I like this thought.
While I don’t subscribe to the idea that human nature is fallen – I am not a Catholic or a WFB disciple or even really a conservative – we could use a little virtue. And I have definitely seen it in people who subscribe to your philosophy. Real compassion, real intellectual honesty. I like the idea that you are more likely to win, in a practical, political sense, by making yourself better. You win by being so much better that even your enemies are forced to respect you. Even if you lose today, you win later.[/quote]
I grew up in Northeast liberal circles here in Boston - and among liberals who make a big show of their alleged compassion. When it really comes down to it, though - that’s all it was and is, a big show.
What they really mean, I think, is that they vote for (allegedly) “compassionate policies” - but to me, they example the Scrooge principle: because in their actual lives, and towards people around them, they are often incredibly self-absorbed and frankly uncompassionate. They give very little time and money to anything or anyone, excepting themselves and their own careers, of course, which they narcissistically obsess over.
And the Scrooge principle is this silent assumption: “are there no work houses?” Meaning, Scrooge absolves himself from helping others because someone else (the gubbymint) is already (again, allegedly) doing so. The result is a kind of hell.
Charity cannot be done by proxy. Charity must be lived by each and every one of us. That is the basis of genuine love and community.
And yet, among the Conservatives I have known, particularly Catholics, I have never seen less lip-service to compassion; and yet, they give enormous time and resources to the poor; and not only to the poor in material wealth, but the poor in spirit. Or just someone who needs a helping hand with something - being attentive to the needs of others. It’s the opposite of self-absorption, which is a chronic illness of our times (and a sin…haha)
A friend of mine tells a story about how hard it was to walk down the street with Mr. Buckley - because he would stop every few seconds to lend a hand, to give words of encouragement, to praise someone, etc. Once he approached a hung over looking man in a cafe, who looked sad, and a little unkempt. He went up, adjusted the man’s tie and suit, lent him his hankerchief, said a few words into his ear, and left. My friend looked back and saw a man beaming. Transformed. Nearly transfigured. That’s what I mean.