Are We Too Good to Win?

That’s Joshua Trevino‘s question as he reflects on our tendency to think that all disagreements can be addressed through dialogue. I’m reminded of Churchill’s motto to The Gathering Storm: “How the West Through Their Unwisdom, Carelessness, and Good Nature Allowed the Wicked to Rearm.” Our virtues may well prevent us from taking necessary action while it is easy. This raises two important questions: (a) Are the virtues compatible? Perhaps a good nature leads inevitably to unwisdom in the face of threats. (b) Can the good guys win without immense sacrifice? Does a good nature lead to postponement of the day of reckoning until the balance of power shifts in favor of evil?

Trevino observes that enemies of the United States always seem to prefer Democrats to Republicans, and infers from that one ought to be a Republican. Certainly, Democrats have become the party of postponement.

One flaw: The quotation he cites,

If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? But if I am for myself alone, what am I? And if not now, when?

is of course from Rabbi Hillel, in the Babylonian Talmud, Pirke Avot (The Ethics of the Fathers), 1:14.

One thought on “Are We Too Good to Win?

  1. Nietzsche: “Consistently with slave morality, a breath of disdain finally also comes to be attached to the ‘good’ of this morality — it may be a slight and benevolent disdain — because within the slaves’ way of thinking the good man has in any event to be a harmless man: he is good-natured, easy to deceive, perhaps a bit stupid, un bonhomme. Wherever slave morality comes to predominate, language exhibits a tendency to bring the words ‘good’ and ‘stupid’ closer to each other.”

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