Something & Roy Moore

I don’t think I would flourish as a big league politician; or even a little league politician. Faced with a problem like Roy Moore, the Merican Senatorial candidate who is the target of rather florid accusations in skunk media such as the Washington Post — and charged with the task of defending the blighter — I might say something like,

“Okay, so he chases after under-aged girls. At least he’s a heterosexual.” …

Or, “Give the guy a break, he’s from Alabama.” …

Or, “Hey, I chased after a fifteen-year-old girl once.” …

“You wott?!?”

“Chased after a fifteen-year-old. Back in 1968, when I was fifteen myself. But I still think of her with unqualified affection.”

And then when, reviled for not taking the matter seriously:

“I take the matter seriously enough. It’s you I don’t take seriously, my darling.”

This is not how it’s played in either league. One is supposed to be appalled. And since one is not really appalled, nor even surprised, a bit of acting is called for. I think the Republicants’ parliamentary leaders are fairly good at this; especially Mitch McConnell. He has the jowls for it.

“Please, tell me it isn’t so,” is another response that came to mind when Mr Moore, a big fan of our Ten Commandments, was first beaded. This accompanied the notion he will win in Alabama all the same. And then, amid much partisan hysteria, the august moralists in the Senate will have him removed from their chamber, thus showing that their commitment to “democracy” is less fervid than they had previously declared.

That the man might be innocent of all charges I would think not worth mentioning. The Court of Public Opinion has fairly relaxed evidentiary rules.

When I wrote on Harvey Ween-stine et alia recently (here), I was berated by many readers: and those mostly severe, somewhat feminist, Catholic ladies. (I was also thanked by other Catholic ladies, for telling the plain truth.) Nothing in the Hollywood swamp could surprise me — for example, the fact that Ween-stine’s accusers, whose careers he had advanced in return for whatever “favours,” had all waited until they could pile on. Perhaps my least popular remark was the observation that by doing so, they had scored off him twice. (Or only once, but for free, if they were lying.)

Men behave like dogs, as is widely conceded, by men themselves. “Not all men,” of course, but enough to maintain the stereotype. The fairer sex seem more cautious in making their concessions. As a woman of my once acquaintance put it, “Men will do things for sex what women won’t even do for money.” The remark was funny, because it grazed the truth. Not quite a bull’s-eye, however. I think of what Ween-stein’s women did. (I don’t bother with Mr Ween-stine himself, as he’s been taken care of.)

We are, generally speaking, a depraved race. Often we underestimate our depravity. On this continent, with its Puritan heritage, Primness remains part of the get-ahead game, but one will find that affectation everywhere. Only in the locker rooms (and powder rooms, I’ve heard) is the truth sometimes told; though even there, admixed with holier-than-thou affirmations.

Apart from its value in the salvation of souls, the Catholic Confessional has certain prudential uses. One is invited to tell the truth, not about others, but about oneself; and to a priest trained to expect it; and through whom, alone, absolution will be conducted. A good priest (and they are not so rare) is not there to collect excuses. He is there to hear patiently what you did. The “you” in this formula may, from sheer embarrassment, get out of the habit of doing just those things that will need to be confessed.

The Ten Commandments are all well and good. Not one suggests that the recognition of reality is sinful. They should be upheld in their totality. They, and the other wingéd instruments of Christian faith, should be taken with deadly seriousness against the gravitational pull of Hell.

But the truth is not only appalling; often it is quite ridiculous. In addition to the apprehension of fire and brimstone, it requires light humour.

We are not told by our religion to “command the good” (as in e.g. Islam), but to embody it; to be good ourselves by the command not of humans but of God. It is a pity that, in our contemporary confusion, we have become so accustomed to getting it backwards. This has the disadvantage that it leads to catastrophe, as the social and political order becomes a tyranny, or falls apart.