David Brooks’ thoughts about engaging fanaticism


Quote from David Brooks: "I agree with the argument Yale Law professor Stephen L. Carter made in his 1998 book “Civility.” The only way to confront fanaticism is with love, he said. Ask the fanatics genuine questions. Paraphrase what they say so they know they’ve been heard. Show some ultimate care for their destiny and soul even if you detest the words that come out of their mouths.

You engage fanaticism with love, first, for your own sake. If you succumb to the natural temptation to greet this anger with your own anger, you’ll just spend your days consumed by bitterness and revenge. You’ll be a worse person in all ways.

Second, you greet a fanatic with compassionate listening as a way to offer an unearned gift to the fanatic himself.

Finally, it’s best to greet fanaticism with love for the sake of the country. As Carter points out, the best abolitionists restrained their natural hatred of slaveholders because they thought the reform of manners and the abolition of slavery were part of the same cause — to restore the dignity of every human being.



From: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/23/opinion/engaging-fanatics.html?smid=tw-nytopinion&smtyp=cur

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