A thoughtful post from David Foster explores the mental gymnastics we sometimes engage in to tolerate the sins of our friends (and ourselves) and avoid the duty to forgive our real enemies.  It includes this passage from C.S. Lewis:
“All Christians know that they must forgive their enemies. But “my enemy” primarily means the man whom I am really tempted to hate…. If you listen to young Christian intellectuals talking, you will soon find out who their real enemy is.  He seems to have two names–Colonel Blimp and “the businessman.”  I suspect that the latter usually means the speaker’s father, but that is speculation.  What is certain is that in asking such people to forgive the Germans and Russians, and to open their eyes to the sins of England, you are asking them, not to mortify, but to indulge, their ruling passion.”


Grim said...

As someone who was so intensely patriotic until a few years ago that I couldn't hear the Star Spangled Banner without feeling an urge to tears, I find it amazing to realize that nearly all of my enemies -- I mean the people who really hate me and mine, and would like to see us driven out of the world -- are domestic. Not all of them, but nearly all of them, and the most effective and dangerous.

Ymar Sakar said...

Domestic is great. Local is the next global.

Only a few years ago people treated members of the Leftist alliance for human slavery and the Democrat membership as mere political, philosophical, or economic debaters who had a slightly different argument to be argued and attested to.

Little did they wish to realize that zealots and fanatics don't have "different arguments". Only other zealots and fanatics can truly comprehend the purity of passion after all.

Debating and convincing a rational scientist is one thing. Convincing a zealot or fanatic is quite another.

The Israelis and the world often treat Hamas in one specific fashion, based upon their individual wishes and social beliefs. But they cannot understand the alien discipline of another culture or religion so easily. All they can understand is the passion of pure belief.

The Left doesn't take Hamas seriously, the Left believes Hamas is a humanitarian organization, like the IRS or Eric Holder's Hussein Regime is ObamaCare compassionate. And for the same reasons and goals.

Even if the Left disagreed with the Pali cause or methods, they would never criticize their allies in life or death. They are too similar. It's the rest of the world that doesn't believe such people exist or can be serious, as Western civilization's belief was broken in WWI and WWII.

Those who treat the Leftist alliance as some kind of fad or temporary trend in the realm of reason and politics, underestimate the power of True Belief and the undying nature of fanatical passion.

For, after all, they have never felt such a thing in their entire lives. They cannot believe other people can behave and believe in such things. After all, only faerie tale fantasies have people who believe in things strongly to kill or die for them. Such a concept is too insane in the West to be believed, only savages like Arabs think in such manners, since a life of luxury (AC control in DC) is considered much more valuable.

Americans underestimated the Left. They refused to see what only a few were allowed to see. In every Age of Mankind, those who made breakthroughs in scientific and philosophical theory were derided and cast out as too insane or strange to matter. Until later, of course, when technology made such things valuable or necessary for the ruling elites.

Some made the mistake of underestimating evil because they thought evil was weak or that it did not exist. Some made the mistake of underestimating evil because they thought they were talking to people with good intentions, that this mattered in the grand scheme of things. Some made the mistake of underestimating evil because they could not understand the true nature of evil or why anyone would hold beliefs contrary to life and the realm of existence as we know it still.

When the world changes and an ancient village of man refuses to change their traditions to adapt, they will be annihilated. Their only hope is for the exiled villagers they kicked out, to come back and change the system by thinking outside the box. After the exiles have done their usefulness to society, they'll be kicked out soon enough like Winston Churchill after WWII.

Such is the fate of those who cannot remain inside their box. But the fate of the village remains a mystery.

Grim said...

You realize this means, Ymar, that these are the ones you must forgive?

Assistant Village Idiot said...

The Dangers of National Repentance. One of my favorite essays. It is an excellent description of how much forgiveness is actually anti-forgiveness and further accusation.

What to do, then? This has come upon me with sadness in the past week, as I caught the scent of hatred from a young relative while scrolling down a post forwarded to me. I doubt expected his comments would go to any non-liberals, relatives, or (gulp) both.

He hates me, though he doesn't know it. He is not the only one in the family. The liberals I know outside the family are more reasonable. We get used to overlooking, rather than forgiving things with people close to us. Not quite the same.

Grim said...

It's a strange sensation, AVI. I get it both from young friends and from older ones, presuming they are liberal. It comes in the form of absolutely acid, hateful comments about religion and the religious per se; that even more than not being liberal is what they bitterly hate. Not that these people wouldn't think of themselves as sensitive, even perhaps spiritual in some sort of way; certainly they think of themselves as good, humane, loving people.

