English Author, Editor, Blogger, Conservative Political Commentator, Editor of The New Republic
Andrew Sullivan, fully Andrew Michael Sullivan
English Author, Editor, Blogger, Conservative Political Commentator, Editor of The New Republic
But friendship is different. Friendship uniquely requires mutual self-knowledge and will. It takes two competent, willing people to be friends. You cannot impose a friendship on someone, although you can impose a crush, a lawsuit, or an obsession. If friendship is not reciprocated, it simply ceases to exist or, rather, it never existed in the first place.
I believe in the pursuit of happiness. Not its attainment, nor its final definition, but its pursuit. I believe in the journey, not the arrival; in conversation, not monologues; in multiple questions rather than any single answer. I believe in the struggle to remake ourselves and challenge each other in the spirit of eternal forgiveness, in the awareness that none of us knows for sure what happiness truly is, but each of us knows the imperative to keep searching. I believe in the possibility of surprising joy, of serenity through pain, of homecoming through exile.
I think of these imperial adventures like welfare programs; you start them with all good intentions, they never end, they go on forever and get more expensive as they go on.
In Aristotle?s hermetically sane universe, the instinct for human connection is so common and so self-evidently good that there is little compunction to rule certain friendships out of the arc of human friendliness. There is merely an attempt to understand and categorize each instance of phila and to place each instance of the instinct in its natural and ennobling place. Everything is true, Aristotle seems to say, so long as it is never taken for anything more than it is. And so friendship belongs to the nod of daily passengers on a commuter train, to the regular business client, and to the ornery neighbor. It encompasses the social climber and the social butterfly, the childhood crush and the lifelong soulmate. It comprises the relationship between a boss and his employees, a husband and his wife, a one-night stand and a longtime philanderer, a public official and his dubious contributor.
Leftists would like to pretend that any criticism of their views raises the specter of domestic repression. But in a country with a First Amendment, no suppression from government is likely, and in the citadels of the media and the academy, the far left is actually vastly overrepresented.
Some of this is unavailable to the male-female union: there is more likely to be greater understanding of the need for extramarital outlets between two men than between a man and a woman; and again, the lack of children gives gay couples greater freedom. Their failures entail fewer consequences for others. But something of the gay's relationship's necessary honesty, its flexibility, and its equality could undoubtedly help strengthen and inform many heterosexual bonds.
The great modern enemy of friendship has turned out to be love. By love, I don?t mean the principle of giving and mutual regard that lies at the heart of friendship [but] love in the banal, ubiquitous, compelling, and resilient modern meaning of love: the romantic love that obliterates all other goods, the love to which every life must apparently lead, the love that is consummated in sex and celebrated in every particle of our popular culture, the love that is institutionalized in marriage and instilled as a primary and ultimate good in every Western child. I mean eros, which is more than sex but is bound up with sex. I mean the longing for union with another being, the sense that such a union resolves the essential quandary of human existence, the belief that only such a union can abate the loneliness that seems to come with being human, and deter the march of time that threatens to trivialize our very existence.
The success of the stock connect program and the increased market volatility means investors are looking for more products to access China markets performance than exchange traded funds, and futures are feeding that rising demand.
Unlike a variety of other relationships, friendship requires an acknowledgement by both parties that they are involved or it fails to exist. One can admire someone who is completely unaware of our admiration, and the integrity of that admiration is not lost; one may even employ someone without knowing who it is specifically one employs; one may be related to a great-aunt whom one has never met (and may fail ever to meet). And one may, of course, fall in love with someone without the beloved being aware of it or reciprocating the love at all. And in all these cases, the relationships are still what they are, whatever the attitude of the other person in them: they are relationships of admiration, business, family, or love.
With all that?s happened to us ? together and apart ? I?m inclined to think that somehow we were chosen to know each other, to help sustain each other, and to teach each other about the mysteries of loving, living, dying. After the initial crush of your news, when I had been prepared not to receive but to give a report on my HIV status to you, I found myself strangely grown more attached and connected to you, even protective of you, and I felt an effusion of love and tenderness that, for the first time since I met you, was not constrained by considerations of others, of anything or anyone another than you, and me, and our feelings for one another. Somehow I was able to love you wholly, and this gave me great strength to face the greatest fears I have known. How is it that such news can clear an immediate path between us, sweep away the debris and the impediments?
