Sympathy for the Devil

The Sydney Morning Herald called for “empathy” for the terrorist who committed the recent hostage-taking in a cafe.  Hillary Clinton, too, has recently called for empathy for our enemies.

I’m reminded of something G K Chesterton wrote:

The modern world is not evil; in some ways the modern world is far too good. It is full of wild and wasted virtues. When a religious scheme is shattered (as Christianity was shattered at the Reformation), it is not merely the vices that are let loose. The vices are, indeed, let loose, and they wander and do damage. But the virtues are let loose also; and the virtues wander more wildly, and the virtues do more terrible damage. The modern world is full of the old Christian virtues gone mad. The virtues have gone mad because they have been isolated from each other and are wandering alone. Thus some scientists care for truth; and their truth is pitiless. Thus some humanitarians only care for pity; and their pity (I am sorry to say) is often untruthful. For example, Mr. Blatchford attacks Christianity because he is mad on one Christian virtue: the merely mystical and almost irrational virtue of charity. He has a strange idea that he will make it easier to forgive sins by saying that there are no sins to forgive. Mr. Blatchford is not only an early Christian, he is the only early Christian who ought really to have been eaten by lions. For in his case the pagan accusation is really true: his mercy would mean mere anarchy. He really is the enemy of the human race– because he is so human.

(Orthodoxy, 1908)

16 thoughts on “Sympathy for the Devil”

  1. Sigh … now we must brace ourselves to endure the fallout from this tragedy; the non-stop whining about the so-far-undetected-backlash against Muslims, that Islam is a religion of peace, and that the Sydney lone-wolf terr wasn’t a “real” Muslim.

  2. Real Muslims just massacred 132 children in Pakistan. I’m sure we’ll soon be hearing about how the drone strikes caused it all.

  3. Gurray – US drone strikes have killed thousands of innocent people. Our intervention in Iraq has lead to mass slaughter which will probably end with the almost total elimination of Iraqi Christians who have lived there for some 2,000 years. We have a massive amount of blood on our hands.

  4. Jim, I think you have the perpetrators confused. We overthrew a tyrannical dictatorship. It was radical muslims who then went on a brutal killing spree, slaughtering thousands, maybe tens of thousands of innocents. It is they who are killing the Christians. It is muslims with the blood on their hands. I know it’s difficult, but try to keep that straight.

  5. And meanwhile news media outlets to lessen the shock of seeing pictures of people jumping out 100 story windows, soften the impact of 9/11 each year.

  6. Hiteshew – The Maliki government we put into power turned out to be both extremely brutal and massively corrupt but much less competent, secular and tolerant than Hussein’s regime. Now it seems that what’s left of Iraq will be controlled by Iran.

    You complain about radical Moslems. Hussein was one of the most secular rulers in the Arab world. Religious minorities and women were far better treated under his rule than now. His regime was also a balance to Iranian power in the Gulf.

    The stupidity of our decision to invade Iraq is mind-boggling.

  7. “We have a massive amount of blood on our hands.”

    Yes, we have the blood of everyone who might have been a leftist voter or Muslim slave or concubine. We are the perpetrators of the colonization of the western hemisphere so that, instead of being eaten by Caribs, the Arawaks were subjected to diseases that they had never encountered.

    Our intervention in Iraq kept the wrong people out of wood chippers so we must pay the price and suffer.

    The left is never going to run out of victims or perpetrators.

  8. “The stupidity of our decision to invade Iraq is mind-boggling.”

    Yes, we have always had problems deciding the people who kills us are really our friends.

  9. >Hussein was one of the most secular rulers in the Arab world.<

    nah saddam was his own mohammed. same cult different figurehead.

  10. >>The left is never going to run out of victims or perpetrators.

    I read an an essay by a former leftist who wrote that leftists divide all people into three categories: Oppressor, Victim, Hero/Liberator. They each seek an identity of Victim or Hero/Liberator. If you don’t fit either of those, you must be the Oppressor. It helps explain their hatred of Israel. It’s the default condition.

  11. It’s a strange empathy we seem to be called on to feel, loveless empathy. We should love our enemy, which is why we should seek to build a world that actually works for them. I can understand the frustrations of someone else, even walk a mile in their shoes, but if I do not love them, I will not seek to build a durable solution that eliminates the problem. To do so is too hard, too expensive, takes too much time. We love the europeans because so many of us are their cousins and so we invested in Europe in a profound way that transformed the continent. It’s harder to love the arab because blood ties are weaker, weaker still for Afghanistan. And so we leave without accomplishing the necessary evolution into a sustainable society compatible with modernity. Predictably, they are falling back into bad, old habits and it is entirely foreseeable that we’ll be back again and again until the job is finally done.

    Turning to the specific Sydney Morning Herald editorial, it misunderstands forgiveness, which we are called on to do when someone who wrongs us repents. There is no demand for repentance before forgiveness can flow. It is also weirdly unempathic. Instead of actually finding out the facts of the terrorist’s life and seeking empathy via an engagement with the reality of that life we see the editorialists manufacturing a life to their own convenience. This is empathy with a fictional character, not the real life gunman.

    The love for our enemies, first of all must lie in the defeat of their wicked schemes because their success would condemn them to hell. Subsequent to that it should express itself in the attempt (and hopefully a successful one) to create a situation where such wickedness ceases to happen. This is a huge task and a very expensive one. We’re going to need to grow our economy to acquire the resources to do this and free up a lot of labor to accomplish the task. In no way, shape, or form is the global economy up to the challenge at present.

  12. There are some interesting comments at Diplomad 2.0

    The feeling here is quiet anger and a resolve to not let the evil of islam keep infecting our country. The usual suspects in the lefty press have been trotting out tame Imams to say these actions are against islam blah blah, but our PM, Tony Abbot and the preimer of NSW are calling it like it is. You are pretty spot on with your observations, I am hoping this will see a severe reduction in refugees from muslim countries. The cafe was full of lawyers when it was attacked so you are right on that count too.

    We’ll see how that works out. At least they don’t have Obama running things. The Aussies and Canadians seem to have gotten wise while we plod on with the Progs.

  13. Another week, another outrage. Every week it’s something. External rats, or those breeding onboard. I keep wondering, what the hell is going to come of it, will there be a turning point as there was with Imperial Japan? Barbarism is not new, but the tolerance of it is something unfathomable. Yesterday, someone had the courage to bring up the school massacre. A couple of the group became upset and walked off. Not because the event occurred, but because we were discussing it! I’ve seen this countless times in the last thirteen years.

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