There are all kinds of reasons … vindictive cycles of provocation and retribution are bad news for societies in general but democracies in particular; such was the source of much early-republic fretting about factionalism. They’re undoubtedly bad lessons in civic virtue, especially if we still purport to be something like a liberal democracy, whose key tenet is tolerance — a tough asset to claim if you’re perpetually scanning the discursive horizon for things to be disruptively furious about. But they’re worse than that. They are terrible moral lessons, and they make us into bad people.
… [T]he habit we’re in of waging small-scale wars via celebrity censures has made us nearly incapable of really holding our allies accountable or of really forgiving our enemies. If forgiveness had a face, it would be hideous to us now; to the degree that beauty is a matter of socially constructed taste, we wouldn’t be able to look at forgiveness without revulsion.
(Elizabeth Bruenig, We are no longer capable of forgiving our enemies)
Ms. Bruenig joins “excellent religion coverage” as one of the things I’m going to miss when my subscription to the click-baity digital Washington Post expires next week (because it’s crazy to try to read three national and one local newspapers and I prefer Ross Douthat and David Brooks to what I’ll miss at WaPo).