Sowing into Overreach and Weakness UPDATED

My Tuesday column is up over at First Things. It occurred to me that one must stretch out in order to sow seeds of change, but eventually the stretch becomes an overreach that ends up perverting and weakening a movement, whether it’s feminism, labor unions, even grassroots efforts or churches.

On some level, what is weak knows that it is weak; it understands that foundationally, it cannot support the weight of its own ideas, much less endure an opposing wind. And because weakness knows this, it goes out of its way to deflect the opposition by sowing confusion, chaos, guilt, fear. These are the by-products of weakness and its attendant insecurity. They are the telltale signs of weakness.

When feminists must torture a liturgy to expunge all male pronouns from ancient prayers in order to protect their “strong” sensibilities from being struck too harshly with equally strong male references, they are exhibiting insecurity, and so they sow the weakness of enforced conformity through “patriarchal” guilt. When they declare that a woman cannot be “real” unless she embraces a pro-abortion position, or they bring lawsuits against others for merely daring to consider that the different chemistry within the sexes might foment genuinely different interests, they are exhibiting their insecurity and sowing weakness through social intimidation and fear.

In the end, their over-reaction to dissenting views reveals that the foundations upon which they have built their philosophies are too weak to bear a shifting wind, or a thought out-of-line. What rises up in response to guilt, to fear and intimidation is the strength of genuine resolve—the sort of resolve that initiated and drove the feminist movement itself, until it became entrenched, and then too-comfortable, and then over-reaching.

But don’t think this is a just me picking on feminists. The truth is, this descent into cynical overreach is all-too-common to every movement. And that should sound a few cautionary notes, even to politicians and the Tea Party. Become too comfortable and entrenched and you foment stagnation and end up relying on cynical manipulations to insure the status-quo.

Cynicism is weakness; it is the easiest thing in the world to cultivate, and it brings forth a bumper crop of bravado and smugness, neither of which can stand, when strength rises up.

Read it all, here.

UPDATE: Another, awful example of weakness and manifests as aggression: CBS reporter Lara Logan suffers vicious assault. Let’s keep her in our prayers.

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  • Anonymous

    The Tea Party have such a herculean task ahead of them to roll back spending and reduce the size and scope of government, with the democrats, media and even much of the republican party against them, there’s not much chance of them over reaching any time soon.

    Unfortunately.

  • Bill

    The Tea Party people are mostly part of the Republican Party.

  • Joseph Marshall

    This time I thought I’d give your readers a rest and comment over on the article. The substance of it is that I agree that demands for ideological purity simply don’t work in the long run, especially in a Democracy where you have to persuade somebody besides you and your like minded friends. But I stand in awe at how you reached such a sensible conclusion with the flawed examples you used to support it.

  • Ymarsakar

    Decentralized security vs centralized security. This has been an ongoing conflict since the beginning of humanity.

  • Anonymous

    Not the establishment or so-called leadership.

  • dry valleys

    Not to mention the opposition of American public, very few of whom have any appetite for “libertarianism”, especially when it happens in practice rather than in theory.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    A slight quibble here;

    Lara Logan wasn’t just “assaulted”, she was raped and severely beaten and probably would have been killed, if some soldiers and Egyptian women hadn’t come to her rescue.

    Better not to use euphemisms, here.

  • TerryeC51

    Look at the civil right movement. It started with ordinary men and women marching to get the vote and here we are today with race hucksters like Al Sharpton. Sad but true.

  • TerryeC51

    Look at the civil right movement. It started with ordinary men and women marching to get the vote and here we are today with race hucksters like Al Sharpton. Sad but true.

  • TerryeC51

    I don’t know that it is a euphemism, the statement from CBS used the word assault. That covers a lot of territory.

  • TerryeC51

    A lot of the Tea Party are working with those Republicans and if they can’t work with them, then they will find it almost impossible to get anything accomplished.

  • TerryeC51

    A lot of the Tea Party are working with those Republicans and if they can’t work with them, then they will find it almost impossible to get anything accomplished.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    The woman was raped, and severely beaten. This is something more serious than “Assault” (Which could be two people fighting outside a bar, or even one person slapping another—less serious stuff than what she suffered.)

    Using a vague term that “covers a lot of territory” instead of saying what actually happend is using euphemism.

  • TerryeC51

    I am saying that the Anchoress was just repeating what was in the press release and not it is not a euphemism. It is a description of a criminal act.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    (Sigh) Terrye, I’ll certainly grant you that the Anchoress was just repeating what the press said. Whoever said it first, I thought it needed a slight correction.

    The crime that occurred was a prolonged gang rape, and a severe beating—not just “Assault” (which can cover a number of acts.)

    That’s a euphemism. It’s trying to sugarcoat what actually happened, kinda like saying “Mistakes were made.”; there was “assault”.

    [Oh, for crying out loud: RAPE RAPE RAPE RAPE RAPE RAPE RAPE. There. Now you have what you apparently need. I think it's pretty clear what happened, I think everyone knows what happened, and I think you've read me long enough to know that I have a story of my own, and I prefer not to give space to this sort of thing, which is why you NEVER see me writing about kids who are being abused, or salacious stories about missing blonds. You don't like the "euphemism?" I'm sorry if it doesn't cover enough specific territory for you, but you know what RAPE IS AN ASSAULT. A "sustained sexual assault" is Rape. Everybody knows it. This is not "sugarcoating" it is taking what everyone knows happened and preventing those who find it titillating from getting their thrill. And don't tell me there aren't people out there like that, because there are. But here we go: RAPE RAPE RAPE RAPE RAPE. Wow, let's find out how many and for how long! Only doing THAT will serve the truth. Even better - let's get Logan out there and make her describe every moment of what she endured. THEN we'll have the whole story - until we have THAT, nobody knows nothin'. Maybe a better idea: just stop arguing and pray for the woman!. Because you know...she was RAPED and she will need prayers. - admin]

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Whatever, Terrye, whatever. I’ve explained more than once why I find it euphemistic—not going to keep doing it all day. This is getting into word quibbling.

    And, yes, the Anchoress was just repeating what the press release said. I do not blame her, I blame the press release.

    (Just a bit more quibbling. . .a criminal act can also cover a lot of territory, from shoplifting a candy bar, to rape, murder, grand theft, what have you. Saying a criminal act occurred, really tells you nothing. In these troubulous times, better to say what actually happened. I also note that a lot of reports leave out the fact that the mob shouted, “Jew! Jew! Jew!” at Logan.)