But they're as hate-filled as any racist I ever met. In just exactly the same way, actually.

Grim said...

No, I shouldn't say "religion and the religious per se." Some of them practice neopagan religions of various kinds; others are avowed atheists. But they hate traditional religion, Christianity above all, Roman Catholicism at the top (excepting radical leftist nuns, who are awesome); but after Christian faiths, Judaism a close second.

Not Islam. Not Buddhists from Tibet, although there's a kind of neo-colonial sneering at their endearing tribal faith.

Grim said...

Also Southerners, per se. They really hate the South and Southerners, at least as much as religious people.

And yet some of these people are folks with whom I have regular, pleasant and thoughtful exchanges. Some of them are very intelligent, interesting people with real insights on questions that don't pertain to contemporary religion or the South. There's one left-leaning scholar in his 70s who is among the worst offenders; I keep wanting to point out, in response to the regular diatribes against the South and/or the religious, that I'm both and he seems to get along OK with me.

I don't do it chiefly out of respect for his age. When I'm in my 70s, I hope whippersnappers will scurry out of the way of my angry diatribes against whatever I'm against by that age. So I let him go, and just try to learn when he's talking about things that are of interest. He's very good on many topics I care about, especially rhetoric and mythology.

Cass said...

I don't do it chiefly out of respect for his age.

I think you could still do it mildly and without disrespect. Sometimes people persist in their errors because they're indulged when they're behaving badly. I don't think one has to brain them with a 2x4, but gently reminding them ought to be allowed (and in fact, demonstrates a belief that they are not so biased as to be beyond salvage or reason).

I got into it with my brother once over faith. He was appalled by some of our family members whose religious faith has led them into ministry. They made no attempt to convert him, or even to discuss their faith with him at all. A less pushy bunch of folks could hardly be imagined.

I told him I thought he was being bigoted, and further that I took some of what he said personally because I believe in God even though I'm not a big church goer. That kind of pulled him up short.

He finally admitted that they made him feel guilty. I've often wondered if this is at least partly behind some of the anti-religion sentiment. My brother is a good person, but he is influenced somewhat by his wife (who is also a good person, and with whom one can reason if she doesn't feel attacked). He is also responsible for his own reactions, as are we all.

Ymar Sakar said...

You realize this means, Ymar, that these are the ones you must forgive?

It will take an ocean of blood for the world, the souls lost, and God to forgive them.

If that is my place, that is the price I would deem just. Since it is not my place, it is somebody else's authority to judge what price is fitting.

So far, America and this planet has fallen far below the minimum down payment.

Let justice be done, even if the heavens fall. This Golden Age is over.

On another point, the Left is its own death cult religion. As with any fanatic and extremely xenophobic faith (the EPA is going to cleanse Gaia of Humans, and they consider It Holy, you know), there needs to be certain.... targets.

So they hate Southerners, because the South rejected Democrat Power and Dominant Slavery, whether specifically or by admitting to voting for Reagan.

So they hate Hitlerites because the Nazis attacked their beloved Stalin, in their grand Soviet Utopia that was to be. They hate the betrayers, those Nazi pigs (and not for any other reason, such as killing Jews, they liked that part)

So they hate Christianity because Christianity competes for the same followers. In the US, Christianity is a large power bloc, although very un united. Muslims or Islamic Jihad constitutes 1%, at best, so can be used as a scapegoat only in a limited sense. But their primary competition for religious believers, Christianity, the Left hates. For Islam, they fear instead and avoid.

Most people who lack a strong sense of faith and have a lot of doubts, express it as hostility towards others. I've mentioned before on the net that when a group of Mormon youths or Jehovah Witness (usually a husband/wife team(s)) come to my house, I was curious, invited them, and talked to them. They often asked why I would do this, since I suspected it was not the normal reception they were used to.

I merely said that I was not afraid that talking to people would convert me. I do not lack in social skills or social manipulation techniques either, so I am not afraid of a social meeting with strangers. As for security, it would take more than they could ever bring to overwhelm my position, and these missionaries often have a different passion and faith, one that is based on pacifism not war. (This I never mentioned to them, since they never asked) I wanted to talk to a real pacifist, not the fake ones on the net.

The Left also absolutely hates (and fears) Pinochet, amazingly enough. Because he truly broke the back of the Left, for a time, in his native nation.

