In the final paragraph of his otherwise disparaging report on the 8/28 Rally, the editor/writer Clive Crook unexpectedly displayed what appeared to be a shred of common human decency. As I remarked then, I saw in that a spark of hope. Quite a number of others felt likewise. So many felt that way in fact, that I think we affected Richard Hernandez (Wretchard) enough to soften his initially jaundiced view of that man's comments.
And then I awoke this morning with a nagging feeling that the editor/writer with whom I was siding may have been taunting us. I was now more inclined toward Wretchard's original feelings.
You see, even the most wretched of members of the American country class have a tendency to project their own general (more or less) decency on members of the ruling class and their operatives.
What I'm talking about today is our need to think twice before will succumb to our earnest desire to project in that manner (do unto others as thou would have done to thee) so as to better balance that with our need to reward and withhold reward based on merit. For where we are too lax in maintaining the balance, we should not be surprised to find ourselves up to our eyeballs in a muck that is the consequences of demerit after demerit overlooked.
Here is what I wrote to Wretchard with a few new insights added. Please forgive me if I left in some things that I've already mentioned above:
I now think that your initial instinctive wariness concerning the attitude of Mr. Crook may have been correct.
I’ve had second thoughts about what I posted yesterday wherein I agreed with the others and with your own reconsideration of Crook’s comments at the end of his commentary on the Restoring Honor Rally. This is even though I wrote The Battle for a Human Soul.
The writers of the Sound of Music still had the NAZI era fresh in their brains. They knew the behavior of “the people Hitler had been waiting for. ” Our contemporary world of conservatives does not remember that as well as you do Wretchard. This could be because of your grittier experiences that many of us here lack. I'm convinced you've witnessed more darkness of the human soul than most.
- The Sound of Music scene in the convent cemetary, where the von Trapps have been discovered by the boy interest of his oldest daughter, now Hitler Youth, Rolfe.
- Rolfe has not yet blown the whistle, confused by the mixed signals in his head.
- Captain von Trapp (Christopher Plummer) is hoping that he can convince Rolfe to look the other way.
- At the point where the Captain thinks is right, he tells Rolfe “you’re not one of them; you’ll never be one of them.”
- That triggers something the NAZI indoctrinators anticipated, because it’s there that Rolfe blows the whistle.
CS Lewis spoke in 1943 of Conditioners. "The process which, if not checked, will abolish Man goes on apace among Communists and Democrats no less than among Fascists."
Mr. Crook could be like Rolfe there. The Conditioners have been indoctrinating him for quite some time. We are witness to the contradictions going off in his head.
But I fear it is far worse, where your original take on his words was focused. Mr. Crook may well have been mocking the sensibilities behind “Restoring Honor” (an element in your initial skepticism?) by telling that tale of the cafe denizens acting mean toward the little girl. Because that fits the purposes of the Conditioners. If tomorrow Mr. Crook turns again to please those for whom he employs his pen, he will find a way to dash the hopes of many not only here at Belmont Club. And another chunk of our country class will be dispirited.
Oh yes -- being mean fits the behavior of the now gloating and brazen Ruling Class. They aim to be much worse yet.
Yes, I think the inner party may still treat him harshly for showing a momentary spark of human decency. It would serve them well to make an example of Mr. Crook. He's only a tool, like old Winston was portrayed. He's not inner party material from the looks of him.
We BCers may be making the same mistake we in the country class tend to make too often. Viz.: Projecting our own decency, our humanity, onto our adversaries.
So what if that soul is really lost?
So nothing can be done. For then Mr. Crook is already lost, like that likable boy Rolfe, and unlike the husband of CS Lewis' heroine in That Hideous Strength (Lewis' novel which runs parallel to The Abolition of Man).
For then what Mr. Crook had written yesterday was not his own human decency slipping out, it was a ploy, a mocking of us who saw a spark of hope in what looked like his struggle to shuck all the postmodernist dreck that's been pumped into him.
We just let him go and use this example as a warning to others who might be tempted to go join his Conditioners.