Posted by lex, on September 18, 2006
Can often be inferred from a relatively simple measurement: The number and quality of those that love him. An even simpler measure may be taken from an opposing variable: The unnumerated quality of those that hate him.
The same, I think, may be said of countries:
I don’t think the Pope’s original comments have elicited nearly as much authentic rage as the images on TV would suggest. But I do think those driving these protests and whipping up anger know what they’re doing. The West wants to be loved. It can’t stand the idea that somebody — anybody — doesn’t like us. This is doubly so in Europe and perhaps triply so at the Vatican. So much of European — and American liberal — foreign policy is based on the idea that being disliked is an enormous indictment, a sign of serious moral failings on our part, rather than resentment, envy or scapegoating on the part of those fomenting anti-Americans.
The Pope is a man of serious responsibilities, and may feel that he has to apologize for speaking the truth of a historical fact. For my own part, I proudly wear the hatred of people who would murder nuns as a badge of honor.