Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Judas and the Cult of Malevolent Mendacity

The Anchoress muses that treachery is afoot and close to ascendant in the land, in this rather link-happy post.

Betrayal is one of those things mixed up with our flawed and faulty humanity - it is what gets served up when a stew has too much of the sweetness of ego, and not enough of the salt of discipline. It is often served on a platter of golden nobility, thus it blinds many who indulge. It is many-times regretted and regret leaves an opening for shame, and who knows what happens in those infinitisimal moments wherein one is making the transition from life into death, death into life? If God is Merciful as well as Just, He can be trusted to sort it out.

But mendacity - particularly when it is spat out from the sharp teeth of the malevolent - there is something beneath it that speaks of more than simple human weaknesses and missteps. Malevolent Mendacity arrived with a serpentine hisssssss - a flick of the forked tongue and a satisfied, superior sort of smile. It hisses still, but its smile seems plastered on, and it fails to persuade.

Of course, we never needed a Gospel of Judas for all this to happen. Richard John Neuhas had this to say about Cold War traitors, years ago.

Still today many subscribe to the infamous assertion of E. M. Forster that, if he had to choose between betraying his country and betraying his friends, he hoped he would have the guts to betray his country. Forgotten is the reality that one is betraying one's friends by betraying one's country. Forgotten, too, is the fact that those who are the friends of tyrants and mass murderers should not be counted as friends.


  1. Perhaps you can explain---what precisely is her point?

    What Malkin did was--at the very least--ill-considered.

    Take us, as examples. We're each politically active (although under pseudonyms--I'm a graduate student with teaching duties, and don't want students to talk politics when they should be focusing on mathematics).

    Still, my party registration is a matter of public record, as is my phone number. Anyone who wanted to could just look me up in the phone book. I'd nontheless be deeply offended if someone who disagreed with me politically posted my name and number on a conservative forum with "tell him what you think" instructions. I need my telephone for personal reasons, as does everyone.

    That the students put their numbers on a press release doesn't excuse her actions. Numbers on press releases are, by their very definition, for the press. Most corporate press releases list their PR department's numbers. That doesn't mean they want members of the general public calling their press offices with comments and complaints.

    More broadly, Malkin broke the basic line between the political and the personal that we all must maintain if polite discourse is to be possible. If I'm at a political rally, you're welcome to confront me with questions and arguments. If I'm sitting at home eating dinner, I'd rather you didn't. The fact that you have a conservative blog and have your number in the phone book (if you do) doesn't mean you want every liberal with a bone to pick in the city of San Francisco calling you at all hours.

    This sort of "call them up and tell them what you think" aimed at private citizens is an intimidation tactic, and shouldn't be supported by anyone interested in genuine debate on either side.

    Trying to defend herself with "there are liberal crazies too" doesn't fly. Of course there are--there are crazies on both sides. By her actions, she's demonstrated that she's one of them.

  2. I actually haven't been paying much attention to the Malkin thing. I linked to this post because of the Judas tie-in, who's been in the news and my blog the past several weeks.

    As for Malkin and the peace creeps, that's the present Culture War on full rock-n-roll auto, not any kind of civil discussion. To everything there is a season... It's nothing I'd care to get mixed up in, but I can't say I'm grieved to see the Direct Action For Social Justice poseurs get a snootful of their own medicine for a change.

    But, like I say, the Malkin connection was secondary for me--and that post of the Anchoress's was pretty link-happy. Who's got time to wade through all that?


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