Thursday, January 14, 2016

The devil is a concern troll

Juan de Flandes, The Temptation of Christ (ca.1500-1504). Image via David Lawson/Pinterest.
Shorter Monsignor Ross Douthat, Apostolic Nuncio to 42nd Street, "The Tempting of Bernie Sanders", New York Times, January 14 2016:
I'm just so concerned about Bernie, you know. He's so high-minded. He doesn't sling enough mud, and if he doesn't get more vicious fast he may not win the nomination, I mean sometimes you wonder if he even really wants to win as much as he wants to achieve some noble goal like making the Democrats a better party. When he criticizes Hillary Clinton it's over these wonky issues like her failure to support single-payer universal health care or to object to regime change policies, do Democrats really care about that shit? He should be talking about the intersection between character and policy, like the sordidness of the Clinton Foundation, with its slimy and rapacious funding of things like relief and economic development for Haitians, local projects around the world for combating climate change, and focusing on the health and well-being of American kids under five ("Too Small to Fail"), and connecting the dots between that and her immoral email account, which not only exposed national security secrets by the ton to our enemies and caused the deaths of Americans at Benghazi but brought on the entire Iraq War. And he needs to express himself pithily when he talks about foreign policy,  I just happen to have this 400-word diatribe right here he could use. You know me, I just have his best interests at heart.
It's pretty interesting the way the Monsignor uses the word "tempting" in the title of this piece purporting to give Bernie some friendly advice on how he can go beyond providing moral leadership to the achievement of some real worldly power, a word that can't help evoking for a sincere Christian like him a passage from, ah, Matthew 4?
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”
11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.
"I'm just saying," said the devil.

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