Hatred is the sin of the age, but love shines about almost nowhere.
For my part, I have great trouble hating even my enemies, though I sometimes succeed, for brief moments.
The language of today’s greatest hate haters, our ubiquitous leftist moral scolds, is almost completely Christian, and yet a more unchristian group can hardly be imagined.
It is obvious that most people turn to politics and cultural engagement on the legal and governmental end of the spectrum to work through or compensate for childhood trauma. Hence the witless simplicity of not only the standard views of social causation, but of right and wrong, value and disvalue.
In reviving the obsessions of Mrs. Grundy, within the framework of post-Christian ethics, today’s college- and media-centric progressives — along with their mostly puzzled opponents, the Fox/newsradio conservatives — have forgotten the greatest gift civilization gives: security and progress in the context of baseline indifference.
It is indifference, not love, that must be defended — as the bedrock, perhaps, of civilization. That is, indifference backed by a technical respect for a limited set of rights, which allow for extensive voluntary co-operation. So maybe it is not indifference-as-such, but indifference flourishing as the context for co-operation.
Yes, voluntary co-operation has a flip side as well as an edge: non-co-operation. For every act or cause with which any person chooses to expend scarce time and attention, a million others must go begging. One must regard those unchosen options as “not worth it,” recognizing that one is practically (if not fancifully) indifferent to them.
The trouble with today’s moralistic Grundyism, aside from its essential ugly, intrusive and totalitarian nature, is its assault on the necessity of non-co-operation. By constantly fretting about a few instances of non-inclusion, the scolds identify non-co-operation as their bête noir, and thereby undermine civilization with their childish dualism of love/hate and inclusion/exclusion.
They fail to see the spiritual liberation in mass (if technical) indifference. They lose track of the strategic place that justice has in our moral economy, and revive the old Christian heresy that “justice is love.”