Tuesday, June 30, 2015

My Facebook declaration of independence

Since I normally use Facebook to maintain my relationships, I don't indulge in a lot of commentary or proselytization there ... just the occasional quip or grump over some headline, article, or event. When I was younger, I decided I didn't want to risk my friendships by being too obnoxiously opinionated.

I can't do that anymore. But I couldn't just say, "F**k you, I'll be opinionated if I want to be." So I posted the following warning last night:

This is gonna be a long one:

In Robert Bolt's "A Man for all Seasons", St. Thomas More tells the court which has just convicted him of treason, "I do none harm; I say none harm; I think none harm. And if that be not enough to keep a man alive, then in faith I long not to live."

I've been blessed in that my friends and family are wise enough to know that to love someone in spite of their faults is not to pretend that they have no faults. However, the rhetoric in the public square has been devolving over the last few years. Commentators on both the left and the right almost compulsively reduce each other to two-dimensional comic-book villains without any redeeming human traits. Conservatives are big, mean poopy-heads out to repress and enslave everyone (except the one percent); while liberals are jack-booted statists who want to micromanage all human actions (except sex). Nobody on the other side can be granted to have good intentions, let alone good ideas.

To paraphrase St. Thomas Aquinas, society can't function if people can't trust one another to tell each other the truth. However, according to the
Zeitgeist, we're losing any sense of a common truth; and it's becoming more important to protect each other's feelings of self-worth than to speak the truth in love. Moreover, to do any less than give full-voiced approval to the Zeitgeist is to risk being damned and marginalized as a "hater". Yet, as the Latin maxim reminds us, to be silent is to consent; and to remain silent in the face of error is to endorse it.

So I guess I'm saying that, in the future, I will continue to speak the truth as I best understand it, fully realizing I'm a flawed, failing mortal, that I'm not omniscient or omnicompetent. If I offend you, I'm sorry; if you feel you must block or unfriend me, I should regret it. But I'm not really entitled to my own opinion if the only opinion I can say in public, the only opinion I can base my votes on, is that which the
Zeitgeist says I must have.

Semper Fi. Carry on.