“YOU HYPOCRITE, FIRST TAKE THE LOG OUT OF YOUR OWN EYE, AND THEN YOU WILL SEE CLEARLY TO TAKE THE SPECK OUT OF YOUR BROTHER’S EYE.”
These words of Jesus ring hollow in our culture of blame and self-righteous fault-finding. In the current atmosphere of taking offense the only self examination we are called upon to make is that self-scrutiny which identifies what class of victim we belong to. Once I have established my status among the oppressed all that is left is to lash out at the perceived oppressors and the game is on. Someone must be blamed for life’s failures, missed opportunities, mistakes, evils and injustices – someone else.
This oppressed\oppressor narrative has been the bread and butter of humanities curricula across western colleges and universities since the late 1960’s. Now, the chickens are coming home to roost. Several generations of impressionable young people have been schooled in the artful politics of deflecting responsibility for life’s evils and injustice onto others. They are taught that life is to be seen as a power struggle between groups. Don’t bother with the hard work of dealing with others as persons, individuals. All that matters is your race, sex, gender and all the other tribal categories we are supposed to think of as defining today.
As long as I can lump you in with the oppressors I can dismiss you out of hand. We see the results of this way of thinking all over the place. Statues, paintings and other historic monuments are removed at the instigation of the latest group to find offense. Free speech on campuses is under attack because opinions that fall afoul of the prevailing post-modern orthodoxy “trigger” discomfort as students wilt away into safe spaces. Our society is making a virtue out of putting the worst possible interpretation on what others think, say and do. And it is shameful.
I have questions for anyone reading this who buys into and takes delight in the politically correct culture of blame. Could your life stand up to an unvarnished assessment of what you have thought, said and done? You certainly expect others to give you the benefit of the doubt, to put the best construction on what you think, say and do; so why do you withhold such a posture from others, from those you disagree with as if you stand at some point of absolute righteousness beyond criticism that sees everything clearly? Hypocrite seems to be the appropriate term for such a person. By disregarding the motives of others and the context which has given shape to their thoughts, words and deeds, you set loose in the world the toxins of envy, bitterness and resentment. And the effects are all around us to see.
I suggest abandoning the ‘culture of blame’, and the perpetual lecturing of others, for a more realistic and useful alternative; the culture of shame. And it would be quite beneficial to begin with a sober look at yourself. Before you lament too loudly why there is evil and injustice in others, you might begin by asking a more direct and pertinent question; why there is evil and injustice in you? Because there is.