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Vlad V

5 Stars

Fanboy for life

As a long time fan of Joseph Dobrian’s writing I am really looking forward to getting this delivery. His wit is only matched by his intellect. But what I really love about him is his refusal to be some high fallutin’ ivory tower snob. He will get down and dirty to wrestle the pigs and alligators as much as take on three establishment.


5 Stars


Amusing, irreverent, and timely reprieve from our current political morass.



The title of this collection of essays comes from an encounter I had with a reader, following the publication of the column, Ye Faithful, Save Your Church (q.v., infra) in The Iowa City Press-Citizen in 2019. On the day of its publication, at a concert at the Music Building at the University of Iowa, I ran into an elderly lady who often comments on my writings. She said, “That was really unkind, what you wrote about the Pope.” I looked rather severe, I suppose, when I replied, “I didn’t mean to be kind.”

We have been infected with the poisonous notion that kindness is the ultimate virtue, the indispensable virtue. But it ain’t. It’s nice to be kind when kindness does no harm. I might concede that it’s the default option. But it often happens that kindness is not the best choice. Kindness often gets in the way of Truth, often to the detriment of oneself and others. The desire to be kind, I suggest, often leads to encouraging bad behavior in others. Sometimes you can criticize that behavior in a subtle manner; other times you have to be rather stern and sharp—unequivocal to the point of rudeness. In the essay under discussion, I had suggested that the Pope was closing his eyes to unspeakable crimes. Do I want to make that point in a manner so pusillanimous that I would appear to excuse his behavior?

Similarly, when I see a friend engaging in acts that I consider dangerous or evil in some way, it might be “kind,” in a manner of speaking, to say, “Well, you do you.” But I suggest that that’s really not kind at all. Not kind, if you fear that your friend is destroying himself and harming others. In that case, sometimes you have to be downright unkind, and hope that your unkindness will do some good. St. Thomas Aquinas observed that love is to will the good of the other. If that’s what it amounts to, I can do that. I can wish wrongdoers the good luck of repenting and reforming, anyway, and if they do that, I hope for further good to befall them. If you don’t drive yourself crazy teaching your kids to be good—sometimes to the point of treating them harshly—they probably won’t

be good. That goes for pointing out bad conduct in adults, too, when you think you might have influence. The winners of the culture wars will be those who take advantage of our natural inclination to be kind—forcing us not only to tolerate, but applaud, horrible behavior. Kind intentions, without wisdom, lead to Hell.


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