…the whole modern world, or at any rate the whole modern Press, has a perpetual and consuming terror of plain morals. Men always attempt to avoid condemning a thing upon merely moral grounds. If I beat my grandmother to death tomorrow in the middle of Battersea Park, you may be perfectly certain that people will say anything about it except the single and fairly obvious fact: it is wrong. Some will call it insane; that is, will accuse it of deficiency of intelligence. This is not necessarily true at all. You could not tell whether the act was unintelligent or not unless you knew my grandmother. Some will call it vulgar, disgusting, and the rest of it; that is, they will accuse it of a lack of manners. Perhaps it does show a lack of manners; but this is scarcely its most serious disadvantage. Others will talk about the loathsome spectacle and the revolting scene; that is, they will accuse it of deficiency of art, or aesthetic beauty. This again depends on the circumstances: in order to be quite certain that the appearance of the old lady has definitely deteriorated under the process of being beaten to death, it is necessary for the philosophical critic to be quite certain how ugly she was before. Another school of thinkers say that the action is lacking in efficiency: that it is an uneconomic waste of a good grandmother. But that could only depend on the value, which is again an individual matter. The only real point that is worth mentioning is that the action is wicked, because your grandmother has a right not to be beaten to death. But of this simple moral explanation modern journalism has, as I say, a standing fear. It will call the action anything else – mad, bestial, vulgar, idiotic, rather than call it sinful. – G. K. Chesterton, “All Things Considered”, 1908
Now, ask yourself – has anyone in the MSM called the actions of the Dallas shooter immoral? The main thing that the man did was murder – which is a sin. It doesn’t, in the largest sense, matter why he did it – what he did was wrong. Immoral. Sinful. The only time we really care why a man murders is when we’re putting him on trial and even then it is only so that we can establish, as a matter of fact, that he did sin. Far more important than understanding the often twisted motives of those who sin is to call an immoral action wrong. Start making the motivation your primary concern and before too long what you’re doing is finding ways to excuse the sin. Our primary focus here should be to proclaim very loudly and firmly that what the man did was wrong; that no one should ever do such a thing; that there is never the slightest justification for sinning. Period. Full stop.
But, we don’t do that – and, as you can see from the date of the quote, we haven’t done it for quite a while. We’re very far down the road of trying to understand why a sinner sins, and thus we’re very far down the road to pretty much finding an excuse for every sin that comes along. If we were a moral people then what would be flustering us is not that Hillary wasn’t indicted, but that she lied (a sin, you see?) and isn’t sorry for it. True, she should be indicted but that is hardly the point – she should feel ashamed. Everyone who has been boosting her chances for the Presidency should also feel ashamed (and betrayed). We shouldn’t be talking about whether or not the prosecutor blew the case, but why the issue had to go beyond the moment we discovered (and this was quite a long while back) that Hillary had deliberately lied.
Until we start being a people who call a sin a sin, and who start to feel shame when we sin, or see others sin, then we’ll never get back to being a people who can make rational choices. We’ll just keep on going down this route – our leaders will become ever more corrupt; horrible murders and other crimes will pile up; our people will become more hate-filled, depressed and bewildered…and all because we won’t just starting saying about wrong things, “hey, that’s wrong”.
Perhaps the reason to learn why the sinner has sinned is to try to prevent future sinners from following that same path.
First and foremost: tell everyone it is wrong. It is the central fact which must be understood – and we’ve spent so much time ignoring the central fact that, quite honestly, I think that a very large number of people (perhaps a majority) don’t even know what is right and wrong any longer.
Gotta remember, the reason the MSM – and the larger society – refuses to call it “wrong” is because that is a word with a concrete meaning. It is inescapable. If something is wrong, then it is wrong. End of story. But once we start bringing up the subject of something being wrong, then we’ve opened up a whole can of worms, now haven’t we? Ok, so the Dallas shooter was wrong – what else is wrong? True, police officers using excessive force is wrong (and people might timidly be willing to go there), but next up is calling the police, as a whole, racist murderers is wrong, as well (it is a lie, you see?). Once down that path, and all of a sudden people will have to take a stand on one side or the other…and that can really mess up your plans to play Pokemon Go or whatever distraction Applied Science has developed to keep our minds off the central fact.
