Continuing on the track of my previous entry I was thinking more on why the Left is in the place it is in and reacting as it does, in the ways that ream the heart of Bill Whittle, and other Americans as well. And I mean that in the kindest way.
I began at the place where I was thinking about Liberals having taken offense in their ideal of the Civitas being breached. It is usually layers of offences building up, but the most recent ones give a window into the history on it. I don’t think Abu Graib is something they latch onto, I think -for them- it is representative of a nature of breach of conduct that they feel is practiced with regularity within other circumstances…both in war and peace. I think that is the view.
This idea brought me to a surprising fork in the road. I considered the Left’s refusal to let go of Abu Graib. That is what is happening, they have refused to give reprieve on this, and I think I know why.
I believe the structure of our Civitas has changed in a subtle, but inexorable way. Because the important thing for both sides is not change. Change is not enough, both sides want the other to pay. This is due to an inner structural change in the demands of the Civitas basic philosophy.
Whether you are incensed most about the attack of 9-11 or about the present war in Iraq with its instances of Abu Graib and other offences, you are determined to not be satified until you think the offender has sufficiently paid for his misdeed. This is the crux of the locked struggle between the two sides. The rhetoric is only symptomatic.
I believe that the shift is due to the loss of Christian consensus. I know you are turning off, right now, but please…won’t you stay with me? Long enough to hear me out?
The Christian consensus is, and was, the idea that the goal is to change. Change the person, change the family, change the society. The idea is to use all tools for that purpose, and the presumption in Christian consensus is that you cannot possibly pay enough for wrongs done. That is within the doctrine, so it no longer becomes the goal… the goal shifts to “change”… and the idea is that this is what brings satisfaction and it is commonly acknowledged that the offender will most likely not ever be able to fully pay.
In tribal ideas ( for which I can’t find a better term) you must pay to satisfaction. The rules are set up to insure that in some way. But in paying retribution, the paying party is sometimes deeply offended in his sense of justice… and that is why feuds can be so self-perpetuating. There is rarely the achievement of a perceived balance of proper satisfaction. This is increasingly the secular model of dealing with wrong.
No matter what changes, now, are made within the new state of Iraq, it is not going to be enough to stem these demands of payment for breached sense of right conduct within the Civitas. Reason is set aside in this habitual sense of offense.
I fear that politically activated Christians are headed to this same form of thinking. Unknowingly setting aside their own standards and adopting those of the secular parties. Because it is done in ‘the name’ of those standards. This is very subtle, which is why I think is done unawares.
I don’t know if the secular philosophy, in their code of Civitas, has enough vestige of the old goals and standards to overcome the present contrapositions.
The end product of tribal demands ends up being illustrated in what, to the West, is the nonsensical riots and bloodletting glee of the Islamic nations. The West wonders, but does not seem to notice its own move toward that same behavior; or if it does see it, doesn’t know what to do about it. Torn as it is at its core of whether to demand payment or whether to place change foremost.
The higher aspiration is to want change and rehabilitation, but the cynicism resulting from the sense of breached code demands payment. This is the conflict that I think is going on within American society today.
Bill Whittle’s essay on ‘Sanctuary’ has given us some keys to discover some of what is going on, and that has been a truly useful asset.