The weaklings of this world that feel personal guilt, need a scapegoat to expiate it. If they cannot find it in Christ's voluntary offering, they will join their death cult and Nail You to the Cross in order for their own souls to be absolved of Sin. That is a sort of Death Cult, in a sense.

Well, this got longer than usual, time to conclude it. Here, look at these bunnies.


Grim said...

Forgiving their sins is God's business, as is taking vengeance. What you are supposed to forgive is their trespasses against you.

For free. :) Not if they pay a price, but as an act of grace. It doesn't mean you have to trust them to command you, of course, nor fail to see them as the enemies they have chosen to be. You may resist them, fight them, as long as you forgive them and do not hate them. Perhaps God sent them in part so you might have the joy of the battle.

E Hines said...

I don't do it chiefly out of respect for his age.

Age doesn't earn respect; only behavior does. All age demonstrates is that the geezer got away with his behavior for that long and/or maybe collected, along the way, a bit of experience and wisdom that's worth listening to. But wisdom and experience don't only come with age, while age often comes without wisdom and experience.

When I'm in my dotage--and it's not too far off--I expect to be remonstrated with/taken to task for what another might view as my misbehavior. To "excuse" my behavior, or merely to overlook it, out of "respect" for my age is no respect at all--it's an insulting patronization.

Eric Hines

Ymar Sakar said...

"What you are supposed to forgive is their trespasses against you. "

In that case, you're flat out of luck. Because they, whatever they mean in this respect, didn't trespass against me. They trespassed against humanity itself. Whether in the graves of the Vietnamese or the graves of Americans that died fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan.

What exactly are they able to do for them, by bribing me? It makes no difference in atonement. They can't buy it from me, no matter how many Green Credits they have in the bank.

If Vengeance is God's realm, then when DC becomes a crater because Jesus Christ's legions of angel descends on it, I'll accept that. However, neither the Southerner that beat ol Republican Sumner up the head while seated a few times nor the Japanese masters of old, ever believed vengeance was not the duty of the individual to take for other humans.

A feudal hierarchy believes in getting it done, personally. God is free to punish them when they are dead. The living still abide by free will and its consequences.

Ymar Sakar said...

Sword of a Stranger is a good film on this subject. Have you watched that Grim?

It made a lot more sense to me once I rewatched it recently.

Grim said...

I have not seen it, Ymar.

However, neither the Southerner that beat ol Republican Sumner up the head while seated a few times nor the Japanese masters of old, ever believed vengeance was not the duty of the individual to take for other humans.

Preston Brooks was intending to send two messages at once: first, that he was not prepared to accept insults to his family, and second, that Charles Sumner was not worth of even the most basic respect due to a gentleman in spite of his position as a Senator. That latter is a mark of personal disrespect for the manner in which Sumner conducted himself, as well as his penchant for trying to interfere with Southern society as an outsider.

Sumner forgave him, though. I don't think he ever understood him, but he forgave him as well as he knew how to do. As well he might have done even if he held as you say you do, since legions -- if not of angels, bearing at least the sword of fire -- had descended upon and destroyed the South.

Grim said...

Age doesn't earn respect; only behavior does.

1 Timothy 5:1. In any case, it is not my place to tell a man of his years what to think nor how to feel; he has come to his opinions by his own road, and he would not leave it now for my advice. I have nothing to teach him, but instead I think it right to listen and learn of the things he has to teach me. We are divided for reasons he understands but is too weary to explain, and of which I can only guess the smallest part because I was not there.

E Hines said...

My version has it this way: Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren

Correcting his error is not at all a rebuke, but ignoring it because he's of an age (and by implication not usefully corrected) is disrespectful of a high order--a rebuke. If a man--of any age--is worthy of respect, he's worthy of the respect of correcting his mistakes.

Nor is it, in your terms, a matter of tell[ing] a man of his years what to think but of helping him clarify his thoughts.

Eric Hines

Ymar Sakar said...

"Sumner forgave him, though."

Good for him. Brooks, if that is the name, had a relative that was alive and did not ask if forgiveness was his to give or take. He merely acted upon his own cognizance, because his society supported his actions (and welcomed him home with applause).

When you dig up the families or victims of the ones the Left killed, Grim, and they tell me that they have forgiven their enemies, then you may have a chance of getting me to forgive "them" as well. But because they are dead and cannot issue that forgiveness, neither can I. Catch 22.

