Hannah and Papa J

Hannah and Papa J

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Hell is also for do-gooders

Dear Son,

Those of us who are having a good time and want to continue having a good time all have a common enemy, and that is the person who wants us to have a bad time.  These people won't say it outright, of course; but to them the idea of you having a good time goes against everything they believe to be humane.  Not in a world where people go hungry, or where people get shot by psychopaths at a concert, or where little boys who think they are girls are called boys; or where the citizens of Flint ruined their water supply and nobody has bothered to fix it; or where Michael Eric Dyson was called the N-word as a baby; or where women as a whole don't earn the same as men as a whole, or where some coworkers grab other coworkers' backsides, or where some people make it on to magazine covers and other people are jealous.


No, the fact that these things happen and you're enjoying the Country Music Awards is too much for their sensitive souls; so they write their petitions and contact National Public Radio when you won't let them take over the stage so they can rant about gun control; as if there weren't a thousand other causes also vying for the stage with a thousand different equally worthy poster martyrs; as if the second you got one of their causes out of the way a second one wouldn't appear, its champions equally insistent that if this most important thing was made right everything would be better; as if the second they got it they wouldn't go off and find another cause to shove down your throat*.

No, these pathological do-gooders have no idea that parties are sacred spaces where worrywarts and holy men are supposed to be banned; and that except in cases of real emergency, such as a national war, or a disaster directly and personally affecting a number of people in the audience, all your pet causes are tacitly verboten.  The second we let one in we let them all in**; and now, to our great displeasure, ever since the aging and degenerate man-pig Marlon Brando had an Indian girl take his Academy Award for him, every celebrity has been scurrying to not only waste our time with their own self-back-patting, but outrightly attempting to shame us for not worshiping them for wasting it.  The Academy Awards are the time we find out that the people we had enjoyed watching all year were only tolerable because they were pretending to be other people.

The solution to all of this, of course, is one of the most difficult things in the world to do; and it's to tell a group of people who've been beating their chests and wearing sackcloth in public that, at least for the moment, you don't care -- that whatever or whoever their cause involves will have to take a backseat to your drinking and celebrating like it and everything else does when you're making love or taking a shower; that music will be written and played regardless of whether Nigerian girls have been kidnapped by Boko Haram, and birthday parties will not be canceled in the face of a shooting in Vegas.  The world, we believe, is a mess -- and it will continue to be a mess almost regardless of what we do; and if we can make some part of the world go along smoothly and joyfully, then God damn it, let us enjoy it.

This is the true philosophy of a conservative and a joyful man; not that there aren't any causes worth fighting for, or that our lives ought to be spent in debauchery, but that something out there started working for most of us in this country, and that the fact of its working in the midst of the world's chaos is not only a defense of its existence, but the defense of its existence.  That's why, against the insurmountable darkening of the universe, we are trying to conserve it.  We believe, on a level far deeper than professional leftists, that the purpose of great causes is to make responsible people happy; and that once a great cause has made people happy, they ought to be able to enjoy it.  No pulling them down from the heavens to save somebody in the margins from hell.  We leave this self-sacrifice to the missionaries and other psychological Franciscans.  We believe that in this life in which misery at some point is guaranteed, in which death stalks us every minute, in which loved ones are torn from us by men and by nature regardless of wealth, or power, or even health, that the little moments drinking and celebrating our accomplishments ought to be fun; and that saving a soul is only praiseworthy if you didn't have to ruin an innocent countryman's happiness to do it.

This is the problem with our leftists.  That an innocent and oblivious happiness is proof of somebody's damnation.  That enjoying yourself and living in a safe neighborhood and keeping what you earn are a sign of your "privilege."  That our inability to mourn constantly and indignantly at awards ceremonies means that we're heartless, and that a refusal to care about all their pet peoples is proof we don't care about people.  Well we have something to say to them.  The proof that we care about people isn't that we care about all people all of the time, which none of us are even capable of doing.  It's that we're letting the majority enjoy themselves instead of trying to ruin their parties. 

Your father,
-J

PS:  I'm certain that someone reading this essay, and probably even you, will finish the message and wonder if I have a heart.  The truth is that I do have a heart and the reason I wrote this is because I'm currently fighting it.  I've been dealing with an over-active heart my entire life; and the moment I became a Christian I began to give in to it wildly.  I took it as The Holy Spirit prompting me, something I would have to answer to God for ignoring; and this ridiculous interpretation of my own instinctive pity -- an unsleeping and all-searching unmerciful pity, in my opinion -- led me to give to nearly everyone who asked for it; and when I couldn't give to them, to either pray for them or feel guilty for not giving.

