The Hard and Soft Virtues
People will have little difficulty in identifying my subject. They will agree that we have become too hard, and that we should be softer. But, after a moments thought, they will say – with the way things are, this is not easy. What goes through their minds when they do that reality check?
They probably realize that to be competitive they have to take the hard line. That people who are soft are at a severe disadvantage. Hardly the position they want to be in. Everyone wants to be in a softer world, but they don’t want to lead the way there.
Obama was a success because he knew how to talk soft – but as soon as he assumed power he became hard. Americans felt betrayed, but could do nothing about it. The power structure is hard – and there is no way of making it any softer.
The Sermon on the Mount is admired universally, as an ideal, but also considered impractical. People can never become perfect, as it directs. We will have to settle for more practical goals, such as more tolerance, but even this will be difficult – and in many situations, impossible. It’s hard to argue with the point of a gun.
The discussion in Wikipedia is well worth reading, for those who want to think about this. But people do not want to think, they want to be told what to think.
This shows a fundamental conflict – people who are hard are also helpless. They are operating under the control of something else they cannot question or even define.
If this results in the destruction of their world, they are comfortable with that eventuality.