Saturday, October 27, 2018


Just a quick take on Pittsburgh:

I'm focused on the three police officers who took bullets to try to protect these people. In the long history of anti-semitism, that was not often (ever?) seen.

In 1993, Oskar Schindler, having written some checks and taken some risks, seemed like a hero. In 2018, cops run straight into the violence, and we barely register them. This is not The Age-Old. It's different now. I believe it's a last gasp of an old problem (though last gasps can be horrendous, and represent a long tail as they gradually fade out). Consider the black church bombing in Charleston a few years ago. Horrendous. But clearly a last gasp of an old problem. I'm not building a shelter in my basement to hide black friends, and they're not doing so for Jewish me, either. That may sound flippant, but it's not. It's a sanity check.

Sensitized by our relative safety and comfort, micro evil seems macro. A few pathetic dipshits with tiki torches in Charlottesville feel like a grand resurgence of the Third Reich, just because it's so startling (40 years ago, it wasn't so it didn't rattle the rest of us all that much. More dismayed eye-rolling than massive outrage).

Yes, a dipshit can run you over with their car or shoot up a church, mosque, or synagogue, and it's awful, but this is not what a civilizational resurgence of violence and hatred looks like. Take comfort in the longer arch, and stay sane in your rebound (some of my best friends are hicks who don't like Jews very much - though they're obviously willing to make exceptions. There's a huge diff between such prefs and shooting up a congregation, and that's not a distinction the Left seems able to make these days).

If suggestions of restraint strike you as irritating, it's time to reevaluate your urges. It is not your best self that compels you to drop values when shocked by others dropping theirs; to ratchet up intolerance in response to intolerance; to ape the monsters and let their example inspire gleeful indulgence of your uglier impulses.

Our current perch as a nation is a perfect in-laboratory case for exploring humanity's worst defect: our incorrigible impulse to respond to extremism with reciprocal extremism. But what if we get it right this time? Pittsburgh aside, what if the true moral test here isn't on the MAGAs to reform themselves, but on the rest of us to avoid the usual trap, and retain our values and our intelligent composure even when we're upset? It's an individual choice, not a group one. Each of us has an opportunity to "be the change".

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