The Vicar At Lunch With Napoleon

Some human cultures have a more realistic and honest view of families than others. The nadir is reached with the Hallmarks Cards-type sentimentalisation of what is essentially a contingent alliance strategy subject to the law of buying cheap and selling dear; that is to say, the depths of dishonesty are plumbed with the saccharine assumption that the family is automatically a conflict-free zone. When C. S. Lewis could write the devastating essay “The Vicar and the Lunch” – about a self-infatuated idiot who thought that family values entitled him to address his grown children in a way that, if done to strangers, would get him beaten up – when even, I say, a Christian apologete can see this, it is high time that the rest of us subjected sentimentalisation of the family to the Cui bono? test.

The answer has surely to be that the party who benefits from the delusion that the family is automatically a zone of peace is identical with the party who succeeds in defining peace in terms of his own private interests. Napoleon said it best, that the conqueror is a man of peace, for he seeks to make his entrance into his opponent’s capital unopposed. Peace means that you listen to me dogmatising about subjects in which you are expert but of which I know nothing; peace means that I can say as many untrue and hurtful things to you as I like, without your objecting; peace means that nobody ever calls me out on being a narcissistic, power-crazed arsehole.

Whenever somebody says, “I don’t want to fight with you”, beware, because what he actually means is “I want to achieve my complete agenda without fighting”.

Posted on March 26, 2009 at 09:51 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink

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  1. Written by dwasifar
    on March 28, 2013 at 19:26

    As I understand it, that definition of peace is how Islam justifies calling itself the “religion of peace.” Everything will be peaceful when you all do exactly what you’re told.

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