Complicit Complaisance

To paraphrase a popular alliterative 1958 novelty song, we are becoming a nation of pathological people pleasers – and by ‘we’ I mean those on the side of truth, goodness and beauty. Those pushing falsity, evil and the general tearing down of civilization are not so demure and pleasant. This is not to judge anyone – I too want to please, at least God! – but, whatever the intentions of their hearts, they are in our face, loud and proud, and will give not an inch – and if an inch be given them, they will take the full mile, and then some.

As Yeats warned in his prophetic 1919 poem: The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity. ‘Tis little wonder we are losing the culture war, as the ground is lost to our silence, or complicity, and our implicit consent.

To please the other is not always a good thing; indeed, it can become the sin of complaisance, when we ‘please’ others in evil or falsity, and do not speak up or act when we should. (This should be distinguished from complacence, which is being too pleased with ourselves in evil or falsity – even if the two disordered ‘pleasings’ are often related).

Praise the Lord

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