Sunday, June 21, 2009

Temper, Temper

"I never liked anyone who didn't have a temper. If you don't have any temper, you don't have any passion." — Michael Bloomberg (2002)

I found the preceding quote in an article on the web, and I liked it a lot, and not just because of my own personality. I think the quotation is quite apt, particularly in an age when a relentlessly sanguine personality is falsely seen by many as a sign of virtue. I believe that people have a moral responsibility to be angered by injustice and evil, because people who are apathetic about such things tend to tolerate them. When we tolerate evil, we help to perpetuate evil.

Jesus was angered by the economic injustices perpetrated in the Temple by people who ostensibly represented God — even to the point that Jesus scourged the moneychangers with a small whip and overturned their tables! What? Did you think they crucified Jesus because he got along well with everyone? Think again! It's no accident that the crucifixion took place a mere week after the incident in the Temple.

Admittedly, some people have a tendency to lose their tempers over trivialities. There's such a thing as making mountains out of molehills. Some people also have a tendency to get angry for rather self-centered reasons. (Some of Michael Bloomberg's detractors would undoubtedly accuse him of having done so, and for all I know, they may be right.) But there's also such a thing as making molehills out of mountains. When we trivialize everything, refusing to take a firm and passionate stand against things which are wrong, our complicity makes us perpetrators of those things. I believe that we'll answer to God for our apathy, if we are guilty of such apathy, on the day of judgment.

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