The Good Samaritan Got His Hands Dirty. That Applies to Politics Today

"The Good Samaritan by Aimé Morot" (1880) shows the Good Samaritan taking the injured man to the inn.

By John Zmirak Published on February 8, 2024

The news that a high court has ruled President Trump’s actions in office are not exempt from civil and criminal charges — if not overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court — would usher in a new era in American politics. With a new set of rules.

An ugly era. An un-American era. Or rather, to be more precise, a Central American era — where the battle for power looks much more like Honduras or Guatemala in the 1950s and 60s than the USA our parents left for us. And shame on us, that we let things get to this pass, for instance by allowing the Democrats to steal the 2020 election and imprison those who protested.

In this new status quo, whoever comes to power will use the law to punish the other party, which just lost it. If Trump is somehow permitted by our Establishment to win an honest election, and re-enter office alive — a very big if — and the presidential immunity that has prevailed since George Washington’s term had not been restored by the courts, Trump would have many new options. He could prosecute old misdeeds committed in office by Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and their appointees as well. There’s plenty to put away each of the last three Democrat presidents and their cronies.

We Won’t Stoop to Their Level. We’re Too Pure.

But should he? And should we support Trump if he does so? Or will we say (as Trump said when he declined to prosecute Hillary Clinton, as he’d promised us) that we are “better than that”? That we “won’t stoop to the other side’s level”?

Will we be the guy in a boxing match who barely survives the first round, since his opponent whipped out a switchblade and brass knuckles, who goes into Round Two determined to follow the Marquess of Queensbury rules, in the faith that he’ll win the match on points? Who says this even after he saw the referee backslap his opponent, and the judges accept bags of cash?

If the other fighter starts playing by the rules of a street fight and gets away with it, those rules no longer apply. And you’re a fool if you keep playing by them. If you’re fighting not just for a win, but to save your country from ruin and your children from being slaves, you’re worse than a fool. You’re an irresponsible coward, who will perish in disgrace.

Speaking of which, here’s a GOP congressman explaining why we shouldn’t impeach a Biden regime official for dereliction of duty and defying the law … because using power might set a bad precedent. Then the Democrats might turn ruthless: 

Remember that the official Gallagher is protecting is threatening to release dangerous predator immigrants (the only kind now even detained) to punish Republicans for not passing Sen. Lankford’s border surrender.

But yeah, let’s be careful, or the Dems might start playing hardball. 

Do You Care What Happens to Your Neighbor? No, Really.

At this point some readers may be reaching for the smelling salts, or heading for their mauve fainting couches so they can listen to an audio book by Russell Moore. You might think this sounds “worldly,” “Machiavellian,” or like a “Christian Nationalist” view.

None of that is true. It’s just the view of a guy who

  1. believes in the Fall, and Original Sin;
  2. thinks honestly and consistently about how evil must be deterred; and
  3. actually cares what happens to other people in the world. As opposed to preening in the mirror of self-regard, and virtue-signaling for attaboys.

There’s only one reliable reason why fallen men don’t steal each other’s stuff and straight up murder their enemies. That’s because they’ll be punished, either in this life or the next. And indeed, such fear doesn’t always deter them, as the inhabitants of penitentiaries and Hell itself could tell you.

Likewise, the reason we have political institutions and constitutions that balance and limit power is to deter those in political office and limit their natural tendency to turn into pirates and tyrants. Take away negative consequences for grossly abusing power, and you’ve just printed a license to steal, terrorize, and kill.

Don’t Try Shaming the Sociopaths

If the left tears up one article in our unspoken social contract, in order to grab at power, and gets away with it, it’s going to shred the next one. That’s the lesson of 2020 and after. The only thing deterring the party of abortion, child castration, open borders, and BLM looting is the fear of consequences — not conscience. Trying to imprison an opposition political candidate, and tearing up presidential immunity if need be in order to do that, is a new low even for Democrats. The only thing that stopped them so far was the fear that they might suffer the same.

Getting High on Your Mindedness

If we’re too prissy to impose such consequences, we’re giving our enemies permission to try again, and do even worse. The only thing preventing godless power-hungry ideologues from trashing all our rights is the fear that by doing so, they’ll unleash a whirlwind of retribution should they fail. You know, like the whirlwind the Nazis reaped in 1945. What if the Allies had stopped at the German border? If they’d said, “We fought this war for self-determination, and you Germans elected Hitler. So we won’t go down to your level by invading your country. That’s not the American way.”

How would that have worked out, do you think? You think that a still-Nazi Germany might have gone on being aggressive? That our high-mindedness would have led them to close their death camps?

But that’s precisely the strategy advocated by sniffy anti-Trump conservatives who object to his use of harsh language, populist slogans, and appeals to American interests. I remember when Rod Dreher emitted a 3000+ word hissy fit aimed at Trump, accusing him of unleashing literal “demons of racism” when he mocked Ilhan Omar. How well did that take age, now that we have Omar on tape braying “Somalia First!” to her voters?

He Passed by on the Other Side

Lest this seem too worldly and “political,” let’s conclude with a well-known anecdote recounted by a popular religious figure in a major world religion.

And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you read?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have answered right; do this, and you will live.”

But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion, and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; then he set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ Which of these three, do you think, proved neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed mercy on him.” And Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10: 25-37)

The priest and the levite in the story didn’t help the crime victim because touching blood would have spoiled their ritual purity and soiled their clothes. They wouldn’t “get down in the gutter.” They wanted to keep their hands clean. So they left their neighbor to suffer.

Should we go and do likewise?

 

John Zmirak is a senior editor at The Stream and author or co-author of ten books, including The Politically Incorrect Guide to Immigration and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Catholicism. His upcoming book is No Second Amendment, No First.

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