Quote of the Week – cherishing causes but hating the consequences


“God laughs at men who complain of the consequences while cherishing the causes.” – Jacques-Benigne Bossuet

With the ongoing American Presidential election drama proceeding apace, I can’t help but connect to the quote uttered by a 17th Century French theologian to those that support Donald Trump. Their mistaken views that this self-declared outsider (that really is just the ultimate insider masquerading as an outsider, as Kim Strassel puts so well in a recent WSJ op-ed) will buck the establishment will end in a certain epic let-down.

Trump supporters naively support this outsider campaign as some form of, “sticking it to the man.” This is their cause celebre, their “cherishing of the causes.” There is no doubt a certain amount of glee in watching the party “establishment” watch helplessly as Trump continues to go from victory to victory. Meanwhile, their support is of someone who has no scruples in the way that he conducts his life, business, language, treatment of others, or marital affairs, nor does he have any specific guiding philosophy other than doing whatever it takes to serve his own interests. Thus, there are millions of well-meaning people being duped out of some mistaken sense that somebody needs to go in there and clean house in the henhouse. What they fail to see is that they are not sending in a fox to do the job, they are sending in a strutting rooster that will do nothing more than add more fights, feces, and more chickens into the coop. They are enjoying the ride and the vicarious voicing of their fears through the adult version of a bully while thinking very little of the ultimate consequences. If Trump happens to make it all the way to the White House, it seems to me to be an easy prediction that his followers will fall into one of two future camps. Either they finally see Trump for what he is: a grubby and self-serving cult of personality-inducing fraud that has absolutely zero concern for their needs, or they will continue to bury their heads into blind support of someone who clearly does whatever serves his own ego and ambitions and nothing more. What is certain is the consequences of their support will not be vindication and support of their own causes. What is certain is that the consequences will be the certain loss of any civic probity or decency in our affairs of state.


One thought on “Quote of the Week – cherishing causes but hating the consequences

  1. Elagabal

    Hi Matthew,
    Here’s the full original quote by Bossuet, translated by me (unfortunately) :
    “But God laughs at the prayers one makes to Him to dispel public sorrows/evils, when one does not oppose what is being done to bring them about. What am I saying ? When one approves of, and subscribes to it, albeit with some repugnance.” in his History of the Variations of Protestant Churches. That’s 18th century non-fiction for you. The better version of the lasting apocryphal quote, IMO, replaces “men” with “those”, it has the advantage of being as nonspecific as the original.
    I love this maxim, but believe it better suited for self-reflection… Am I quite positive I’m not going to vote in another neocon (in the West) cronies-first, corporatist, kleptocratic, plutocratic or near-dictatorial (everywhere, including in the West) administration, cabinet, or government this next election cycle ? How much of my current lifestyle or retirement plan really don’t depend on literally untold destruction and suffering elsewhere in space or time ? How much un*ucking of public education would it take to not let dangerously delusional weltanschauungs become even more common, vocal, socially acceptable, and easily fallen into than they currently are, and what can I do to help ? Also, am I double sure I’m not one of those destructive nincompoops I seem to think so much about ? That kind of thing.
    I am at a bit of a loss trying to wrap my head around those at the moment, but hey, no pressure, I’m a zetetic, and a bit of a pastafarian. I enjoy having my opinions as much as the next man, enjoy forming and honing them even more, but could never pretend with a straight face that they matter, or ever expect to be fully right except at logic and math, and I am rarely right at math from undergrad level onwards.
    Tl:dr -> your namesake, the one whom Jesus loved, said it best – possibly. And I would humbly ask : if you got a speck of dust in your eye, would you not get it out before trying to help the other guy, and doublecheck that the speck isn’t actually a beam, while you’re at it ? There is probably more than this one beam you’re half-seeing, you know…


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