Tags: Murphy's | Law | Forgiveness

Murphy's Law of Forgiveness

Friday, 15 February 2002 12:00 AM

One of these is Murphy's Law of Forgiveness: You may sometimes be forgiven for being wrong, but you will never be forgiven for being right.

I spent most of my working life in a large bureaucracy. I found that those in power grudgingly forgave my mistakes. But what they found really irritating and unforgivable were the times I was right and they were wrong.

Having an employee who makes mistakes can be troublesome, but it also produces the satisfaction of letting everyone know that you are superior. It allows you the pleasure of looking down on someone.

On the other hand, being associated with someone who is correct when you are mistaken – well, that is simply intolerable for the petty, the small-minded and the vindictive. Ego deflation is unbearable for the narcissist. Being proved wrong is unendurable for the egocentric and the self-anointed.

This situation occurs in political life as well. President Reagan was criticized for the Iran-Contra fiasco. But what really drove his opponents into a frenzy were his successes.

Recall "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" If that statement had proven to be mere rhetoric, it would have been forgotten. But the wall

Recall the phrase "Evil Empire." At the time, it was met with sneers and derision. But after the Soviet Union imploded and many hidden crimes were made public, the accuracy of the phrase became undeniable. Those who had spent years denying the evil were revealed to be fools at best, and enablers of evil at worst.

That is the reason Reagan is hated to this day – he was right.

Look at the anti-American bias of European "intellectuals." (Is there a European who doesn't consider himself an intellectual?) This bias is revealed by NATO's grudging support of the war against terrorism. It is revealed by derisive comments comparing President Bush to a "sheriff" who rides around meting out justice as he sees fit.

And the bias is revealed by snide remarks about America by Olympic officials, almost all of whom just happen to be European.

Their predecessors in 1936 saw nothing wrong with holding the Olympic Games in Hitler's Berlin, accompanied by Nazi ceremonies and flag waving. But until a storm of protests overcame their opposition, the tattered Twin Towers flag was just too "nationalistic." Swastika oui, Old Glory non.

Most of all, the bias is revealed by the scornful, contemptuous comments by Europeans, and by their American imitators, that greeted President Bush's characterization of the Sept. 11 terrorists as "evildoers" and what they did as "evil."

After what Europeans did in the 20th century, they of all people should be intimately acquainted with evil. They of all people should be able to recognize evildoers. After a century of Nazi, Fascist and Communist atrocities including genocide, they should be sensitized to evil and be able to identify it easily.

But the reverse appears to have occurred. Many Europeans, and their American imitators in the media and academia, seem desensitized to evil. When bombers murder and maim scores of innocent people – including Americans – at Israeli discos and pizzerias, they report merely that violence has "broken out."

To them, mass murder is like chickenpox. It isn't perpetrated; it just "breaks out." This expression removes the necessity of naming the murderers, much less blaming them. Violence "breaks out," similar to a volcano erupting or an earthquake occurring. It just happens.

They can bemoan it without taking the trouble to analyze the situation and take sides. They can feel superior without doing anything.

How safe for the cowardly. How effortless for the nonjudgmental. How unchallenging for the amoral. How ego-gratifying for the narcissistic. How reassuring for the self-righteous. How comforting for the envious.

Even the attacks of Sept. 11 are not called attacks but "tragedies," as if they were natural disasters or health problems. The attackers are not terrorists, much less evildoers. After all, "One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter."

By this logic, Jeffrey Dahmer had an "eating disorder," Ted Bundy had "relationship issues," and Adolf Hitler "worked with minorities." Who are we to judge? If moral myopia is severe enough, judgment becomes impossible. But, like Mr. Magoo, people with moral myopia keep blundering into things.

No wonder President Bush is resented. No wonder his stirring remarks are met with sneers and derision. His fault is not that he has been proven wrong, but that he is clearly right. In fact, it is difficult to imagine how he could be more right.

Equally obviously, his critics could not be more wrong. But that is what they really resent. That merely proves they have learned nothing from the most terrible lessons in history – hardly a sign of intelligence.

The Europeans did nothing when Hitler reoccupied the Rhineland. They did nothing when he violated treaties and rearmed. They did nothing when he annexed Austria. They did nothing when he seized the Sudetenland. They did nothing when he occupied the rest of Czechoslovakia. They did nothing until it was too late.

Evil, like cancer, must be detected and treated early to avoid disaster. The Europeans' inability to recognize and combat evil at an early stage led directly to World War II, with perhaps 40 million unnecessary deaths.

And who rescued them from their folly and amorality? We did. Yes, the "cowboys" who love freedom and refuse to go along with the crowd, especially when the crowd is dead wrong. Yes, the "sheriff" who does indeed ride out to fight those he recognizes as evildoers, even if he has to do so alone.

Of course, his aloneness is due to his courage and clear vision, and to the cowardice and moral blindness of the townspeople. Their failure to accompany him may be rationalized by a thousand arguments, but it remains cowardly and amoral.

Let the Europeans (except the Brits) and their American imitators stay home and criticize from a safe distance. Let them discuss nihilism and attempt to deconstruct everything worthwhile.

They grew up reading Nietzsche, learning about "supermen" and the "death of God." We grew up watching "High Noon" and "Die Hard," learning that doing what's right can be dangerous and lonely, but that doesn't make it less right.

America was founded by people with the guts to leave the class system, religious bigotry and statism of Europe. Although it may be weakening, that independent spirit still motivates us. To a large degree, we kept our religion but discarded the bigotry; Europe discarded the religion but kept the bigotry.

America is the un-Europe. That is why we had the moral and physical courage to rescue Europe twice. What the Europeans find utterly unforgivable is that we rescued them in both World Wars. We weren't merely right; we saved their lives, their nations and their civilization.

What we couldn't save was their honor. That, after all, must be upheld by the Europeans themselves. It wasn't upheld then. So far, with the exception of the British and a few others, it isn't being upheld now. But that's not our problem.

No wonder the Europeans and their American imitators look down on us. No wonder they ridicule our leaders. No wonder they sneer at our values.

They can never forgive us for being right. Murphy knew what he was talking about.

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One of these is Murphy's Law of Forgiveness: You may sometimes be forgiven for being wrong, but you will never be forgiven for being right. I spent most of my working life in a large bureaucracy. I found that those in power grudgingly forgave my mistakes. But what they...
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2002-00-15
Friday, 15 February 2002 12:00 AM
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