A few last things to shove at you before you head off for your holiday.

This week at Patheos, Fitz wrote a worthwhile piece on his main difference with other liberals: his dim view of human nature:

This is not a good, liberal view. Yet it’s fundamental to my worldview and leads me, perhaps surprisingly, to many of my more progressive opinions. My left-leaning friends and I equally disdain war and yearn to see it removed from the face of the earth. Where those friends might imagine that an end to war is possible, however, I live with a kind of Christian cognitive dissonance. War will never end, but I should never stop trying to end it. Likewise, where some progressives may believe that we can progress beyond some of our more fundamental failings, I believe that although we should try, we will never achieve it.

After writing about Palin and Israel (a topic that became slightly more relevant as it is all but certain she’s running for president), I expanded that discussion to D.C.’s broader reaction the Obama-Netanyahu dustup in my Patheos column:

I suspect most Americans look on the Israel-Palestine controversy, quite rightly, as distant, complex, and perplexing, if not utterly impossible to form a sound opinion about. Most people would probably read my previous two paragraphs and not quite get what all the fuss is about. I don’t quite get it, either. But what I saw from Washington’s power brokers over the past week—vicious attempts to enforce orthodoxy, hysterical determination to shut down debate, and theatrical sycophancy toward a foreign leader—are so alarming that they must be addressed. If we are ever to arrive at a sensible Mideast policy, this kind of irrationality clearly will not do.

Recommended reading for the weekend:

  • Apropos of  this week, if you missed David Remnick’s compelling profile of the Israeli newspaper Haaretz a couple of months ago, it’s not too late.
  • Gabe Sherman’s story on Roger Ailes and the Fox News circus behind the GOP 2012 field is also worth your time.
  • Speaking of looking back, the London Review opened its archives to give us this very long examination of Ayn Rand’s empty ideas.
  • I liked this reflection on being an anti-religious religious person.
  • Someone I like a lot has finished her book, and you can and should pre-order it here.

Hope your holiday is restful and, in case we don’t say it enough, we deeply appreciate the time you take to read and engage us here.

About The Author

David Sessions

David Sessions is the founding editor of Patrol, and is currently a doctoral student in modern European history at Boston College. His writing has appeared in The Daily Beast, Newsweek, Jacobin, Slate and elsewhere. Follow him on Twitter here.

0 Responses to Memorial Day Weekend Wrap: Israel, Why You’re a Bad Person & More

  1. David and Fitz:

    I appreciate Fitz’ struggles over a proper view of human nature. When I teach sociological theory, I spend time exploring how capitalism operates on a belief that structures are benign but people aren’t to be trusted. Communism (in the pure Marx sense) believed that people are good but evil structures make them do bad things, so overthrowing structures is good for people. The Christian view says that both individuals AND structures are fallen. Grace is the redemptive feature present in both. But left to our own devices and edifices, we’re doomed to failure. The result is an optimism that remains centered in God’s works not in our smarts — but we don’t celebrate stupidity to “allow Grace to abound more”.

  2. Kevin Erickson says:

    Fitz is basically restating Reinhold Niebuhr’s view of the human condition, which makes me pine for the days when Niebuhr was on the cover of TIME.

    Niebuhr is of course, Obama’s favorite theologian.

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