Love Your Family

Louis Theroux ventures where most of us would be afraid to go. Say hello to the Phelps.

About Geoff Coupe

I'm a British citizen, although I have lived and worked in the Netherlands since 1983. I came here on a three year assignment, but fell in love with the country, and one Dutchman in particular, and so have stayed here ever since. On the 13th December 2006 I also became a Dutch citizen.
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4 Responses to Love Your Family

  1. Brian says:

    I saw this programme the other night and what I found chilling was that the Phelps family in most respects seemed like any average American family anywhere. The children were healthy and polite, had good teeth and good manners, went to church and had the courage of their convictions.  It was only the convictions that were off. 
    These were not evil, hateful people, that’s what makes them dangerous.  They are arrogant, to be sure, and they don’t think and indeed avoid any questions that would make them think as if trained to do so.  The horror of seeing a six-year-old carrying a sign saying God Hates, and not knowing yet what that means is matched by being poltitely told one is going to hell by a very sweet 21-year-old girl who would offer you a glass of ice tea for the journey.  Any argument to the contrary is dismissed as one would an annoying gnat.  They’re convinced that they are right and will not be turned.  So convinced are they of their own righteousness, they fling hate and call it kindness.
    This is precisely why I can not accept the argument that Hitler was a monster.  If we dismiss evil with exceptionalism, then we fail to recognise that perfectly ordinary people are capable of perfectly monstrous behaviour.  Hitler was human and humans have the capacity for such monumental cruelty in the name of an idealogy.
    It’s too easy to dismiss such people and kooks.  They’re not.  If we’re going to address they hate these people disseminate on behalf of God (they don’t seem to hate very much on their own behalf), we have to realise that we’re dealing with.  This family is so dangerous because they’re so normal. 

  2. Geoff says:

    Coboró, absolutely right. It is the sheer banality of evil that makes it so difficult to deal with. Ordinary people do extraordinary things – both good and bad. I was struck how Gramps seemed to be the core and wellspring of everything. I wonder what will happen when he dies?

  3. Brian says:

    When Gramps dies?  A single word to make the Almight shudder:  Shirley.  Bitch scared the shit out of me.

  4. Geoff says:

    Yes, I think you’re right. She seemed to be the chip off the old block. Certainly doesn’t help the public image of lawyers either.

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