Saturday, October 17, 2015

Faults And Shortcomings

     This might not be the best idea I’ve had lately, but I’m going to do it anyway.

     The World Wide Web is a wild’n’woolly place. Many who’ve ventured onto it have taken offense at material we’ve found there. And of course, those of us who write for Weblication swiftly become aware that there are persons roaming the Web who could take offense at an observation about the wetness of water. To be maximally gentle about it, not all such persons are bashful about letting you know that you’ve offended them.

     (“Weblication” is cute, isn’t it? It’s not mine, though; the credit belongs to Will David Mitchell, an uncommonly nice guy who once ran a free promotional site for aspiring fiction writers called World Wide Weblications. Wherever you are, WDM, I hope you’re well and happy.)

     With only one definite exception, everyone who’s ever treaded the dust of this world has had some fault. People are like that: creatures of sporadically flawed reason and intermittently sound judgment, whose characters are “works in progress” until the day we die. That most certainly includes me.

     Once the survival and security necessities have been addressed, the central challenge of a human life becomes the quest for personal improvement. Many persons concentrate on improving their deployable powers and skills, often with an eye to some kind of extrinsic gain (e.g., more money, more prestige, greater attractiveness to the opposite sex, increased popularity and social acceptance). Though it’s not possible for any mortal to know how many focus on characterological improvement, I’d venture to guess that they’re fewer than the previous group. We tend to believe our own characters are just dandy even when that’s far from the truth.

     Yet no man but the Redeemer has ever been entirely without fault. Catholics are reminded of this in the Lord’s Prayer when we ask God to “forgive us our trespasses,” and in the celebration of the Mass when we ask that “Lord, have mercy.” (Time was, we did it in Greek: Κύριε, ἐλέησον Maybe that was to soften the impact.) It’s a truth that stands at the heart of Christianity, and is the foundation for Christ’s exhortation that we “judge not:”

     Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye. [Matthew 7:1-5]

     Beyond even that lies the ever-expanding domain of offense deliberately taken: the vast number of occasions on which Smith, determined to be angry at Jones, finds some tendentious way to interpret Jones’s words as malicious. This has become so frequent that it’s superseded the older conception of gentlemanly conduct: “A gentleman is one who never gives offense unintentionally.” Our ppolitical discourse, in particular, is near to being ruined by it.

     Let no Gentle Reader of Liberty’s Torch think that I exempt myself from the above observations.

     This is on my mind because of an incident I shan’t describe in detail. Suffice it to say that another blogger, one I’ve seldom read and have never cited here or elsewhere, has taken such consistent exception to me that I can’t help but wonder what I might have done to wound her. I’m a small fry among Web writers; I have a few hundred daily readers and no influence on the opinions or emissions of the bigger fish. As I can do very little for or to anyone else engaged in this avocation, for anyone to reserve his bile for me strikes me as a waste thereof. For someone I’ve essentially ignored to do so is inexplicable.

     At any rate, to that person and to anyone else who’s taken offense at something I’ve said or written, or considers my opinions insulting, or is affronted by my very existence, I commend the Gospel citation from Matthew chapter 7 above. I won’t prostrate myself without having my offense specified; I apologize only for deliberate insults of which I’ve come to repent. And yes, I’m sure that I’ve essayed some that I’ll repent at a later time, but as I’ve said, every man’s character is a work forever in progress.

     However, one should always throw a sop to Cerberus, so all comments submitted to this piece will appear as submitted and without exception. If you’ve ever wanted to insult, vilify, or condemn me to my very own eyes, this is your chance. I don’t guarantee that I’ll ever offer another.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Fran, screw them. They take offense to EVERYTHING. I am one of your daily readers and you have NOTHING to apologize for. When was the last time the left apologized for ANYTHING?

Keep up the good work and don't pull any punches.

doubletrouble said...

I think your main offense is being a Conservative, Traditional Catholic.
That does not fly well with hard libertarians.
(From my own CTC perspective.)

Reg T said...

Fran,

I only hope this isn't in response to my personal sadness concerning a one-time apparent misunderstanding. Since that person is male and - as far as I know- has only caused you pain once, I'll hope that this post coming immediately after my note to you is mere coincidence. No one that I know or correspond with has any desire to vilify you or desires to harm you in any way.

Anonymous said...

Francis, as is so typical of progressive/leftist mentality, hatred and bile springs forth like water through a breached dam. What they fail to recognize is, as Ol' Remus eloquently stated here previously, how fed up those of us who are patriotic believer traditionalists we are.
Tired of being accused of something we're not, tired of the threat of witnessing the second amendment assaulted, tired of the immense debt that has no sign of EVER being paid.
As an example of how "intolerant" we religious folks are, I attend a non-denominational church here in Southwest Virginia. The perception would be a congregation of crackers. More than a few blacks attend. Nobody is looked down upon.
I am, by the way, a transplanted Yankee. Grew up on Long Island and raised in the Catholic church. It's been a long strange trip.
You're the proprietor of an outstanding blog.

Reg T said...

Anon@9:47,

Trivia: I also grew up on Long Island and was raised as a Catholic, the standard religion of French-Canadian stock. That allows me to assume a slight commonality with Fran, even though his intellect stands head and shoulders above mine. There are a couple of other points of congruence, beyond having crept along some of the same parts of the LIE (Long Island "Expressway", for unfamiliar readers), as well as having driven it bumper-to-bumper at 70+mph.

New Yorkers - years ago, at least - were among the best drivers of any state I have driven through, which includes every one except Alaska.



Dystopic said...

I appear to have elicited the attentions of a devoted hater as well. Personally, I consider it a badge of honor. I think every blog gets one sooner or later.

Anonymous said...

Hi Reg. Amazingly small world. Grew up in Valley Stream in a great neighborhood. All the kids were close to the same age, and I don't think we could have had a much better childhood.

Like you, Francis's intellect is far superior to mine. I read his posts with awe.

Back to the point (sort of). All we want is to be LEFT ALONE! That'll never happen with the progressive/left in control of the culture.

Nick is "brinster," by the way.