by Jon Sanders
Director of the Center for Food, Power, and Life, Research Editor, John Locke Foundation
Having taken a year off, the Rude Brood is back. What you think is a time to gather together and break bread together in thankfulness, they think of as a time to berate and harangue a captive audience.
The magazine formerly known as Gentlemen’s Quarterly that now eschews gentlemanly behavior and so goes by “GQ” has an article entitled (they don’t deserve the clicks) “It’s Your Civic Duty to Ruin Thanksgiving by Bringing Up Trump.” Other news outlets similarly want to help readers ruin gatherings of loved ones with political tantrums.
This, they believe, will persuade people to adopt their politics. Actually, that may not be true. They may merely wish to shout at something other than the sky, to perform an act of spleen-venting to their forgetful and hard-of-hearing god of signaled virtue, which they can recount later to their peers and agree they have ritually cleansed themselves of contact with Those People.
Yes, their victims are captive, in a sense. They hold themselves bound to the sense of civility, the self-sacrifice for comity, and the long-suffering that comes with love, the appreciation of which these smug, gormless boors obviously lack.
Love. As Peter wrote, “love covers a multitude of sins.” When you love someone, you put up with their bad actions because you intuitively know the love relationship is greater. (Maybe the action is being rude during the gathering; maybe it is holding an opposite political view.) You have the right priorities toward each other and toward shared company.
This problem isn’t new, by the way. There’s a reason why it has long been counseled to avoid religion and politics in polite company.
Even the ancients dealt with it. Plutarch discussed the contemporary problem of “philosophizing” at the table, which, he said, “annoyed most people” and destroyed the common “aim of the shared space.”
What’s the better way, in Plutarch’s view? Love, of course.