It is pretty apparent at face value the Dallas shooting was morally wrong. Sure a few idiots on social media tweeted racist bs justifications but there are always random idiots with opinions. Everyone else takes the evil as a given and moved on to discuss how it came to be.
Not every conversation about tobacco must start with a cancer announcement. I can read a book on the Holocaust without being told in chapter 1 how morally wrong it was.
But I don’t think it is so obvious, at least not to a lot of people. One can hold that it is just a few crazies lauding the deed or trying to justify it, but it appears to me that it’s not just a few crazies…and, in fact, a lot of people rather high up in the world are trying to turn murder to their political and/or financial advantage. For instance, Al Sharpton is out there rabble-rousing…lying about how its all just racist cops. He shouldn’t be in a position to rabble-rouse…you see, he’s been known to be a liar for decades. But no one says, “what Sharpton did was immoral, and thus he’s not the guy to go to”. Nope – people support him because even though he’s a known liar, his lies serve their ends…and other people, when they attack him, attack him for what he’s saying rather than the fact that he’s a liar. We’re topsy-turvy – we’re going about it exactly the wrong way.
I’m not sure that everyone else took the act as evil and only the started to discuss how it came to be. These days it is considered a dire insult to call someone “judgmental”. Terms like “evil” are shunned, and even “moral” is considered harsh and, yes, “judgmental”. There are passionate arguments against the concept of objective right and objective wrong—everything is supposed to be relative.
One thing that IS considered deeply and profoundly wrong is “shame”—we are not supposed to feel shame, and the term is now being distorted by being used in a way intended to indicate that the ones who are wrong are those whose beliefs might prompt a sense of shame in someone else, for some act or belief. Now the effort is to shift disapproval from the person who does an act that is wrong to whoever thinks it is wrong.
We need to get back to the ability to just say “He is a bad man, and what he did was wrong”. We aren’t even supposed to say that a killer is a bad man! He was misunderstood, he was goaded, he was stressed, he was this he was that, but it is never just that he was a bad person who did bad things. There is such an effort to distance the act from the person, as if any relationship is purely coincidental. We don’t want to make his family feel bad, or we don’t want to indicate lack of respect for his religion, or some such twaddle. Even the 9/11 murderers are supposed to be understood for their deep seated beliefs and resentments over what America did to them, maybe what they did was wrong but we can’t even admit they were vicious evil people.
Nobody takes Al Sharpton seriously. With the exception of his last Presidential run, no one has taken him seriously since the early 90s.
No, it is just a small fringe of nobodies declaring anything positive about the Dallas shooter. No one from the media, mainstream or otherwise. At best, some say his rage was a reaction to the two recent shootings but even then, they recognize he was a crazy racist guy – too crazy, too racist, even for the New Black Panthers – who was going to kill white people no matter the reason.
Yeah, but the story is that he was crazy, not that he was evil, or immoral. It was just something that went haywire in his brain, not his fault at all. He used to be so nice, before he wasn’t nice at all.
And I think there are a LOT of people who admire Sharpton and take him very seriously. Maybe nobody you know, certainly nobody I know, but he draws big crowds, and while there might be an argument about which is cause and which is effect he sure does get a lot of TV time, which I think is usually based on a calculation of who will bring in the most viewers.
People do go insane, of course…but here’s the test: no matter what justification a person has for doing wrong, that person knows he doesn’t want it done to himself. Even take the case of the suicide bombers…they say that they are doing it for God and that paradise in their reward. Ok. But if you were to get a chance to ask any of them if they’d like their own friends and family blown to bits by a suicide bomber the answer would almost certainly be, “no”. And with that answer comes their own condemnation – their own revelation that not only is what they do wrong, but they know it is wrong when they do it.
To be sure, they probably don’t think of it in precisely those terms – if they did, they wouldn’t do it – but it still holds true: what we don’t want done to ourselves and our own, we certainly must not do to others. The Dallas shooter probably had a hundred reasons for doing what he did but while he was doing it it is certain he didn’t want it done to those he cared for. And, so, what he did was evil – immoral. A sin. And that is what we must first and foremost say about it: he sinned. He did wrong. He had no actual justification for doing it.
