Monday, December 10, 2012

Compassion and its Enemies

West Point dropout Blake Page, backed by Mikey Weinstein and his, um, donor base, has been hurling some big accusations kinda short on specifics. But this part jumped out:

[Page] began as a chemical engineering major but switched to management. He said he has been a good student, though he had some problems in his second year after his father committed suicide.

This detail about his father's suicide is context that should have been in the opening paragraph, not buried in the middle of the article. Speaking for myself, I don't really have much interest in "proselytizing", i.e., telling people about Jesus. I admire those who do, but I don't personally care about other people enough to go to the trouble, and I don't consider myself a sufficiently compelling representative of my faith to expect anyone to listen to me if I did.*

On the other hand, if you come to me in pain**, this is what I have to offer. Don't expect non-sectarian answers to Life's Big Questions. There aren't any. Tell me to go away, and I will; like I said, I've got better (or more fun, anyway) things to do. But it is absurd to come to me for help and then accuse me of violating your rights when I give it.

Cadet Page went through a rough time, sufficiently rough that it put the demands of a ChemE degree beyond his reach. I don't actually know the extent to which he sought out the counseling of his academy instructors. I do know that those instructors, knowing his pain and seeing its effects on his performance, would have considered it their job to offer it. Weinstein's agenda notwithstanding, this is not in and of itself against law or policy. When Page himself becomes an officer -- and I fully expect he will return to the army, given the current constellation of forces -- he will be able to tell any who will listen about the healing power of Science. And, we, of course, will be equally free to tell him to go away.

* No, this isn't an invitation to point out my spiritual or theological shortcomings. I already know about those.

** If you aren't in my immediate family, please don't do this. Yes, I will be there for you. No, I won't want to.


Richard said...

What type of engineering degree do you have?

Anonymous said...

On the one hand, I have a great deal of sympathy for him, knowing as I do the pain and struggle of asking "why" in the wake of a father's suicide.

On the other hand, "because the world is fallen and we broke it by sinning" really is the answer to everything. If I was able to arrive there, so can he.

Nice to hear that West Point is so Christian! I'd like to know how that squares with your previous post arguing that the officer corps pretty much "believes" what it's told to believe, politically.

Dr. Φ said...

Samson: seeing how young Mr. Page is given to overblown rhetoric, I wouldn't take his claim of a Christian takeover of West Point at face value. There have always been Christians in the military. My experience is that these tend to be the most visible in the field grade ranks rather than at the senior or junior officer levels. I'm not sure why this is. One possibility is that it is about timing: they came in before the left-wing indoctrination of cadets reached its fever pitch, and haven't risen to the level where political screening becomes feasible.

ScareCrow: At the PhD level it becomes pretty interdisciplinary. You can read some of my technical posts to get an idea of what I'm into.

Dexter said...

Nice to hear that West Point is so Christian!

So Christian they just allowed two aging, strident lesbians to marry in the chapel.