Almost all evil is done in the name of good.
I believe I learned that principle as a teenager, from Dale Carnegie. I think he used the example of a bank robber. Even the bank robber convinces himself he’s sticking up for the little guy against the evil, rich banker.
So if a bank robber can convince himself it’s all about the greater good, and a thief can tell himself he’s really “teaching people a lesson for not locking up their car,” you can imagine the sort of self-righteousness stored up in the souls of politicians. I watched representative Ilhan Omar (DFL-MN) questioning a witness before congress the other day, and she radiated such an unctuous reek of moral superiority, I could smell it from three thousand miles away. Her sense of mission would light up the room if they lost power. We’ve seen this, of course, for years from Maxine Waters, Richard Blumenthal, Charles Schumer and the like, but when you watch Kamala Harris and Omar, you get the feeling self-righteousness and objective moral truth are inversely related. The more God forsaken we get as a culture, the less humility we see in our leaders.
Pride goes before a fall. The more sure you are of your cause, the more confessional and self-aware you should be. In the old days, a scorching sermon helped nurture this humility. (Truly, if you want a good scare, a good invitation to consider your own wretchedness, spend some time in a Jonathan Edwards sermon.) I don’t think purely political people actually have a mechanism for checking themselves. You might say it could be the insults of the crowd, but these are balanced out by coteries of paid sycophants who hang on your every utterance as though they were collecting pearls. Even Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez–with as much cause for humility as anyone who has ever graced Congress–is something of a golden heifer. She’s shiny and gold and dumb as a box of rocks, but she’s worshiped, and very few emotional sixth graders can avoid the addiction of worship. Look at almost any child star to measure the damage. The only way to break this false confidence, conferred on you by the mob, is to endure a scolding by the Most High God of the Universe.
How much of that, really, is going on?
Humility, self-awareness, self-rebuke are also the best tools we have to uncover the truth in this shouting match. It can be confusing — so many people claiming they have the high moral ground. If you didn’t know better, you might take Nancy Pelosi and Elijah Cummings for angels of light, because that’s how they see themselves, and for many of our unread countrymen, that’s exactly how they appear as well. It takes humility to endure the sort of insults you are going to receive telling people they don’t deserve handouts from the government, but it takes no humility at all to walk into a room and throw $100 bills into the air, (keeping several thousand for yourself.)
Among your prayers for America, pray for a little humility — among our leaders, our pastors, our teachers, and our families. We’ve never had so little to brag about and so many braggers doing it.