Isn't that convenient. Well, depends upon one's point of view, I suppose.

The Left can't be forgiven because those that could, they either killed or have currently kept enslaved. But to free the slaves, the Left must be destroyed. Catch 22. They don't want to atone, or rather their way of atoning is catching more slaves and crucifying them, declaring themselves Masters of Gaia, Green Energy, and National Healthcare makes them divinely pure and free of guilt.

I haven't written 80% of what I know the Left has done. So people have no idea of the things I know about the Left. They would have more chance of convincing a fanatic to switch religious sides, than to get me to forgive enemies of humanity.

Grim said...

Manifestly we disagree, Mr. Hines. But perhaps it is because you are much closer in age, and thus feel the weight of it less. Imagine he was 106, and clearly had formed his mental world in one you can only imagine from stories you have heard and histories you have read. Respect then entails, to some degree, letting them be who they are -- and trying to understand why they are that, and not what you might prefer. It's a chance to learn something that you couldn't learn if you were too sure that your own age and perspective was right.

E Hines said...

The imagine isn't so hard, even for one of my still tender years. My father died at 96, my mother at 101, my father-in-law at 103.

While my own parents' brains had actually died 10-15 years earlier, FIL was fully alert to the night he died, and he expected honest discourse, not simply acceptance of whatever he said.

And there's much to be learned in such interaction, by both of us.

Correcting mistakes has nothing to do with the arrogance to which you allude, unless the correction is done for the sake of that correction or as an attempt at demonstrating one's own erudition. Too, the correction forces no alteration of his perception of who he is or how he came to be that way, but done properly helps him see those things better. Age, by itself doesn't leave a man so brittle. If he does change from that added knowledge, that's his choice, not forced by the correction.

Eric Hines

Grim said...

"Correction" is the problem, for me. That is a kind of arrogance, to say that he is wrong and I am right, and he needs correction. I am, of course, quite sure that he is wrong -- but I am also sure he has reasons for believing as he does, which I am likewise sure I do not fully understand. They pertain to things I learn about in snatches, or guess at from histories.

This is not dishonest, as your words suggest you think it is. I am sure -- and honestly sure -- that he knows things I do not know, and that he has forgotten how to explain. It is wisdom to listen and try to understand. It is not wisdom to think that I can correct him, as if I understood his situation better than he.

Matt said...


Regarding your brother admitting that his disdain for those members of your family who went into the ministry was because they made him feel guilty -- if it's not prying too much, did he ever state what they made him feel guilty for? (Particular actions/habits he felt their religion disapproved of, or for not following them into a profession of service?) I find this interesting, given that most such people whose work I've read online or whom I've heard of seem to explicitly deny such motivations.

E Hines said...

It is wisdom to listen and try to understand. It is not wisdom to think that I can correct him, as if I understood his situation better than he.

These two are not opposed to each other, as you seem to imply they are. Especially when you do understand his situation better than he, but even without that.

I hope, in my dotage, I'm not treated with such disdain or with such...pedestalizing. Hopefully, too, my wife and I have at least trained our daughter better than that, and will train (because we'll be enhancing their formal education with home schooling) our grandchildren better than that.

Eric Hines

Ymar Sakar said...

Grim's fashion reminds me of how the Japanese attach official respect to age or status, in terms of the language they use. Yet at the same time, the content of the language, no matter how grand its superficial respect, might be sarcastic or insincere.

In so far as that applies to this context, it would be an outer layer of conduct juxtaposed against internal doubt or will. The Japanese usually won't come straight out and tell you why they disagree, especially if you aren't part of their inner circle (The Chinese are similar). So long as the inner circle isn't broken, the Japanese do not truly care what older people say, even though on the surface they appear to agree and respect the wishes of older people.

In the Western parameter, none of this makes sense. But using a Japanese viewpoint, Grim's point of view makes much more coherent sense.

Parallax: a technique to think outside the box.

E Hines said...

Grim's not suggesting sarcasm or insincerity; he and I just disagree about how to approach an Old One.

Eric Hines

Grim said...

Well, or about how to deal with disparities that are generational in any case. I would not have a lot of patience with a 22-year-old who wanted to correct me about Communism, based on his extensive experience of having been born after the Cold War. (Plus his sophomore studies in Marxist Philosophy, which include reading excerpts of a handful of Communist thinkers.)

Even if he ends up believing that he is right and I am wrong, the knowledge flow will be more to his advantage if he shuts up, puts aside his difference out of respect for my age and experience, and listens for a while.

