Your moral hero advises, nay, commands that you love your enemies. ‘Would that include political enemies?’ you fearfully ask your moral hero. Your moral hero replies, ‘Yes, political enemies too.’
Here you might abandon your moral hero on the spot as a strange subject for moral veneration, as an oddball, as an inveterate dreamer. Or you might stick with your moral hero, even in these flights of impracticable perfectionist ethics.
You decide to stick with your moral hero. You think your moral hero is on to something when he advises love of enemies. You shout Aves and note the superiority of your moral hero’s enemy ethic.
Then, upon scrutiny, you realize your moral hero was not able to live by his own rule. Your moral hero did not love his enemies. In fact, your moral hero berated, vituperated, imprecated and anathematized his enemies, calling them white washed tombs full of dead men’s bones, calling them blind leaders of the blind. And worse. Your moral hero was full of ‘Woe to you’ for his enemies.
So, you begin to follow your moral hero into comparable rhetorical groves. You start to assail your enemies. It feels right. It feels good.
You now think the love of enemies motto was a calculated extravagance by your moral hero, a piece of oratorical sleight of hand, a sales pitch ringing bright in the resonant sound bite, a smiling maxim tagged to the text of a hilltop sermon, but nothing in earnest.
Since your moral hero serenely demolished his own code by his own actions toward his own enemies, you reason that you are free to hate your enemies, especially those of the political phylum.
Your moral hero, you reason, has practically commanded it.
Featured image ‘Hate’ by Rob Swatski’ via Flickr