Critics will no doubt say I am accusing the Bush administration of being Hitler. I'm not. There is no comparison between the political system in Germany in 1937 and the U.S. in 2007. What I am reporting is a simple empirical fact: the interrogation methods approved and defended by this president are not new. Many have been used in the past. The very phrase used by the president to describe torture-that-isn't-somehow-torture ? "enhanced interrogation techniques" ? is a term originally coined enhanced interrogation techniques by the Nazis. The techniques are indistinguishable. The methods were clearly understood in 1948 as war-crimes. The punishment for them was death.
I believe that there are moments in sex that are so awesome that they actually reflect God.
I think sex is completely absurdly demonized in our culture. But in the end, however much sex you want to have, with however many people in how many ways, to be loved and to love is what human beings really want.
In the Cold War, I was pro-American. The world needed a counter-weight to the evils of expansionist, imperial communism. (But I was never an American utopian. There's nothing new in humanity in this country ? just a better system and more freedom, which tends to be the best corrective against sustained error.) After the Cold War, I saw no reason to oppose a prudent American policy of selective interventionism to deter evil and advance good a little, but even in the Balkans, such a policy did not require large numbers of ground troops and was enabled by strong alliances. After 9/11, I was clearly blinded by fear of al Qaeda and deluded by the overwhelming military superiority of the US and the ease of democratic transitions in Eastern Europe into thinking we could simply fight our way to victory against Islamist terror. I wasn't alone. But I was surely wrong. Haven't the last few years been a sobering learning experience? Haven't we discovered that allies actually are important, that fear is no substitute for cold assessment of self-interest, that saying something will happen is not that same thing as it actually happening? That someone could come out of the last few years believing that Teddy Roosevelt's American imperialism is a model for the future is a little hard for me to understand.
Love affairs need immense energy, they demand a total commitment and a capacity for pain. Friendship, in contrast, merely needs tending. Although it is alive, a living, breathing thing, and can suffer from neglect, friendship can be left for a while without terrible consequences. Because it is built on the accumulation of past experiences, and not the fickle and vulnerable promise of future ones, it has a sturdiness that love may often lack, and an undemonstrative beauty that love would walk heedlessly past.
That's what torture does: it creates a miasma of unknowing, about as dangerous a situation in wartime as one can imagine. This hideous fate was made possible by an inexperienced president with a fundamentalist psyche and a paranoid and power-hungry vice-president who decided to embrace "the dark side" almost as soon as the second tower fell, and who is still trying to avenge Nixon. Until they are both gone from office, we are in grave danger the kind of danger that only torturers and fantasists and a security strategy based on coerced evidence can conjure up.
The great thing about blogging is that I don?t have to go to a meeting ? I don?t need to have a policy.
The Tea Party we were told is only about economics; not true. It was always about economics and social issues. They just hid the social issues and now we just see who they really are.
We can and must deter terror; we can and must conduct surveillance; we can and must find terror cells and plotters; and we need to fight them aggressively in the battlefield abroad and prosecute them carefully under the law if they are citizens at home. But the zeal and arrogance of Bush and Cheney have done this at the expense of the heart and soul of Western jurisprudence and constitutional liberty. They must not get away with it. Our inheritance is too precious to squander in a fit of panic, sadism and hubris.
You can tell how strong the friendship is by the silence that envelops it. Lovers and spouses may talk frequently about their ?relationship,? but friends tend to let their regard for one another speak for itself or let others point it out.
Did you really expect fairness on the environmental issue? For a swathe of reporters, this is not a matter of empirical reporting; it's a matter of faith. Bush cannot be pro-environment because he's Bush.
I can barely remember what I wrote yesterday, let alone 10 years ago.
I think there were two great gay Americans obviously, and that was Abraham Lincoln and Walt Whitman.
In the last few years, we have seen the executive branch declare itself outside the law ? in prosecuting a war on terror. The law against torture has been suspended. The balance between the executive and legislative branch has been dismissed by signing statements and the theory of the unitary executive. The executive has declared its right to suspend habeas corpus indefinitely, to tap anyone's phones without court warrants and to detain and torture anyone it decides is an "enemy combatant." In that sense, we have already left the realm of constitutional government in favor of a protectorate outside the law promising to keep us safe (but never from itself). But this new move to create a de facto dictator for the financial markets, to invest a Treasury secretary with unprecedented powers to buy and sell at close to a trillion dollar level ? with no oversight or accountability: this is a new collapse in democratic life and constitutional norms.
Love is a supremely jealous thing. It brooks no rival and obliterates every distraction. It seems to transport the human being ? who is almost defined by time and morality ? beyond the realm of both age and death. Which is why it is both so irresistible and so delusory.