Thursday, April 02, 2015
I’ll just note again that chivalry was a system, which imposed numerous obligations on women, as well as on men. It is, I think, impossible to critique what has happened to notions of masculinity, without thinking about what has happened to notions of femininity in our culture. But that could lead to dangerous heresies.I reread those words not long after reading these from Michael Barone:
Obama critics have pointed out his fondness for the first person singular. He said “I,” “me,” or “my” 63 times in his 1,631-word eulogy for Hawaii senator Daniel Inouye. He spoke twice as long about his own family experiences as the heroism for which Inouye was awarded the Medal of Honor.I could not help but think about how often we decide we do not like the old system, but we fail to create a system to take its place and we end only with a narcissistic mess. I will freely admit that I am not much good at understanding the other - in fact I am pretty lousy at it. It's a problem with me.
Bill Clinton and Rudy Giuliani succeeded in large part because they were curious about other people different from themselves. Barack Obama prefers to look in the mirror.
But I know I need to try - it's an obligation that makes the world work. As chivalry was a system for the sexes to co-exist so the Christian mandates on behavior and other-focus a prescription for a system that will make the world work better. We don't like the obligation inherent in the system so we reject it, but we put no other system into place to replace it. We are left only with chaos.
Obligations are not avoidable, the question is what are the right and wrong ones. I think history, let alone God, have made it plain which obligations for all work.