Thursday, August 3, 2017

I Can't Stand Articles Like This

Francis Phillips of the Catholic Herald (a woman, despite the spelling) reviews a self-help book by a US Navy Admiral:

The book records the ten principles he learnt during his gruelling 6-month training to become a Navy Seal – reputedly the toughest unit in the US military....Naturally, given the tasks they are asked to undertake in their naval career, the training is about character-building: how to develop certain rock-solid habits that become second nature and which stand one in good stead during times of danger and great risk. They begin with “Make your bed.” As McRaven explains, doing this simple task well every morning helps to provide an initial structure to the day. Tellingly, when guarding Saddam Hussein after his capture, the author notes that the former dictator never once made his bed in his cell.

All moral judgements aside, who do you think might be described as more successful in life-- a Navy Seal or Saddam Hussein? Saddam Hussein ruled a major nation for more than twenty years. In terms of sheer success, he must be in a very, very tiny upper echelon of the human race as a whole. Maybe he didn't make his bed because he was expecting to be executed and he didn't see the point. That would probably get anybody down.

The article is stupid for other reasons. Here is the author's summary of the Admiral's other lessons:

Other principles which he imbibed include “standing up to the bullies”, those who thrive on fear and intimidation; recognising that life isn’t fair and not becoming bitter about it; accepting that you can’t succeed without friends (especially true in the forces); not being crushed by failure; and “never, ever quit.”

Who would disagree with any of that? Why is it relevant to Catholics in particular? Why are Catholic publications littered with such silly articles?

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