Sunday, February 03, 2008

I wish life was simple.

I really do. I wish that the bad guys were always the bad guys, and that the good guys never stumbled. I wish those on my team were always right, and that the other team always cheated for every gain that they made. I wish that fatal flaws were only the province of someone else, and that trust, once earned, could be counted on forever.

I wish that I could know everything about someone solely from the group in which I placed them. I wish that all members of every group with which I disagree could be reliably counted on to kick their dog, hit their wife, and cross in the middle of the road.

Unfortunately, life is never that simple. The good guys aren't perfect. Some of the bad guys have really redeeming qualities. Most of the time, members of a groups are as varied as those outside of the group. And unfortunately (for this idyllic, simple view of the world) there are a lot of really good people who differ with me. Or with you.

I just finished John Grisham's The Appeal. the world isn't as simple as he would make it. Last week, Michael Medved interviewed Jim Wallis, author of the book The Great Awakening. Mr Wallis wants to believe that every fundamentalist of every stripe has a secret, violent nature just under the surface. Ignoring the question of whether his mistake is narrowing the field too much, this simply isn't true. If you know me, you know that I am a serious political conservative. It would be comforting to believe that every liberal in this country is an evil demagogue who only wants to grow the size of government so as to increase their temporal power, and that there is no real idealism behind their stands.

But it isn't so. And I know it isn't. I can only hope and pray that more people come to understand this. About those they disagree with.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Grisham's "Contradiction"

John Grisham's new book, "The Appeal" is his first legal thriller in 3 years (according to the press release). I'm a big fan, I look forward to each new effort.

There is a section in this book that reflects a meeting at a large Family lobbying group in Washington. Grisham observes that this mythical organization is both pro-life and pro-death penalty, then wonders that no one see the contradiction.

Of course, we don't see the contradiction. There is none. The pro-life movement is interested in protecting the right to life of innocents. This is the same motivation behind support for the death penalty. To call the two positions contradictory is to make the mistake of morally equating an innocent unborn child with a convicted murderer. I cannot believe that John Grisham actually considers the two categories morally equivalent.

The correct equivalence, of course, is to equate the unborn to the victims (current and future). They are the ones that the pro-life and pro-death penalty seek to protect. For wholly non-contradictory reasons.