When it comes to the Culture wars in 2023, I have two simple resolutions:
- assume they are sincere,
- be sincere.
Read the full article in Spectator’s Flat White blog here.
Below is an excerpt:
Too many times recently, I have watched truth being smothered to death by the comfy pillow of winsomeness. It comes with a persistent smile, and persistent evasive non-answers; it’s so polite, and it’s so understandable. We just want to choose what direction we illuminate the truth from – we want to pick the lighting and the backdrop so it looks sexy. We want to prevent our message from being misrepresented, or we want to avoid giving offence.
Well, that’s what we tell ourselves our reasons are. But sometimes we just don’t want to be disliked, or we lack faith in the truth of our own position, which is more devastating.
Don’t get me wrong. There is wisdom in winsomeness. Communication across barriers of difference ought to be strategic and even crafty, or you’ll be eaten alive. Sometimes withholding the truth is ‘not casting pearls before swine’, and sometimes deflecting a question is the more surely to argue the more pertinent point. But it must not come at the cost of honesty and sincerity.
The problem is when winsomeness goes from being the method to being the goal. The ultimate goal is to expose and defend something that is right and true. Sometimes the truth itself is confrontational. When the truth needs to make an impact, it will not thank you for cushioning its fall. When the truth needs to cut, it will not thank you for blunting its edge. Here the truth is trying to set people free, and you’re concerned about opening the prison doors quietly enough not to wake them!
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was a writer and a deep thinker, who was imprisoned in a Russian Gulag. He understood that there is more to being true than saying only things that are true. He wrote, ‘The simple step of the courageous individual is not to take part in the lie.’