Chesterton: Uncandid Candid Friends
G.K. Chesterton in his book "Orthodoxy" (1908) on uncandid candid friends:
I venture to say that what is bad in the candid friend is simply that he is not candid. He is keeping something back - his own gloomy pleasure in saying unpleasant things. He has a secret desire to hurt, not merely to help. This is certainly...what makes a certain sort of anti-patriot irritating to healthy citizens...A man who says that no patriot should attack the Boer War until it is over is not worth answering intelligently; he is saying that no good son should warn his mother off a cliff until she has fallen over it. But there is an anti-patriot who honestly angers honest men, and the explanation of him is...what I have suggested: he is an uncandid candid friend; the man who says, "I am sorry to say we are ruined," and is not sorry at all. And he may be said, without rhetoric, to be a traitor, for he is using that ugly knowledge which was allowed him to strengthen the army, to discourage people from joining it...
The personification of the uncandid candid friend changes over time, as do the characters traiterous to their own nation. Yet, their forked tongues and fake sympathy do not.
The global Left (with a few notable exceptions) are the uncandid candid friends of today. They pronounce our defeat in Iraq and wanting a retreat, not because of their care and concern for the soldiers on the ground, but because of their joy in seeing the US and its allies defeated.
Everytime I read Chesterton, I hang on his profound paradoxical statements, his ability to pierce complexity with his sharp tongue and the enduring lessons he teaches.