John C. Wright (johncwright) wrote,

On Speaking Ill of the Dead

A bit of advice to my fellow conservatives: 

Do not speak ill of the dead.

I think you know to whom I refer, do you not?

A second bit of advice to my fellow Christians:

Do not speak ill of the dead.

Let us suppose that you are a wretched man, recently died under unseemly circumstances, whose life was made all the more wretched by fame. Oh? Do we not believe fame brings wretchedness? It brings its own temptations and its own sorrows that we private people, we happily private people never hunted by the sharkpacks of the press, never bloodlet by the parasites of wealth,know nothing of. It is like having a genii in a bottle: a very ignorant, somewhat diabolical genii, who will gleefully grant you the very wish that is your deepest wish, even if it destroys you. 

Let us suppose you are a wretched yet famous man, who, passing through the horror of the grave, suddenly finds yourself, awed and surprised and terrified, at the gates of the Country of Endless Joy. And here at the gate sits your Creator, who made you for far finer things that what you have made of yourself, and now you must answer to Him. You must answer not for your public image, but for your innermost secret thoughts. You must answer for things no one else knows, not even your closest friends. Your heart will be measured in a balancing scale against a feather, and if your heart is heavy with sin, you will be thrown into an outer darkness, where the only sound is a wailing that does not end. But if the other pan of the balances lifts, the gates of bliss shall open.

How can you not pray, O Christians, for someone facing that judgment seat? You will stand there too someday. Your every word, including whether or not you spoke ill of the dead who cannot defend themselves, will come out of your own mouth to accuse you, and He who searcheth hearts will search yours.

When a man is alive, he can defend himself from criticism, whether justified or slanderous. When a man is dead, the angel of death who once passed over Egypt, sparing no first born of that land, stands at our elbow when we speak of the dead: and if he wears a helm of darkness, as the pagans feigned, we shall not see him, despite how real he is. 

Remember, before you open your mouths, O my fellow Conservatives, O my fellow Christians, that your time on earth in not immortal either.
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