I realize that I tend to grate on people’s nerves with perhaps entirely too much complaining about liberalism but I honestly think it’s the source of all of mankind’s troubles precisely because its roots are all in phony pride. I once knew a monsignor, in the Scranton Diocese, who frequently said that after his having been to several meetings for people who were afflicted with compulsions or addictions, he could never help noticing that everyone looked down his nose at other people for their problems. The alcoholics bragged that at least they weren’t on drugs, the violent people expected to be congratulated because they weren’t compulsive shoppers. Each of us has an innate tendency to assume that someone else’s vices are worse than his. At his very worst, when phony pride is really out of control, each of us tends to fancy himself as a toppler of the supposed high and mighty. Exactly when was the last time anyone managed to get through an entire day without an entirely bottomless pit of references to someone’s supposed hypocrisy. Proponents of leftist ideology always claim to be supposedly trying to make the world a better place. One thing I’ve noticed about anyone who claims to be acting in everyone’s supposed best interest, whether he strives for the perfect family, workplace or any other aberration of the common good, is that someone like that always ends up objectifying specific individuals, and treating each person as if he’s nothing more than a mere means to a desired ultimate end. It’s like when Father Zosima, in Dostoyevsky’s “The Brothers Karamazov”, admitted that the more dearly he loved mankind in general, the more disgusted he was at his neighbor’s each and every flaw. Anytime someone claims to be striving for some supposed Great Society, instead of trying to be a better individual, he always does it by way of deciding upon how much others must change. Besides that, he invariably considers himself about the rules and immune to all negative criticism. That’s why I don’t like to get entirely too enthused about a collective identity. If someone wants to be good to his family, people at work, or any other group, that’s entirely commendable. Western culture has always placed a great emphasis on the common good. The problem, though, is that so many of us, under those circumstances, tend to strive for the greatest good for the greatest number of people, and for a reputation for being good, rather than the reality of goodness. It’s precisely that mentality that leads to an enjoyment of someone else’s being exposed as a hypocrite. Scandal always comes from phony pride. Since the third chapter of the book of Genesis, each of us has always been forced to fight a never ending battle against the need to expose the real and imagined flaws of others while simultaneously demanding the right to a good reputation. Each of us should wise up and try to change himself instead of pretending to make the world a better place.