An Example of Harmful Risk-Aversion

In the comments of the previous post on why I will remain anonymous[1] SunshineMary asked:

Cane, I’m a little confused at the two things you are comparing. The liberal examples you gave are examples of corrupt cronyism. Why should conservatives emulate that?

Because if it’s not corrupt it’s not cronyism, and if we actually are correct, then it’s not corrupt. Let’s compare a couple of fictitious (but common) examples of what I’m talking about.

Libby Left Makes Good

Libby Left is in marketing, and pro-abortion. On Saturday she goes out to counter-protest a pro-life group picketing outside a Planned Parenthood. Enraged by their presence, Libby crosses the street to the pro-lifers to shout slurs directly in their faces. This is so invigorating to her that she completely loses her senses and begins to spit on them. A brawl ensues. The police and media are called, and Libby is among several arrested and makes the headlines of the local rags as the instigator.

Monday she returns to work, and Sindy–Libby’s boss–asks her all about the experience. Regretfully, for Sindy, public pressure mounts on their company, and she is forced to let Libby go for the sake of the company’s public image. Not only does Sindy give Libby a stellar recommendation, she calls a few friends for drinks and they find her a job at another marketing agency. A month later, no one remembers Libby was fired for acting like a barbarian, but the story of her arrest–spitting and all–makes her a hero at parties.

Connor Right Gets Isolated

Connor Right is a facilities manager for a chain of Christian bookstores. Saturday he and his wife participated in a pro-life protest against the opening of a new Planned Parenthood office in his city. While he was there, a crazed counter-protester raged at him for ten minutes; culminating when she purposefully splattered his wife’s face with the mucus her yelling had generated. Connor retaliates, and shoves her down onto the grass. The police, having been summoned, witness the spitting and Connor’s retort, and both he and the spitter are arrested. Connor makes bail, and the news.

The following Monday, Connor’s fellow church member and boss, Sinclair, has security meet Connor at the door. He is escorted off the property and told his belongings will be delivered to his house. Frantic for his family’s welfare, Connor calls his boss for an explanation. Sinclair simply says, “You can’t hit a girl, Connor.” He replies that he knows what he did was wrong, but Connor’s pleas only encourage his boss that he’s doing the right thing. Sinclair sums up his obligatory Christian charity with, “You should have known better. I’ll pray for you.”, and they never speak again.

Why?

In neither case did the involved party transgress the values of the associated groups, nor the relationships between themselves and their employers, nor the friendships. The difference is Sindy values Libby’s association, shared principles, and has no problem extending Libby mercy to re-cover from an error committed while upholding those principles.

Sinclair values his own sense of justice and order above all else; including Connor’s association and shared principles…and Connor’s family.[2] He abandons any actual charity or redemption for the appearance of holiness; that others will not think he is like Connor. More importantly: It’s really important to Sinclair that others don’t believe he is like Connor; whether he is or not, and whether they will think it or not simply because he helps Connor find a new job.

In this age, there is very little that can be done about the pressure the media puts on a company, and it’s not fair to shut down a whole company just to keep on one man (even for the sake of his family). Many of those other workers have families, too. But that’s not the issue. The problem isn’t that sometimes men get knocked down; it’s that conservatives don’t want to make it their business to help those men back up; not even those who are repentant. They offer nothing but wishes.

Further reading:

The Parable of the Good Samaritan

The Parable of the Wicked Servant

The Introduction to the Book of Job (specifically)

If the Jews had answered that question wrongly they might have lost all their after influence in human history. They might have sunk even down to the level of modern well educated society. For when once people have begun to believe that prosperity is the reward of virtue their next calamity is obvious. If prosperity is regarded as the reward of virtue it will be regarded as the symptom of virtue. Men will leave off the heavy task of making good men successful. They will adopt the easier task of making out successful men good. This, which has happened throughout modern commerce and journalism, is the ultimate Nemesis of the wicked optimism of the comforters of Job. If the Jews could be saved from it, the Book of Job saved them. The Book of Job is chiefly remarkable, as I have insisted throughout, for the fact that it does not end in a way that is conventionally satisfactory. Job is not told that his misfortunes were due to his sins or a part of any plan for his improvement.

But in the prologue we see Job tormented not because he was the worst of men, but because he was the best. It is the lesson of the whole work that man is most comforted by paradoxes. Here is the very darkest and strangest of the paradoxes; and it is by all human testimony the most reassuring. I need not suggest what a high and strange history awaited this paradox of the best man in the worst fortune. I need not say that in the freest and most philosophical sense there is one Old Testament figure who is truly a type; or say what is prefigured in the wounds of Job.

