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GUEST POST-N FREDRICKSON: A Gentleman Need Not Always Be Nice

A Gentleman Need Not Always be Nice, Nor Need the Open Mind Forever be Neutral

"They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'

He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'

In the words of one of my favorite living gay men, stop talking to the dining room tables! Let us be clear, my friends. Creatures like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and Ann Coulter are not human. They are characters of their own devising; they are caricatures of human villainy. People who reduce themselves to monsters are appropriately regarded as monsters. They do not deserve the respect and dignity given to the least of humanity, for they are wolves in woolen garments, ghouls wearing the human form. Having dwelt too long in prideful isolation, they were long ago possessed by the desert demon, Selfishness, and, like all mad and unholy things, want nothing but to spoil the healthful, consume the weak, and madden the sane. They are anarchists, who wish to return to a lawless, primitive age when predators like they could glut their empty bellies in a cannibalistic feast. But sociopaths do not always murder the bodies of the race to which they are no longer joined. Sometimes they try to murder our souls.

We are demonized by devils. The unclean and polluted accuse us of impurity! They talk day and night of a gay conspiracy, a liberal conspiracy, a secular conspiracy. Indeed, nothing gives Ann Coulter a boner like the idea of being a martyr to her imaginary gay-liberal-secular agenda. Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh become wetter than the sea-licked shores of Lesbos at the idea of fighting to the death against a Socialist-Islamic-Feminist regime. And so I say, Let’s give them their heart’s desire. Let us conspire! Let us attack! One need not be nice to a cartoon. It does not become a gentle soul to attempt diplomacy with a fable or to engage in social relations with a fiction, especially the sort of audacious and pernicious fiction properly called a lie.

Insane people, of course, cannot help being insane. They should not be held responsible for their unwelcome and unfortunate condition. However, the creatures I am discussing are not people. Perhaps they were once, but that day has long passed. Furthermore, they are not insane. They have willingly embraced a philosophy of radical individualism. They are a community of monists, a collection of atoms whose only bond is their mutual repulsion of all social and communal ties. Indeed, they are monotheists, but their god resides in the mirror, not in the heavens. This is why, although the one they call their Lord advocated social justice and dwelt ever with the lowly and the outcasts, feeding the hungry and healing the sick, and although his early Church willingly created communal funds to fight famine and sustain widows and orphans, these people sabotage the Samaritan for trying to give health care to his neighbor, punish the father for daring to feed his prodigal son, and censure the bridegroom for inviting beggars to his table.

They regard all social institutions that empower individuals’ bodies and minds as malevolent impositions on their freedom, but they emphasize security, especially the strength of the military and private gun ownership, because they spend so much time thinking privately and understanding themselves as individuals. Indeed, the modern fixation on finding, knowing, and being true to one's self while simultaneously suspecting and attacking all external influences and definitions is founded on the same imperfectly digested Existentialist insight of our basic subjectivity and solitude. This excessive concern for private safety in the form martial power in many cases leads to an escalation of violence and certainly to an escalation of potential for violence. Thus, concern for private security without concern for other, more social and communal needs diminishes society's peace and security. This is but another aspect of the great danger these beings represent to the health of our democracy.

Still all is not lost. May we stop being afraid of fear-mongers! We do not need to negotiate with terrorists. Let their rotting mouth accuse us of closing our ears and minds. We have heard their nonsense. We have listened to their lies. But no more. We can live up to our ideals. We can build a better world... if only we can stop talking to dinning room tables.

The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what Fiction means.


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