A Taste of My Own Medicine

Over on the Book of Face a few days ago, a friend (who is, to do her justice, generally eager to reach across the aisle and make common cause with people for the common good) remarked:

“I hate when I wake up in the morning and find myself agreeing with the likes of David f*cking Frum”

May be a Twitter screenshot of 2 people

A conversation ensued in which a number of people confessed similar feelings. F’rinstance, one person replied:

Same with Bill Kristol–neocon extraordinaire– but I have to say I like many of the pieces appearing in the new mag he started after a Trump crony bought and shut down his Weekly Standard.

To which my friend responded:

Him and Frum I had once considered to be the most evil men in conservative messaging. And even they thought Trumpism was wrong….

And another friend replied:

I have been disappointed with how often I agree with these conservatives.

It was right about here that my innate urge to moralize, lecture, and scold was just about to kick in and sending me off on a peroration about the need to be more accepting and so forth when God, in his Providence, permitted my finger to twitch and accidently scroll down to this:

May be an image of text that says 'Matt Walsh @MattWalshBlog say this to Beto fans, Trump fans, all fans of politicians: it is un-American, ridiculous, and dangerous to be a fan of a politician. They aren't pop stars. Support them if you agree with their policies. Criticize them when they go wrong. They are servants, not celebrities.'

I dislike Matt Walsh. A lot. I think him a bully. I think him a vendor of bigotry, outrage porn, and abuse of the weak. I…. don’t want to praise Matt Walsh or agree with him. I feel exactly the way the folks above feel about agreeing with Frum and Kristol.

But… dammit!… he’s simply right here. So when I was just about to stoop down from my Olympian height to gabble at somebody else about the need to be more accepting of disliked enemies when they are right, God pointed the spotlight at me and said, “Physician, heal thyself!”

So, Shea, listen up:

“Suppose one reads a story of filthy atrocities in the paper. Then suppose that something turns up suggesting that the story might not be quite true, or not quite so bad as it was made out. Is one’s first feeling, ‘Thank God, even they aren’t quite so bad as that,’ or is it a feeling of disappointment, and even a determination to cling to the first story for the sheer pleasure of thinking your enemies are as bad as possible? If it is the second then it is, I am afraid, the first step in a process which, if followed to the end, will make us into devils. You see, one is beginning to wish that black was a little blacker. If we give that wish its head, later on we shall wish to see grey as black, and then to see white itself as black. Finally we shall insist on seeing everything — God and our friends and ourselves included — as bad, and not be able to stop doing it: we shall be fixed for ever in a universe of pure hatred.” – C.S. Lewis


4 Responses

  1. If we can acknowledge these points of agreement, we will be able to stop demonizing our opponents. And if we can do that, we may be able to expand the points of agreement to areas of cooperation. We will never agree completely, but the good new is, we don’t have to. Excellent post, Mark.

  2. At first, I was a little angry with Walsh’s tweet. But then I read his essay on the subject at The Daily Wire. What Walsh is criticizing is people blindly being fans of politicians. I disagree with him on several points. I am a Pete Buttigieg supporter/”fan” but not to the point of excusing everything Buttigieg does or agreeing with Buttigieg on everything. So I agree that we should not be blind fans of politicians. The only person we should be an uncritical cheerleader for is Jesus Christ. I strongly disagree with Buttigieg on abortion and am disappointed with his track record when it comes to abortion, but I still like, admire, and respect him despite those things. There are other things I agree with him on and I like his honesty, humility, compassion, and intellect. I was skeptical and cautious when I watched the first two Dem debates, but after a lot of research, I started to trust Pete. I get Walsh’s instructions to expect that most politicians are vain and self-interested, and that our support of them should be shaky and cautious support. However, there are some politicians who truly care about the people and such politicians deserve to be honored and celebrated. It is possible that some of these politicians’ integrity may weaken. I hope that Pete’s integrity does not. And I don’t think it will because Pete is fundamentally honest, based what I’ve heard and seen from him. But when a politician’s integrity weakens, my response would be to not just withdraw support or criticize them when they go down the wrong path. The other part of my response would be to pray for that person. We should pray for our politicians, both the ones we like and the ones we don’t like. I make an effort not to demonize politicians and people I don’t like. It’s OK to be a “fan” of politicians who have earned it by good works and actions. So I disagree that Americans shouldn’t ever be fans of politicians.

  3. Great post! At first, I was angry with Walsh’s tweet. Then, I read his essay on the subject at the Daily Wire and listened to the episode of his podcast about it. His tone of voice during the part of the episode about how you shouldn’t ever be a fan of a politician is so condescending. He even quoted Tolkien during that part and I was like, “How dare you quote Tolkien during this rant.” I’m a huge Tolkien fan. I agree and disagree with Walsh. Walsh’s point is we shouldn’t blindly be fans of politicians.” I agree with that. I get his instructions to be skeptical when it comes to politicians and that our support should be cautious. There are a few virtuous politicians and the virtuous ones should be honored and celebrated while criticizing them when they head down the wrong path. I am not at all the type of person who clings to a politician permanently. However, I think we should do more than just “scold them like untrained puppies” when they head down the wrong path or kick them to the curb when they turn out to be self-interested and morally corrupt. We should pray for our politicians, both the ones we like and the ones we don’t like. I totally get it when he says the best we can expect are the self-interested and morally corrupt ones. I don’t blindly follow politicians the way he describes and I make an effort to not demonize politicians and people in general.

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