We Want to Believe

“We want to believe. Young students try to believe in older authors, constituents try to believe in their Congressmen, countries try to believe in their statesmen, but they can’t. Too many voices, too much scattered, illogical, ill-considered criticism. It’s worse in the case of newspapers. Any rich, unprogressive old party with that particularly grasping, acquisitive form of mentality known as financial genius can own a paper that is the intellectual meat and drink of thousands of tired, hurried men, men too involved in the business of modern living to swallow anything but predigested food. For two cents the voter buys his politics, prejudices, and philosophy. A year later there is a new political ring or a change in the paper’s ownership, consequence: more confusion, more contradiction, a sudden inrush of new ideas, their tempering, their distillation, the reaction against them—”

This Side of Paradise p. 152

“We want to believe … Too many voices, too much scattered, illogical, ill-considered criticism.” And things have only gotten worse, here, 100 years later. I do think we want to believe (we wouldn’t worship political parties if we didn’t), but it’s a fools worship—surely we know deep down that our politicians are not gods!

But as Amory says here, we’re busy, too busy to care that we’re being fed pre-digested food, food that has been chewed by who knows … .  And that’s our meat and drink. And it doesn’t even cost us the two cents for a paper anymore. We don’t have to make our way to a news stand. They send it into our homes: on our TVs, computers, and phones—free politics, free prejudices, free philosophies, served up fresh every day all day. And we carry on down that road. We see no wrong in our gods because we don’t stop and use our minds. There’s no critique, no thought, no recognition that our particular god of the moment—however much an image bearer he might be—is fallen. And we give no critique, no thought, no consideration that our enemy—no matter how fallen he might be—is an image bearer. May God have mercy on us all. 

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