I just found out that someone who writes stuff I really like lives a life that I really dislike. They support things I’m adamantly against. Hell, in some aspects things that I’d consider worth fighting against. But I really like their work. What am I to do?
There are sometimes values that we hold close that are not worth compromising. Things we can easily say are moral truths.
Let’s say murder. Of a helpless person. Pretend for a moment that your most favorite author who you adore deeply and have all of their books; suddenly you find out that this person advocates, campaigns for, and participates in the random murder of a helpless innocent every Thursday.
Yeah that’s way over the top. But instead of murder this key issue could be communism, or support of the Republican Party, or abortion (for or against), or any number of things. Everyone probably has one or two things that trigger revulsion when they hear someone else supports those issues. Hell some people I know have a huge laundry list.
But what do you do when it’s your favorite that does. I mean if you keep buying their books, then you are indirectly supporting this thing you hate. But if you don’t then…
I guess its best described like a friend. You are supposed to stand by your friends. Your family. But when one of them turns out to be a murderer or child abuser. Then they have lost the right to the support and care of their community of family and friends. This exile process is why we have life sentences/death penalties.
So I’m admitting that there is a line. A line where you no longer support someone. But if someone is a bad person are all their works bad?
If an engineer turned out to be a terrible evil person would I stop driving over their bridges? Or using their buildings? I’m sure the guys who planned out the pyramids weren’t exactly the nicest of guys. The things were built with slave labor. But we still acknowledge the wonder of them.
Books are slightly different I guess. Books are so much stronger. Because words are so much stronger. People say a picture is worth a thousand words, but how many pictures have you seen that made you cry, made you laugh, made you angry? Compare that with how many times the written word has similarly stirred your emotions. Pictures describe a scene better but words describe ideas better.
As I write this I realize that photos are a bit different. So I guess I’m comparing words to sculptures and painted art. Alright I realize the analogy is a bit flawed. Let’s go with categories of work instead.
Category A is all things that do not convey ideas, philosophy, or persuasion. Most engineering tasks, accounting, construction. Things of that nature.
Category B is things that aren’t in A.
If the person who likes this terrible thing works in category B, should you avoid their work? I mean, reading Mein Kampf, has a potential for challenging personal ideas and conceptions but that doesn’t mean it’s something you should memorize or run around encouraging others to read does it? Because ideas are sticky things. Things that seep into you when you aren’t looking and start to change how you see the world. I mentioned last Tuesday thoughts about how you can motifake yourself.
I don’t know.
There are ideas that are evil. Slavery. Child Abuse. Inquisition type stuff.
There are ideas that are simply arguments about how the world should be organized. Most political schemes fall into this line. Whether or not a particular food/drug should be banned. Etc.
I used to think of myself as a fairly hard core conservative. Then I spent some time trying to figure out what I cared about what I believed in (I refer to belief outside of the framework of the Church*). Do I believe unions are a good thing or a bad thing? Do I think we should tax this group or that? What ideas will make a politician unsupportable to me? Things of that nature.
I’m most definitely not a communist. For the right person I’d probably happily be a monarchist in another life. I live in a wonderful country with horrible faults and amazing people who are often quite stupid. So does just about everyone else. I support and will defend my country’s constitution and laws, even commit violence to do so. But I think I find it valuable sometimes to read the political viewpoints of crazy (awesome) people who write about Dragaerons and Easterners. Because it tempers my views right?
But I don’t think that this is the case for my particular problem. And I’m trying to figure out whether this one person’s ideas are worth keeping.
Sigh. And I don’t know yet.
*For the record: I believe that Jesus Christ is the perfect and only son of God who came to earth and laid himself out as a sacrifice for our sins therefore absolving us from the law and giving us grace so that we might obtain the perfection of heaven through his blood.