltimore, William Sterog stole a canister of Malathion, a deadly insecticide poison, from the man’s truck, and went out early one morning, following the route of the neighborhood milkman, and spooned medium-large quantities into each bottle left on the rear doorstep of seventy homes. Within six hours of Bill Sterog’s activities, two hundred men, women and children died in convulsive agony.
     Learning that an aunt who had lived in Buffalo was dying of cancer of the lymph glands, William Sterog hastily helped his mother pack three bags, and took her to Friendship Airport, where he put her on an Eastern Airlines jet with a simple but efficient time bomb....The jet exploded somewhere over Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Ninety-three people—including Bill Sterog’s mother—were killed in the explosion, and flaming wreckage added seven to the toll by cascading skydown on a public swimming pool.
     On a Sunday in November, William Sterog made his way to Babe Ruth Plaza on 33rd Street where he became one of 54,000 fans jamming Memorial Stadium to see the Baltimore Colts play the Green Bay Packers....Even as 53,999 screaming fans leaped to their feet—making his range of fire that much better—as the ball was snapped to the quarterback, holding for the defensive tackle most able to kick a successful field goal, Bill Sterog opened fire on the massed backs of the fans below him. Before the mob could bring him down, he had killed forty-four people.
     When the first Expeditionary Force to the elliptical galaxy in Sculptor descended on the second planet of a fourth magnitude star the Force had designated Flammarion Theta, they found a thirty-seven-foot-high statue of a hitherto-unknown blue-white substance—not quite stone, something like metal—in the shape of a man....None of these men, standing under a gorgeous brass moon that shared an evening sky with a descending sun quite dissimilar in color to the one that now shone wanly on an Earth unthinkably distant in time and space, had ever heard of William Sterog. And so none of them was able to say that the expression on the giant statue was the same as the one Bill Sterog had shown as he told the final appeals judge who was about to sentence him to death in the lethal-gas chamber, “I love everyone in the world. I do. So help me God, I love you, all of you!” He was shouting.

     [Harlan Ellison, “The Beast That Shouted Love at the Heart of the World”]

     Food for thought.

2 comments:

NITZAKHON said...

Devolves from the old adage "If you want to test character, see how a person treats those over whom they have power".

John C. said...

Like Stalin said: "The death of a man is a tragedy, the death of a million is a statistic."