Hey! Waitaminnit! That’s me!
Reader Joe Wagner writes:
I stumbled across an old post of yours where someone was defending Cliven Bundy by saying “first they came for the rancher and I said nothing.” We all know the quote that comes from. Is it just me or does it sound morally relativistic? Like we should evaluate things based solely on concern for ourselves?
So I wrote a short piece defending the Moral Law against Godwin’s Law. Hopefully it’s okay that I linked to your post.
It’s true that we are obliged to defend the Moral Law whether it is in our immediate interest or not. But lots of souls are so filled with torpor that you can no more start with disinterested love of the God than you can demand that a baby eat a sirloin steak.
“First they came for the Trade unionists… etc.” is no, first and foremost a warning for the future but a record of the past: a rueful reflection that says to us “Those who do not learn from history will be doomed to repeat it.” It is directed not to fully morally awake living saints, but to people so sunk in selfishness that the only moral appeals they can respond to initially are ones that say “If you don’t help this guy, the same terrible thing is coming your way next.” It is akin to an very imperfect act of contrition: not nothing, but not all that great either. The hope, of course, is that the person will one day grow past needing t be beaten with sticks in order to be good and will active seek the good of the other with true agape. But Jesus, not being proud, is willing to stoop down and meet us selfish sinners where we are, thank God.