My title is a quote from Jaelene Hinkle’s Twitter profile. Who’s she? A great soccer player who would probably have made the US Women’s National Team….except she would not wear the rainbow jersey for “Pride” week. Why not? Jaelene believes the Bible, which includes more admonitions against pride–the foundational sin–than any other sin. If you’re a Bible believing Christian, the matter of pride is simple: pride was Adam and Eve eating the fruit that God had forbidden, because the serpent promised they would become like God; pride humbled Israel, Nebuchadnezzar, and Solomon; pride was condemned by every Old Testament prophet and most of the apostles; pride was condemned by Jesus Christ himself. But who cares what the Bible says if you want to justify your pride? Certainly not Ashlyn Harris, one of the lesbian team members, who accused Ms. Hinkle of “bigotry”. Certainly not Ali Krieger, who is the “fiancee” of Ashlyn. Ali’s brother defended the team against any implications of anti Christian bigotry by saying “the team even has inclusive Bible studies.” Uh huh, what kind of bible study is that? So the lesbian team members, the coach, and the other pride promoters were offended by a team member who put her relationship with Christ first, though of course they call that bigotry.
Theodore Dalrymple writing The Age of Humbug in Takimag.com: “It is the obligation of citizens in a free society to be able to take offense without demanding protection from the laws, in other words to bear with tolerance the opinions of others that they consider repellent or disgusting. If we treat being offended as a harm in the same way that being run over and injured is a harm, we are destined for the tyranny of enforced silence.” Which is now the case in Progressive companies like Google, in enclaves of privilege, like most college campuses, and in woke cities should any hapless Trump supporters be caught wearing a Scarlet Letters hat, i.e. MAGA. Obviously being able to take offense without demanding protection from the laws is not an obligation of citizens in our society, and especially not in Canada nor Western Europe. The key word here is “free”, which should mean volitional in the sense of no government penalties for speaking your mind. Since taking offense is perhaps the second most popular spectator sport, behind the NFL, it’s highly questionable whether our citizens appreciate their freedom.
Mr. Dalrymple continues: “While those who are, or rather claim to be, made of psychological eggshells, such that they are seriously harmed by hearing something that they consider offensive or shocking (usually, in the modern world, something against the fleeting orthodoxy of the moment), requiring therefore special protection or privileges for themselves, they are also rather proud of their alleged friability, because it shows how very good they are. This is because only a person who feels things deeply can be offended to the point of suffering harm. Our lack of resilience is a sign of our superior sensibility.
“A hypocrite is a person who espouses one ideal and practices something else. Except for those very few, rather frightening people among us who behave with absolute and unyielding conformity to their principles, we are all to an extent hypocrites. A humbug, by contrast, is a person who claims more exalted, deeper or supposedly more virtuous feelings than he actually has. He is the kind of person who claims not to be able to sleep at night because of the situation in Outer Mongolia. Hypocrites have ideals that they fail, more or less egregiously, to live up to. Humbugs claim ideals that are beyond the possibility of people, or at least the vast majority of people, genuinely to feel. There is overlap between the two, of course, and they are not mutually exclusive. But the humbug is far more dangerous. At worst the hypocrite is a rogue; but the humbug is so wedded both to his conception of himself and to his attempt to deceive others that he does not in the least care about the practical consequences of his humbuggery when it is made the foundation of policy. Any number of people may be sacrificed to preserve the exaltation of his pseudo-feelings.“
I am an occasional hypocrite but never a humbug. I don’t know how to take offense, an attitude which goes “hand in glove” with having no sympathy for those who take offense, and a pure hatred (can I use that word?) of Humbug, though honestly, before reading Mr. Dalrymple’s opinion piece, I never really knew what humbug was. Humbug is accusing people with whom you don’t agree of racism-homophobia- transphobia-bigotry-assorted-other-phobias and isms. Because nothing is a higher calling than your heroic defense of your own feelings. Pride? Yeah. Proud of what? Is everything automatically to be proud of? Is anything to be ashamed of? Are you living for the acceptance, the approbation, the agreement with your feelings? Prepare to die then, people will let you down. Then what will you have sacrificed for your pride? Jaelene Hinkle has the right idea. She is on track to hear the best words, “good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord.