Saturday, September 23, 2017

High Holy Days

Maggie's Farm, Powerline, and City Journal have all had articles deploring the practice in many synagogues of using Rosh Hashanah to condemn others under the mask of personal repentance. Therefore, I think it's a hot topic this year and will note that I have written on this before, linking to CS Lewis's essay "The Dangers of National Repentance." The closest thing to a the full essay can be found here. Summary quote:
The first and fatal charm of national repentance is, therefore, the encouragement it gives us to turn from the bitter task of repenting our own sins to the more congenial one of bewailing–but first, of denouncing–the conduct of others. If it were clear to the young that this is what he is doing, no doubt he would remember the law of charity. Unfortunately, the very terms in which national repentance is recommended to him conceal its true nature. By a dangerous figure of speech, he calls the Government not ‘they’ but ‘we’. And since, as penitents, we are not encouraged to be charitable to our own sins, nor to give ourselves the benefit of any doubt, a Government which is called ‘we’ is ipso facto placed beyond the sphere of charity or even of justice. You can say anything you please about it. You can indulge in the popular vice of detraction without restraint, and yet feel all the time that you are practicing contrition. A group of such young penitents will say, ‘Let us repent our national sins’; what they mean is, ‘Let us attribute to our neighbour (even our Christian neighbour) in the Cabinet, whenever we disagree with him, every abominable motive that Satan can suggest to our fancy.’


David Foster said...

It is an excellent essay, and very relevant to our current situation. I've mentioned it several times in posts, for example, here:

Is 'Liberal Guilt' a Myth?

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Yes, I remembered that, and reread it when I was looking through my own posts on the subject.

RichardJohnson said...

High Holy Days
That phrase reminded me of the beginning words of Matty Groves. Joan Baez's version:

Heigh ho, heigh ho, holiday, the best day of the year
Little Matty Groves to church did go
Some holy words to hear
Some holy words to hear.

Fairport Convention's version:
A holiday, a holiday
And the first one of the year
Lord Donald's wife came into the church
The Gospel for to hear

Holiday- holy day. That is a connection I had forgotten about- or had never made- until rehearing Matty Groves.

Back to the topic. I am reminded of the those on the other side of the aisle telling us to "repent of your racism..your phobias.. your bigotries," yet they make the assumption that THEY are free of same. In part, they do so because they believe evil to be institutional, not internal.

Tom Lehrer, in his patter before National Brotherhood Week, informed us "There are people who do not love their fellow man and I HATE people like that."

RichardJohnson said...

Matty Groves.