[1] I will say that I don’t fear being outed, or doxxed. This wasn’t always the case (I think I wrote about that incident somewhere before), but it’s ultimately in God’s hands. The point isn’t whether I have faith that God can or will preserve what He wants preserve, but how I do not believe we are actually willing to participate.

[2]That’s an important point because, generally speaking, those of the conservative mindset are more likely to be married and have children. A conservative, then, is objectively more valuable because he represents many more people than just himself. Sinclair’s arrogance is more valuable to him than 4.1 people!

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17 thoughts on “An Example of Harmful Risk-Aversion

  1. You’ve totally hit the nail on the head with this and the previous article. That’s the biggest weakness of all the alternative right-o-spheres combined. The readyness to abandon a fallen comrade out of cowardice and lack of principles and charity. Sadly, it’s not much different in Germany, where conservatives will happily join in demonizing those one centimeter to the right of them, hoping to escae the wrath of the left themselves one more time. It’s absolutely pathetic.

    We should take our beliefs a bit more seriously or shut up. Plain and simple.

  2. Well, Elspeth directed me here and since no one has yet commented, although this topic is of tantamount importance, I thought I’d take the time to tell you how much I appreciated your last two articles. Hopefully they will be republished by others and receive lot’s of link-love.

    Now I’ll bid my farewell, before we clash again. (My immunce defence reacts badly to some flavours of American Protestantism).

    Best Wishes!

  3. Sinclair values his own sense of justice and order above all else; including Connor’s association and shared principles…and Connor’s family.[2] He abandons any actual charity or redemption for the appearance of holiness; that others will not think he is like Connor. More importantly: It’s really important to Sinclair that others don’t believe he is like Connor; whether he is or not, and whether they will think it or not simply because he helps Connor find a new job.

    OK, this makes a bit of sense to me, but I still wonder if the two situations are equivalent. Liberal sins are not taken terribly seriously, and Sindy didn’t take much of a risk in continuing her association with Libby. However, if word got out that Sinclair had had anything to do with Connor – conservatism is, after all, seen as somewhat evil and suspicious – it could have cost Sinclair his job, too. So it isn’t surprising in our current socio-political environment that liberals seem to be more close-knit. What if they were the ones who were constantly harassed and harangued? Would they still be as willing to stick together? I see a case for this being an issue of cowardice (and possibly justified cowardice?).

    I wrote a password-protected post this summer which you may have read. Afterward, I received emailed offers of assistance from various readers who have a great deal of expertise in dealing with the kinds of harassment I was on the receiving end of. There were offers to assist me in returning the doxxing favor, for example, among other things that needn’t be gone into here. I declined those kind offers (for now anyway 🙂 ), but I was touched that readers would be willing to take the time and trouble to assist me. Granted, the label “conservative” probably doesn’t fit us very well, since many of us are so far to the right of conservative that we can barely even see “conservative” way off in the distance to our left, so maybe we are a different case altogether.

    Anyway, this was a thought-provoking couple of posts.

  4. @SSM

    What if they were the ones who were constantly harassed and harangued? Would they still be as willing to stick together?

    I believe so, yes. Because they think conservatives (again: I’m talking about the sort of conservative cast of mind–not necessarily politics per se.) are evil they simply don’t care what conservatives think. Besides, they know conservatives won’t hound them to death.

    I see a case for this being an issue of cowardice (and possibly justified cowardice?).

    Cowardice is never justified. Prudence sometimes is.

    I wrote a password-protected post this summer which you may have read. Afterward, I received emailed offers of assistance from various readers who have a great deal of expertise in dealing with the kinds of harassment I was on the receiving end of. There were offers to assist me in returning the doxxing favor, for example, among other things that needn’t be gone into here. I declined those kind offers (for now anyway 🙂 ), but I was touched that readers would be willing to take the time and trouble to assist me.

    I have never read any protected posts, of anyone. I figure if they want me to read it they will send me the password. That has never happened.

    As far as the offers of help you received: There is a reason I made the conservatives men in my example. They are both less likely to offer help to–and less likely to receive help from–another man. Some of this is because men are more likely to have a conservative cast of mind. Some from believing themselves to be the heroes that they believe other men never are.

  5. Oh, I thought I’d sent you the password. I’ll do so now so that you can read it should you have any interest in doing so.

    There is a reason I made the conservatives men in my example. They are both less likely to offer help to–and less likely to receive help from–another man.

    Oh, okay, I see what you’re saying.

  6. Germany…elspeth…hmmm….

    Cowardice is never justified. Prudence sometimes is.

    Telling the difference though is amazingly hard once rationalization kicks in though.

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