As such everyone had a hand in my pocket, some worthier than others.  If Answers in Genesis needed money, they got it.  If HeartCry Missionary Society asked for it, they got it.  Bums asking for money got food and occasionally dollars, The Children's Miracle Network got it and if someone was chronically ill at church they got it.  They got it if someone couldn't make the rent or if people needed Bibles in Timbuktu or if babies were being aborted and I could donate to a pregnancy resource center; and all the while your mother and I were working proletarian jobs and living in an apartment, the list of potential damsels only growing larger and me feeling more guilty for not saving them; a God to answer to for the people at my doorstep, and a bank account growing empty despite the fact that towards ourselves we were frugal.

This was during the economic downturn of 2008 through 2013, and had I had the balls to say enough, to realize that the list of worthy causes and people was interminable, and that God would have to give me a break for not saving the entire world on a working-man's paycheck, I would've been able to buy a house and you would now be playing in a yard instead of a small apartment -- something which haunts me today, and is likely to haunt me into my retirement years (should they ever arrive).  Charity, the herd instinct to pity the man on the street, should have been regulated like the impulse to make love to a beautiful stranger.  But it was glorified and worshiped as God Himself; the Apostle's teaching that there is no law against love made my love lawless; and I never once ended any suffering that caused my poverty.  In the end I only became poorer.   

Many would ask themselves in light of this what they should give or whether they should give at all.  I'm not here to tell you or anyone else what constitutes a valuable cause.  I only ask that we each be able to decide for ourselves without an excess of nagging, and second to remember you can't save the world.

Playboys and sluts want to love everyone, and because they love everyone they actually love no one.  Pope Francis says he loves the world, and because he pretends to love the world he ruins Europe for the sake of North Africa.  Well, I refuse to join this cavalcade of whores and to spend my twilight years wondering why I'm alone and my children hate me and my country's on fire; so I picked your mother over the other women, and I pick you over a million Chinese children.  I would pick you over a billion Africans.  I pick Americans over Mexicans, Christians over Muslims, my friends over strangers, and good citizens over socialists.  I would rather buy you a toy and some ice cream than send anything to the homeless in Hungary.  This is the only way we can live and the only way we can love; and we're not only afraid to admit it, but we've decided to label it hatred.

*The incomparable HL Mencken wrote of the sincere (as he called it) forward thinker,
Call them the tender-minded, as the late William James used to do, and you have pretty well described them. They are, on the one hand, pathologically sensitive to the sorrows of the world, and, on the other hand, pathologically susceptible to the eloquence of quacks. What seems to lie in all of them is the doctrine that evils so vast as those they see about them must and will be laid—that it would be an insult to a just God to think of them as permanent and irremediable.  [..] 
Unluckily for the man of tender mind, he is quite incapable of any such easy dismissal of the great plagues and conundrums of existence. It is of the essence of his character that he is too sensitive and [Pg 222]sentimental to put them ruthlessly out of his mind: he cannot view even the crunching of a cockroach without feeling the snapping of his own ribs. And it is of the essence of his character that he is unable to escape the delusion of duty—that he can't rid himself of the notion that, whenever he observes anything in the world that might conceivably be improved, he is commanded by God to make every effort to improve it. In brief, he is a public-spirited man, and the ideal citizen of democratic states. But Nature, it must be obvious, is opposed to democracy—and whoso goes counter to nature must expect to pay the penalty. The tender-minded man pays it by hanging forever upon the cruel hooks of hope, and by fermenting inwardly in incessant indignation. All this, perhaps, explains the notorious ill-humor of uplifters—the wowser touch that is in even the best of them. They dwell so much upon the imperfections of the universe and the weaknesses of man that they end by believing that the universe is altogether out of joint and that every man is a scoundrel and every woman a vampire. [...] 
The eager forward-looker is exactly like the man with hay-fever, or arthritis, or nervous dyspepsia, or diabetes. It takes time to try each successive remedy—to search it out, to take it, to[Pg 225] observe its effects, to hope, to doubt, to shelve it. Before the process is completed another is offered; new ones are always waiting before their predecessors have been discarded. Here, perhaps, we get a glimpse of the causes behind the protean appetite of the true forward-looker—his virtuosity in credulity. He is in all stages simultaneously—just getting over the initiative and referendum, beginning to have doubts about the short ballot, making ready for a horse doctor's dose of the single tax, and contemplating an experimental draught of Socialism to-morrow.

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