Wait, wait. Let me set the scene.
Imagine you are sitting in church. In the middle of the service, there is a commotion outside. A man enters the church, yelling at the top of his lungs. You’ve never seen him before, but he doesn’t look happy.
He makes his way toward the pulpit, and most people are too stunned to stop him. He has a sledge hammer with him, and he lays about himself.
SMASH! The cross on the wall is broken.
WHAM! The altar is stricken in half.
CRASH! The Holy Bible falls to the floor and he begins to flail it over and over, rending its pages with the hammer.
This is the wrong way to make a point.
But sometime in the 4th century, that’s exactly what Bishop Patrick did when he entered the sanctuary of Cromm Cruaich, a harvest deity in Ireland. He destroyed a dozen statues and ruined the sanctuary. Fellow Christian biographers would say it was to stop human sacrifice at the shrine, but scholars agree that’s a fabrication to make Cromm Cruaich seem more like Moloch in the Bible.
Other hallmarks of Patrick’s career include disrupting public ceremonies and festivals, and threatening people with hell and damnation if they didn’t convert. This is the man we celebrate.
Sometimes, even Ireland deserves a slow clap.
Imperialism and Forced Dominion
Despite the title, this post is not really about St. Patrick. Patrick’s actions are just one of countless examples.
There is no one cause of forced domination. It’s something that can happen anytime someone (or a group) gets a power high, and we have to be on constant guard against it.
In general, I’m not a fan of absolutes. I believe in heroism, but not in any one right way. I don’t think one approach works every single time.
But when it comes to forced dominion in any form, I feel pretty comfortable declaring that it’s always wrong.
Root of Heroism
To me, opposing imperialism is the most basic purpose of anyone living the heroic life. Whether you do it through art, activism, war, or education—no one can pursue heroism while supporting imperialism. The two don’t mix.
The purpose of a hero is to protect the less brave, less skilled or less active. If they are not given a voice, there is no heroic action.
So whatever purpose you may pursue in life, or whatever cause: If you are on the side of forcing free people to do things, you are doing something wrong.
Please tweet this post, facebook share it, and do whatever you can to oppose imperialism wherever you are.
[Note: Before you leave me a comment telling me this is all medieval legend and therefore Patrick is a-okay, I already wrote you a love letter. Of course, there are plenty of other bad reasons to stand up for a villain so feel free to leave a comment anyway!]
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