Monday, February 27, 2012
On Self Righteousness
It would seem that, for Santorum not to draw criticism on his ethical beliefs, he must either 1) share the beliefs of everyone listening or 2) not share his beliefs publicly.
At this point, a reader may say, why can't he keep his ethics to himself?
Did we insist on the same ethical isolationism from Al Gore when he was telling us to recycle? No, we generally accepted Al Gore's ethics as righteousness, which sounds way more righteous than "self-righteousness". The reason for this was simply... we agreed with Gore.
Even when we found out that Gore's eight mansions all require nine liquified private jets per day to power the mosquito-zapper on the veranda, we didn't condemn him because we know his message is more important than the messanger. Just as we wouldn't hang an anti-smoking crusader who backslides to a pack of Camel Lights because the greater cause is more important than the dude holding the sign.
So, let's step back and look at the big picture. Is it ethical to talk publicly about one's own ethics? To my way of thinking, it is, so as long as you believe in morality. Forget whether or not someone is peddling nonsense is mistaken for morality, you obviously know better than them, regardless of who you are, reader. The question is, does someone deserve criticism for attempting to raise moral consiousness?
If your answer is "not as long as I agree with them" or "not as long as the exact volume and frequency of their speeches are perfectly tasteful to me" then you may be indulging in a pattern of thought which is not expansive to your personal evolution.
My personal thoughts on self-righteousness? When I was a kid I wanted to be a Roman Catholic priest. I was excited to be a man of the cloth someday and I was secretly surprised that EVERYBODY didn't share this aspiration (at least among the faithful, which, as a catholic school kid at age 7, was everyone I knew). To my way of thinking, if you hold a set of sacred beliefs, why wouldn't you aspire to the highest level of sanctity possible? I'm not saying everyone would make it there, but to not even aim for the the highest calling would be like playing the video-game of reality and calling it quits after you beat the first mini-boss. If eternal salvation was real, it seemed pretty FUCKING important. So important, in fact, that it was unfathomable to me that some believers weren't interested in doing God's most important work: rescuing other souls while securing a seemingly guaranteed spot in paradice.
Now that I'm an adult and I've succumbed the addictive sensations of factual knowledge and syllogistic reasoning, salvation may not be in the cards for me, but I am still appalled by the supposedly faithful who only participate in a luke-warm manner. I don't think I could live with myself if I truly believed in liturgical scripture and didn't spend every waking moment helping the poor and spreading the word of God like free tickets to our sinking ship's life-raft.
Maybe that's just me being self-righteous. But true participation in any type of elevation would seem to include sharing one's successes with others, no? Unless you're the Joker and you believe that mankind's highest calling is... every man for himself.
So feel free to dispute Santorums views as moronic. But don't accuse him of touting unpopular, and essentially indefensible social policies for his own personal glory. To him, rehabilitation of the homosexual lifestyle is just as humble a gift to his creater as the Sistine Chapel was by Michelangelo.
"Never do unto others as you would have others do unto you. They might have different tastes."
—George Bernard Shaw