God’s Blessings on February 3, 2017

God’s blessings to you on this the third day of February in the year of our Lord’s incarnation 2017.

Like a lot of people, I read about the violence used to shut down a talk by Milo Yiannopoulos. And like a lot of people, I’ve seen more than a few instances of left-wingers on twitter applauding this violence or defending the idea of punching people they designate as Nazis. It is upsetting, but I think it is upsetting in disproportion to how significant it really is. There is a great deal of human evil in the world, and while we should do what we can to prevent and counteract it, what we can actually do about almost all the evil in the world is, basically, nothing. This is just common sense; there is no way I can prevent the murder of people I don’t even know in a country I don’t live in; and so it goes for nearly everything.

Of course, newspapers and later TV news specialized in telling me about things I cannot control as if somehow, by knowing about them, I could in fact control them. This is obvious nonsense. In some vague theoretical sense, knowing about some problem in Australia means that I could give up my life in the United States and travel to Australia to right that wrong, except that (1) I probably can’t and (2) I would be committing a much graver injustice against my family by abandoning them than I have any real chance of doing good in Australia. (And apart from that, one may not do evil that good will result. So abandoning my family is right out.) I think that the usual dodge is that I can call my congressman and senators and tell them how important fixing whatever it is that’s going on in Australia is. Except, let us be honest, American congressmen and senators are not going to actually drop their pressing American concerns to—do what? They could declare war on Australia, I suppose. Establishing burdensome trade restrictions which mostly hurt innocent people would also be doable, I suppose. But even there, it would only work if more than one congressman and two senators were in favor of it, and I have even less influence over congress critters I don’t vote for. And what’s extraordinarily true of events in other countries is only marginally less true of events within my own country. Countries are big places, and the United States is one of the bigger countries.

And, in fact, when looked at realistically, my sphere of influence drops off to almost 100% uninfluential pretty rapidly; most of what’s in it are my family, friends, and co-workers. In fact, a cynical man might conclude that this is why Christ talked so much about neighbors and so little about society.

Anyway, there’s another phenomenon I’ve noticed, which is that if you talk with most liberals—or at least when I do, with the ones in my life—they don’t tend to know a lot about the extreme left wingers that I read about a lot. Now, you can call them useful idiots if you like, and there may even be an element of that going on, but at the same time I’m not very familiar with whoever the extremists on my side are supposed to be, such as David Duke, the Westboro Baptist Church, Sean Spencer, etc. It’s not that I literally have no idea who they are (since liberals bring them up all the time) but that I pay no attention to them because they’re minority idiots. And rightly or wrongly, that’s how the liberals in my life tend to view many of the worst leftists. There is an asymmetry, to be sure, because some awful leftists are quite mainstream to the point where it’s impolite to point out how awful they are, but none the less, when it comes to things like punching Nazis, that doesn’t appear to be a mainstream thing. And to be fair there was a bunch of rather shameful celebrating of the guy who punched Spencer—with ritual incantations of “I don’t condone violence” as if that makes celebrating it harmless.

So, yeah, I don’t know. I was going to say that both sides cherry-pick the worst of the other side, which gives both sides a skewed view of the other side, especially when it comes to the ordinary people who aren’t so involved, but I don’t know any more.

Hopefully I’m just having a bad day, but in any event it’s a damn good thing that God is in charge of the world and not people.

Glory to God in the highest.

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