Philosophical Apprentice on ‘The Tyranny Of Tenderness’

Headline:The Tyranny Of Tenderness

Sub-headline: A warning from Walker Percy: well-intentioned but ill-considered solutions will do more harm than good.

The Bearers of White Privilege confront Black Lives Matter with a version of an ‘Ersatz Sociology’ , via Walker Percy and  Flannery O’Connor:

‘well-intentioned but ill-considered solutions will do more harm than good’

What is on offer is a version of political/moral fatalism, that rationalizes the political present, as not amenable to another solution. Based in a practice, in that present, as immutable. Even an attempt at self-emancipation from tutelage, is in this context irrelevant. This possible attempt will become:  ‘It ends in forced-labor camps and in the fumes of the gas chamber.”  The Soviets and the Nazi’s!   

The novelist Walker Percy snatched a quote from his fellow Southern Catholic writer Flannery O’Connor to provide the theme for his novel The Thanatos Syndrome. In Mystery and Manners O’Connor wrote, “In the absence of… faith, we govern by tenderness. It is a tenderness which, long cut off from the person of Christ, is wrapped in theory. When tenderness is detached from the source of tenderness, its logical outcome is terror. It ends in forced-labor camps and in the fumes of the gas chamber.”

The Tyranny of Tenderness

 ‘Fr. Dwight Longenecker is a Catholic priest working in Greenville, South Carolina’.

Fr. Longenecker is a dedicated self promoter, indeed, a business man as his web site makes clear :  

Fr. Dwight Longenecker

What is willfully ignored by both Fr. Longenecker, and The American Conservative is that the Catholic Church is mired in a trans-generational, scandal is too trivial descriptor, of child abuse rooted in the practice of priestly celibacy. Gary Wills offers two essay, that bring into focus the policies and the institutional actors, of the Catholic Church, over time.  

Here is a link to Gary Wills’ May 23 , 2002 essay at The New York  Review of Books titled ‘Scandal’:


The second part of Wills’ essay titled ‘Priests and Boys’ of June 13, 2002:

Priests and Boys

In the world  of the American Conservative and Fr. Longenecker the attempt at meliorism is not just ill-fated, but leads to a political/moral collapse, ending in the death camp and the gulag. While the child abuse, within the Church, is not just subject to an erasure, but to a self-serving cultivated ignorance.

Philosophical Apprentice       


About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.'
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