Look, he WAS evil and he WAS crazy. Explaining his actions is not justifying them.
Every evil, crazy thing can, and should, be explained. I want to know why Hitler did what he did, and calling him crazy ain’t gonna do. Wanting to know the reasons this crazy man in Dallas wanted to kill cops and white people in no way justifies those reasons.
As for Sharpton’s ability to draw a crowd…I can draw a crowd of strangers to a mall to dance Thriller. Do I have as meaningful a voice as Big Al?
But it has to be said – we must say it is a sin. That is what we don’t do. We spend so much time trying to understand the why of it that we don’t get around to the simple, forthright condemnation of evil…and, remember, when you get into trying to explain, you give an opportunity for knaves to lie about the explanation.
There is clinically crazy, which is not knowing that an act is wrong. There is the casual use of the word to describe something we don’t understand—I could say that someone with a pierced tongue is crazy, because it seems like such a bizarre and irrational thing to do. The word has become meaningless because it is used so often to describe things that do not fall within the actual, precise, meaning of the word.
So I go back beyond the act to the environment in which the act occurred. In a way, this relates to the posts about the article about men who are sexually attracted to other men also having good, loving marriages with women. It all comes back to a society which validates every emotion and says, in one way or another, that no emotion is bad or wrong, and that every act can be justified according to its motivation. It even goes back to Comey saying that what Hillary did was not wrong if her intent was not wrong.
This lack of moral structure allows people who are defined by their hatreds feel justified in acting on that hate. Going back to the clinical definition of “crazy”, if there is no objective right or wrong, then it is a lot harder to say that someone knows an act is wrong. Now we have thousands of people defending the sniper, one calling him a “martyr”, which sends the message to the next person immersed in his own toxic stew of hatred that it would not be wrong to do the same thing.
I think we are so far down the rabbit hole we may never see daylight again. We have a huge segment of our society damning all pro-life people, for example, after a single person who is then soundly and universally denounced by pro-life people kills an abortionist. A single person, who gets no validation for his act, kills a single person, and points to the undeniable fact that the dead person was killed because he had killed thousands of living human beings. This act is used to malign millions who never approved of the act, who decried the act, and who have never advocated violence, who are by the same attitude approving of the killing of thousands because it fell into an accepted category of death. Then we have someone callously killing five men who had done nothing wrong, only because of the color of their skin and the fact that they belong to a hated group, and the killer is celebrated and defended as a hero and a “martyr” because he was “standing up for a cause”, and furthermore we are told we should not condemn any of those who actively, loudly, and often violently share this alleged “cause”.
And we have people giving the killer a partial pass by dismissing him as “crazy”, as if he had no control over his actions. Yet we can look at the escalation of violent rhetoric from those who share his “cause”, at the incitements to kill police officers which are completely ignored by our laughably named Department of “Justice” and therefore tacitly approved, at the Complicit Agenda Media who provide cover for such acts by interviewing people who make excuses for them, and we can see the infrastructure of a developing hate-based anarchy that does violate all the old ideas of sanity but which, within its structure, is perfectly sane because it is consistent with that structure.
We need to examine and then dismantle the structure itself. This cannot be done by a demagogue whose agenda depends on it. It cannot be done by someone who uses many of the same tactics, albeit for what appear to be different agendas. It has to be done with leadership that clearly stands for morality and decency, and which does not hesitate to enforce laws that deal with people who ignore morality and decency. It requires leadership which stands up and declares THIS IS WRONG !!! and which supports others who do the same. Reagan was ridiculed for calling the USSR “evil”. Bush was excoriated for using terms of morality to describe Sadaam Hussein and his regime. This kind of constant harassment of those who use terms of morality, of good and evil, erodes both the understanding of good and evil, of right and wrong, but undermines the willingness of some to talk about it.
We need to talk about it. We need to be very clear about it. We need to honor those who talk about it. We need to support those who stand up for it. I look at the hysteria and name calling regarding the bishop who says that Catholics who are in a state of sin should not receive communion. This is and always has been a tenet of Catholicism, and now even that is under attack, in the effort to eliminate the concept of “sin” and the belief that some acts are just plain wrong.