instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

An invitation to decline

There's something fundamentally screwy about any conversation that all but requires, as the price of participation, a Homeric boast of one's own personal virtues. It seems to me two such conversations are occurring at the Crunch Con blog and at dotCommonweal.

Something about the way the whole Crunchy Con debate has been formulated invites people to testify on such matters as whether they love their children and whether they think of anything other than their material possessions.

Something about the whole "Commonweal Catholic" discussion (which is by no means all of the discussion at dotCommonweal) invites people to preen over their intellects; they're thinking Catholics, you see.

I suppose that invitation exists whenever the topic is (or is taken to be) whether a particular group is superior to everyone else. Those who belong to the group are inclined to demonstrate membership in terms of their own superiority; those who do not belong are inclined to prove the thesis false by example of their superiority.

The results are often not very edifying.