4 years ago: Kindness and necessity

October 20, 2009, here on slacktivist: Kindness and necessity

Kindness seems less robust than, say, a word like justice. But while it may seem to mean less, it can also mean more. It’s possible to treat someone justly without also treating them kindly, but if one is to be kind, one must also be just. There’s no such thing, after all, as a kindly injustice. Nor is it possible to accept or allow injustice while still being, in any meaningful way, kind. (Stonewall Jackson, the eighth-grader’s history book says, was “kind” to his slaves. No. No he wasn’t. If he had been kind to them, then they would not have remained his slaves.)

The eighth-grader is now a senior. I am old.

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  • k

    The original article is an example of where my disconnect with Christianity is. I like and admire it when it’s expressed as “be kind to others,” but then things like “piety” come in that I can’t make any sense of.

  • Carstonio

    The kindness attributed to Stonewall Jackson would have been paternalistic. I don’t know if Jackson himself believed that slavery was natural or best for blacks, but that’s inherent in the defense of him.

  • Jonna

    Of course it’s possible to be kind without being just. For example, returning an escaped slave to Mr. Jackson would be being kind to him while being unjust. Or, more recently, the Catholic Church was being extremely kind and considerate to its child molesting clergy while failing at being just quite spectacularly.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Stonewall Jackson, the eighth-grader’s history book says, was “kind” to his slaves.

    It could weakly be argued that by their (the South’s) standards, an individual slave-owner could be kinder than the norm, but that doesn’t obviate the fact that it’s still within the context of a fundamental injustice.

  • dongisselbeck

    Of course the predator class believe justice is whatever the powerful want (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melian_dialogue). One of the reasons I still hang on to Christianity is that it claims God did just the opposite.