That's not treating me with disdain, I don't think.

E Hines said...

No, but a man who sat across the fence from Russians for 14 years might understand a little more about that sort of evil than his father-in-law who did shore patrol in WWII because his color blindness kept him from going to sea.

Not helping him understand better--correcting his misapprehension--would be disrespectful of him either by disdaining him or by putting him on an Old One pedestal.

Eric Hines

douglas said...

I think it's right to honor your elders and learn from their depth of experience, but also right to question them- to not accept without question what they say is so. Living 'behind enemy lines' as it were, here in Los Angeles, where I'm in a distinct minority, I've learned a lot about the values of standing up for who I am, in a full frontal display of ideology, vs. engaging those who would be engaged and working from shared premises outward to new understandings. It's often the well placed question as regards a statement they made as fact that is more effective than any 'correction' might be, however true and rational. It's rare you'll change anyone's mind about something significant in one conversation, but those you interact with now and then, and who know you to be reasonable and good in general, with them you have the possibility- and they with you.

Grim said...

I haven't said anything about pedestals. I've said that you should accept that you don't fully understand their reasons or their history, and try shutting up and listening rather than "correcting" them.

Now maybe the guy who ended up on shore patrol has less to say. But he'll have something to say to me -- I wasn't in WWII at all. I'll learn something interesting about shore patrol and his experience, if I can keep from arguing with him on a subject I already know about (i.e., the character of Southerners).

We were talking about forgiving your enemies. He's mine, in a way. In another way, we still can be friends, and learn from each other in the areas where we share interests. I respect that he has something to say enough to do that.

E Hines said...

It's often the well placed question as regards a statement they made as fact that is more effective than any 'correction' might be....

These are the same thing, which may be near the core of our misunderstanding of each other.

There's one left-leaning scholar in his 70s who is among the worst offenders; I keep wanting to point out.... I don't do it chiefly out of respect for his age.

Emphasis mine. That's putting him on a pedestal. Simply sitting back and accepting that I don't fully understand puts him on a pedestal, or disdains him, depending on why I just sit back and accept. Simply sitting back and accepting also assumes he doesn't want to learn any more and denies him an opportunity. Either way precludes any improvement of understanding. I'm not ready to give up on that. And neither have been any Old Ones I've encountered.

Eric Hines

Grim said...

I also accept, in the same motion, that there are things about me he doesn't understand. Clearly, the very things I'd otherwise be tempted to argue about.

Disdain is shown in other ways. Sometimes it's by assuming you know enough to correct your elders. Wisdom in youth listens more than it speaks.

Ymar Sakar said...

It's the Japanese that once used insincerity or sarcasm behind a proper public face of social approval.

Grim's situation is different, being an American. Yet some Americans, such as on the West coast of Californian, have learned to hide their inner thoughts from their outer appearance, due to the Democrats influence at least. Such a philosophy is just as alien to some here, as the Americans are to the Japanese.

E Hines said...

Disdain is shown in other ways. Sometimes it's by assuming you know enough to correct your elders.

And yet, here you are, presuming to dispute with me.

The disdain, the presumption, is in assuming one knows enough to correct one with more experience in the matter (and it just might be true then, too, although less likely). Age has very little to do with it.

Eric Hines

Grim said...

I am merely doing you the honor of your own stated will. If you have come to this place, it is because you want to fight with me. No one comes here for any other cause. This is an earthly Valhalla, for those whose spirits seek honor in conflict.

E Hines said...

You illustrate my point beautifully.

Eric Hines

Grim said...

I always understood your point. I just don't think it applies to everyone. I'm willing to tell you that I think you're wrong about anything or everything, because an argument is what you want. But there are other people who want other things, and some of them I respect enough to engage on their terms. Especially if I know they've seen things I haven't.

Ymar Sakar said...

As one example of what Grim referred in the not "applies to everyone".

In Japan, if you call attention to someone crying on the train by speaking to them and asking about their condition (strangers everyone though they are), that's considered a meiwaku or rather causing problems for people around you. The expected behavior is that the person crying sorts out their emotions before work and keeps it together, omote or in front of the public, thus they should do so privately without anyone calling attention to it. Because if they do, then the person that felt badly enough to cry, loses face or reputation in the eyes of the Japanese society.

In the US, it's somewhat different. How different it is, really depends on the context but alien cultures are truly alien to each other.