This comes from a question I asked this morning, and a number of conversations I had summed up thusly
Here’s a question if you are angry over comments or actions made by:
Milo, Keith Olberman, Lena Dunham, Bill O, Wendy Bell, the Memories Pizza people, the bakers in Colorado or Oregon, Mike Vick, Jeff Sessions, Robert Byrd, the DNC (Latinos being referred to as “Taco Bowls”, in case you forgot), Donald Trump, and ever other one-off “Controversy” that subjectively got everyone in a moral outrage.
List which moral outrage bothered you more. Then answer these questions: What does redemption look like to you? At what point does one decide that one incident does not represent an entire person, and that one mistake should not threaten to destroy ones career?
Addendum: Where has that anger gotten you personally?
I’m fairly certain nobody actually took time to consider what redemption looks like for the people who said something offensive that they disagreed with. Three reasons, all of these assume you read the question.
1) The question itself lays bare the fact that some people might have gotten angrier on the same crime based entirely on the perps political affiliation. This feeds into the idea that people on one side or the other are hateful/bigoted/racist/sexist or whatever to such a degree that to acknowledge the sin on their side of the aisle is not needed.
Case in point, I will bet money the people who made a moral argument against Trump never considered (and never formed) a moral argument for Clinton, and the reverse is true as well.
2) Nobody had ever considered redemption for those on the other side of the aisle. With our side it’s just “Oh, for the love of God, MOVE…ON!” but if it’s the other side, the world shall feel our wrath.
3) To put aside the moral argument means one must focus on the policy itself, something that hasn’t been done in the general political discussion for a very long time, and certainly not at great depth.
So, let me explain what redemption looks like in the political realm: It looks like taking the personal entirely out of it. For every racist you find on the right, you can find one on the left. Now let’s breakdown the issues surrounding the idea that a single tweet or Facebook post can justify the kind of lunatic outrage that ends a career and prevents, or makes it extremely difficult to refind ones footing
1) It can’t be said any longer that a good portion (I’d argue a majority) of the outraged are NOT virtue-signaling and actually care bout the issue. This is demonstrated by the relativity discussed above.
2) The people attacking do so from a position of great comfort and security, knowing they will never be important enough to have what they’re doing to others done to them.
2a) And if you ARE going to be that important one day, do you really want what you’re throwing to be thrown back at you?
3) Let he who is without sin cast the first stone
3a) One incident should not be able to destroy 5-10-20 years, hell, even a legendary 40-50 year career. The scale is insane. And for the record, two insensitive posts is not “repeated behavior”. Try 15 or 20 in a year or two.
3b) Never hold others to a standard you wouldn’t allow yourself to be held to.
Here’s the answer to the other question: “Where has that anger gotten you”: The anger has gotten you nowhere, more to the point, you need to own what your beliefs have caused. I’ll get to that in a sec. To the first point, a personal story. I have been angry at the Mormon organization for years. I believe their faith is corrupt, that it turns otherwise decent people into self-absorbed, arrogant, manipulative cowards who can’t be asked to defend their faith. This is specifically because their faith leaves them, by design, woefully incapable of making an apologetic defense.
I hate the academic citadel, more than anything else. I left one time because I didn’t see any future in it.
So where has that hatred gotten me? Well, on one end, I’ve avoided the Mormon faith, but it hasn’t soured or brightened any friendships I have today. So it’s utterly ineffective
Where’s that hatred of the academic world gotten me? LaRoche College. I’ve helped a lot of people, built a lot of stuff, but to get where I want to be, I need to be here, and that’s assuming it pans out the way I hope. If you don’t get the tragedy of that, it’ll always be beyond you. It certainly isn’t beyond me.
So where has the anger gotten you? Since about August, I’ve seen friendships collapse, I’ve heard anecdotes about families who stop talking to each other over the election, even church people don’t come out of the toxic air of politics unscathed.
On the macro level, activism is a joke, protesting is dead and there is not one thing on this Earth you can say has gotten better in any respect because blind, dominant anger (call it righteous anger if you can’t accept the truth) guided the person, the movement, the party or all three. All of this ignoring the fact that this relativism has driven people to violence extending to rioting and attempted homicide.
Truth is, people have been so angry and emotional that they can’t actually tell you how they’re going to achieve whatever it is they’re actually for. They’re just gonna keep protesting because it has to work eventually, somehow.
All this to make a few last points. The first is that there is, as Propaganda discussed at Jubilee, no perfect villain and no perfect hero. Remember always the election was a choice between a sociopath and a demagogue and work your way back from there. The moral argument assumes that one side is not guilty of anything.
So for the new activist, a few questions.
How do you respond to criticism?
Can you make a case for your beliefs that does NOT fall into “The other side is just wrong” and the usual string of epithets?
Can you and will you be morally consistent and call out your own AND others?
I don’t think any rational person pays too much attention to what anyone is against anymore. The reason for this is because for the longest time, the moralism has been applied so relativistically yet militantly that it’s an obnoxious screech no matter how noble the cause. On that note, it’s a tactical advantage to just shut up about it given what protesting has become. Talk almost exclusively about what you are for and how you intend to get there, and go BEYOND protesting for once.
Here’s the thing about objective truth: There is absolutely no way it’s a man-made invention. People are the problem, they cannot be the solution. It must come from outside them, and it does. The idea that people can’t fix themselves is agreed upon by secularists like HL Menken and Ambrose Bierce, to Christians like C.S. Lewis and the Bible itself.
If you want to know the scale of human fallibility, I’d suggest the first 3 chapters of Romans. Chapter 2 in particular attacks moralism.
However, here’s what Romans, and indeed the Christian perspective offers that the secular world does not: Redemption in its fullest sense. It goes beyond the black and white of either “The world just sucks” or the untrue slogan “we’re better than this”. It declares that there are none who are perfect, but there is a way to achieve some form of good: reflecting the Creator of the universe. The Christian perspective doesn’t put its faith in human nature. It says that God will make all things new. What it means to reflect this is to first realize that you are not someone who will bring about some grandiose vision of the country and could, in all likelihood be making the situation worse. Only once both sides realize that they are woefully incapable of facing the issues that plague society today can we begin the march towards something better. That said, the march does not lead to some man-made utopia. Those two terms are incompatible, there can be no such thing.
I’m not here to make a greater argument for Christianity in this piece (it is long enough) and this is discussed more fully in “Fracture” and I’ll put that in the comments. That said, something outside the secular world is, without question, the way forward. People are, by themselves, incapable of making societal problems they caused in the first place any better by themselves. America has lost, and clearly has no intention of finding, any concept of redemption within itself. Partly because it allows for projection, and also because it provides the ability to deny that the problem has anything to do with the internal and is entirely external (“Those people” on the other side of the aisle. God offers redemption to a world that needs it, and stands as an alternative to a worldview that has given up on the idea entirely.
If you want to discuss it, I am able and know many who can do far better than I. I can promise and prove to you in any case, that differing opinions are respected, discussed and there is hope found on the other end. It is the exception to the rule. The case can easily be made that what’s at the core is not a belief taken personally, but more importantly it’s a philosophy that is clearly defined.
Lastly, nobody could define what redemption was. So let me ask something that doesn’t involve the other side of the political aisle as much.
Do you have hope for the country, and where does it come from?
Keep it calm, civil and true
Eyes, minds and hearts open
Evil exists, prepare for it, fight it, defeat it.