17 August, 2014
The Yes-Man Is Your Enemy, But Your Friend Will Argue With You | The American Conservative
The Yes-Man Is Your Enemy, But Your Friend Will Argue With You | The American Conservative: I have often cited the Russian proverb that Solzhenitsyn used, “The yes-man is your enemy, but your friend will argue with you.” The meaning of this proverb can be misunderstood, since it can be misinterpreted to mean that one should constantly be quarreling with one’s own friends, but it is fairly clear to anyone paying attention. Indulging a friend in his worst, most self-destructive behavior by endorsing whatever he says and does and making excuses for him contributes to the friend’s ruin and can have the same effect as seeking his downfall, and rebuking him when he goes awry helps to protect him against his own bad judgment. The main mistake that Rosner and Podhoretz make, unsurprisingly, is that they consider otherwise sympathetic critics to be “fair-weather” friends when these are potentially some of the best friends that Israelis have precisely because they don’t simply back whatever the Israeli government happens to do.