We all know that it is the worst of times . . .
If I vote for Biden, I will be complicit in abortions on a mass scale.
If I vote for Trump, I will be complicit in cementing a worldview in which the ends justify the means, power replaces truth, and thus the very truths by which we define and understand ourselves as human are at stake.Karen Swallow Prior, “Voting for Neither,” Christianity Today (Oct. 28, 2020) [link].
Here’s your semi-regular reminder: You don’t have to be there. You can quit Twitter and Facebook and never go back.Alan Jacobs, “it’s time,” Snakes and Ladders (Oct. 28, 2020) [link].
but it is also the best of times:
There have been many men on the court who seemed deep and were celebrated for their scholarly musings but were essentially, as individuals and in their conception of life, immature. But this is not a child, a sentimentalist, an ideological warrior. This is a thinker who thinks about reality.Peggy Noonan, “Everyone Has Gone Crazy in Washington,” The Wall Street Journal (Oct. 15, 2020) [link].
Sad tales are generally accepted, but when you share joy it is likely that someone somewhere might be hurt by it, especially in a year marked by such sweeping stress. We are all secretly afraid that there might not be enough happiness to go around, and that we will perpetually be that kid that gets left behind.Sarah Willard, “Reader, I Married Him,” Blind Mule Blog (Oct. 27, 2020) [link].
and indeed, it is like all times:
And all shall be well andT.S. Eliot, “Little Gidding,” The Four Quartets [link].
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flames are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one
It is not how we vote, or what we read, or who we support or oppose, or even how well we love. We live in a comedy, not a tragedy, for there is One to rescue us from ourselves.
There is One who does good, and the world is certainly in his hand. He will judge and he will redeem.
It has been a while, but these links from the last week are worth your time:
A brief reflection on crowd-sourcing our attention spans—Alan Jacobs, “not so much,” Snakes and Ladders (June 7, 2020) [link]:
Human beings have overwhelmingly powerful cravings for novelty and unanimity. We want new problems to face, because we’re tired of the old ones: they bore us, and remind us of our failures to solve them. And, especially in times of stress, we crave environments in which dissent is silenced and even mere difference is erased. We call that “solidarity,” but it‘s more like an instinctual bullying. You must attend to the thing I am attending to. I despise both of those tendencies.
A sobering comment on how evenhanded uncertainty can be sacrificed on the altar of tribalism—Yuval Levin, “Tribalism comes for Pandemic Science,” American Enterprise Institute (June 5, 2020) [link]:
The virus has demanded a lot from our country, and Americans have been willing to make great sacrifices to address it. But to defeat it, we will also need to be willing to temper our powerful inclination to polarize and tribalize, and we will need to demand more of political leaders, of public health experts, and of ourselves. Success in the coming months depends on our ability to build up habits of humility — and those would serve us well far beyond this crisis too.
A powerful spoken poem about unresolved racial violence—Propaganda, “Again,” The Rabbit Room (June 1, 2020) [link]:
Las night another black man was murdered . . . . again . . . .
Four thoughts on the United Flight 3411 incident:
- What a mess!
- Almost everyone involved can (probably) see a point at which they should have chosen differently, and (almost certainly) wishes they had.
- On the whole, if you were one of Dr. Dao’s fellow passengers, filming the event on your cellphone was a better choice than trying to physically intervene.
- It appears that an even better choice for almost anyone on the plane would have been to stand up and say “This man appears to really need to get home, I will give up my seat.”
“Blessed are the peacemakers . . . .”