Common among discussions that draw attention to the flaws of one group is the apparently balanced observation that “both sides” are wrong.
This short post isn’t about popes, but I saw this in a discussion about Pope Francis. Archbishop Viganó has been asserting that Pope Francis knew about Cardinal McCarrick’s unofficial discipline at the hand of Pope Benedict XVI, yet Francis did nothing to enforce it. Instead, Francis accepted McCarrick and gave him important responsibilities.
That’s Vigano’s story. Francis has said and suggested that he knew nothing of the restrictions placed on gay McCarrick.
Papal biographer George Weigel came out and said that Vigano told him 6 years ago that Francis knew, and that now Francis is lying about not knowing.
So, the accusation is that the sitting pope is a liar.
In response, the fair-minded judge in the court of opinion says, “We must remember that Benedict also made errors. Both have done wrong.”
Again, leftism and populists. In any discussion that condemns the left (Francis is considered Left), the judicious voice of balance chimes in: “Remember. Both sides are at fault.”
If you mention Antifa violence, you will be told to remember that “the alt right is also prone to violence.”
When discussing pedophile priests in the Roman Catholic Church, *remember* that sex offenders exist in higher percentages among evangelical clergy than in the Roman Church.
If one group is condemned or accused, it’s the voice of reason – not the voice of cowardice or injustice – that diffuses the blame so as to touch “both sides”.
But the catch is this. Even though both sides are culpable of something, the thing they are each culpable of are different. Both are wrong, but not to equal degrees or for the same reasons. Both are wrong: one is worse.
For example, the rate of homosexual sex abuse is much higher among catholic priests than among baptist preachers. The rate of sex abuse against young girls is higher among Baptists. So, both are wrong, but as far as homosexuality it’s concerned, Catholics are way worse. Or again, both have covered up abuse cases. But Baptists operate at a much smaller institutional level than the global Roman Curia. Both are wrong to cover up crimes, but one is more deeply involved in systematic coverups to protect larger hosts of child abusers. One is worse. Both are wrong.
I think we need to remember this, because it is not balanced to equalize blame on the simplistic basis that “both are wrong”. When my 14 year old and my 9 year old begin to argue, both are usually in the wrong. One is more culpable. One is more culpable because age affects responsibility, because they are culpable for different, not equal, kind of error. One might have shouted, the other might have hit. There are a number of ways to measure the blame, if one chooses to open a prosecution. One child *will* be worse than the other child.
A truly reasonable and judicious person recognizes this. Anyone who thinks that abortion is as much of a prolife issue as school lunch programs for the poor is not being judicious. Anyone who thinks Benedict and Francis are equally wrong is skewing justice in a contrived judgment of even-handedness.
I say that because I wanted to share this video about the Left. They are way worse than the “Far Right”. The Far Right might be guilty of dog whistling or of “systemic” racism. *Might* be guilty. The Left is guilty of delighting in their totalitarian acts of violence. Dog whistling is not the same as punching a man or kicking someone peacefully protesting. A systemic wage gap between men and women is not the same as suing an individual for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Arguably, both can be wrong. But, to be fair, one will be worse.