Month: August 2014


Another great Santayana quote from Epstein: “humanitarians have an intense hatred of mankind as it is.” Epstein then continues Santayana’s thought: “which is of course why they are always so hard at work trying to change it.”

It’s a poignant point that every progressive and reformer ought to consider carefully before they launch another crusade. Just as every Christian should ask himself whether he is about to do X, Y, or Z out of love, every activist ought to ask himself whether Law X or Reform Z is motivated by hate. Every law and reform, of course, is motivated by some level of dissatisfaction with the way things are, and hatred is a sub-set in the circle of dissatisfaction. I think if every politician looked at himself honestly and detachedly, he’d realize the vast bulk of new laws that he favors is motivated by some level of hatred: something isn’t the way he prefers it, so he implements a law to change it to fit his preference. He never, of course, admits this, either to others or himself, instead opting to dress it up in terms like “public safety” and “for the children,” but if he were an honest man, he’d admit that he’s passing these laws because, “Damn it, that really makes me mad.”

Related: Joseph Epstein quote about the thought of Paul Valery: “Valery could think of nothing in the realm of thought ‘madder’ or more vulgar ‘than wanting to be right,’ which is of course what politics is chiefly about.”

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Monday Miscellany

I took the family to Cedar Point on Friday. We had a great time. It got off to a rough start: Key roller coasters were out of service for the first part of the day. It was highly frustrating. But I think the humidity and threat of thunderstorms kept the crowds away, so we only had to wait for one ride (called “The Maverick,” which is my favorite; the wait was 30 minutes, which is “nothing” compared to the 90+ minutes that, I’m told, people regularly wait during peak times). * * * * * * * A random thought after being shut out once again at confession last weekend: Why is the USCCB pushing the “New Evangelization,” when its priests are stretched so thin that they can’t consistently administer the sacraments to their existing flock? That’d be like me engaging in an aggressive advertising campaign when I can’t even service my existing client base properly. * * * * * * * When that thought first occurred to me, it came to me as a snarky interior joke, but upon reflection, I think there’s more to it than sardonic humor. If existing flocks are flocking to Hell because the sacraments can’t be administered, why are we trying to expand the flock? Is it so the flock later grows with devout Catholics, resulting in greater vocations, so then, many years down the line, we have enough priests? Could be, but are we then saying, “To Hell with the current flock? We’ll take our chances with them?” And if you can’t administer to them, can you really expect their mortally-stained souls to be effective evangelizers? At what point does the sacrifice of the current generation turn the current generation into Dostoyevsky’s “manure men”? But then again, if we don’t get a … Read the rest