What to do? How about this?:
Patrick Deneen has a very important question for David Brooks. The whole piece is terrific:
“Evangelicals are not alone in shifting their view of the role moral character should play in choosing political leaders. Between 2011 and last year, the percentage of Americans who say politicians who commit immoral acts in their private lives can still behave ethically in public office jumped to 61 percent from 44 percent, according to a Public Religion Research Institute/Brookings poll. During the same period, the shift among evangelicals was even more dramatic, moving from to 72 percent from 30 percent, the survey found.”
Cynicism is easy.
Cynicism is toxic.
Cynicism is deceptive.
A cynic believes they have corralled all of reality into their own little brain and determined that things are bleak indeed. There is, however, a very big problem. No one can know all reality, except God. And God tells us that a mark of being a Christian is hope.
So, since no one is omniscient, no one has the right to be cynical. There are all kinds of realities the cynic does not know about that would change their pessimistic outlook.
“We gain awareness of ourselves and others from setbacks and difficulties; we get used to a world that is not always about us; and those who do not have to cope with that are brittle, weak, unable to endure contradiction, convinced of the necessity of always having one’s own way. The rich kids I met in college were flailing as though they wanted to find walls around them, leapt as though they wanted there to be gravity and to hit ground, even bottom, but parents and privilege kept throwing out safety nets and buffers, kept padding the walls and picking up the pieces, so that all their acts were meaningless, literally inconsequential. They floated like astronauts in outer space.”
The rest is here (HT: My sister Lisa)
Sadly, my piece in The Huffington Post from seven years ago is still relevant:
I resonate with these words:
“Whoever meditates on the mystery of his own life will quickly realize why only God, the searcher of the secrets of the heart, can pass final judgment. We cannot judge what we have no access to. The self is a swirling conflict of fears, impulses, sentiments, interests, allergies, and foibles. It is a metaphysical given for which there is no easy rational explanation. Now if we cannot unveil the mystery of our own motives and affections, how much less can we unveil the mystery in others? That is, as we look into ourselves, we encounter the mystery of our own, the depths of our own selfhood. As we sing things like ‘Just as I am, though tossed about with many a conflict, many a doubt, fightings within and fears without, O Lamb of God, I come.’ And having recognized the mysteries that dwell in the very depths of our own being, how can we treat other people as if they were empty or superficial beings, without the same kind of mystery?”
The rest is here:
The eminent Catholic scholar, Michael Novak, has died. His quiet genius influenced many of the more popular names you may know. In any case, there is a nice tribute to him below.
One of the best quotes from him on the possibility of humans creating some utopia: “To know oneself is to disbelieve in utopia. To seek realism is to learn mercy.”