Friday, November 4, 2022

All One in Christ at Beliefnet

Recently I was interviewed at length by John W. Kennedy at Beliefnet about my book All One in Christ: A Catholic Critique of Racism and Critical Race Theory.  

Earlier reviews of and interviews about the book can be found here and here.


  1. I've grown weary of abstract discussion of racial issues from both the left and right. It seems to me that if we were serious about healing the racial divide we'd be focused on specific, bold, plans of action directed towards that end. So for example...

    In the American context, how about totally free education (books, tuition, room and board, everything) at every level for historically oppressed minorities, paid for by the super-rich, and continued until such time as the wealth gap between whites and minorities was erased. Specific, bold, measurable plan of action with a defined vision of success.

    Whatever the merits of this particular idea may be, it serves as an example of the kind of things we ought to talking about.

    In the Catholic context, the leader to follow would be Catholic Charities, and not ideologists of any flavor.

    1. That could only serve to increase the wage gap as it will encourage a lot of people who would otherwise go into lucrative trades to get useless degrees (because hey it’s free) and just delay working by four years. So there is no guarantee it would have the intended effect.

      But more importantly, that would be pure consequentialism. It would be the sin of racism to favor particular groups of people on the basis of race alone. It would also drive up the cost of tuition because now a significant portion of the population would be guaranteed to pay for tuition by the power of the US Government.

      Maybe something like a state-funded scholarship for Sons and Daughters of slaves could be legitimate. But even that would probably need to be somewhat selective.

    2. What makes you think this plan would eliminate the wealth gap between white and minorities? And why is eliminating that wealth gap inherently a good thing?

      Groups achieve different outcomes. That’s not necessarily a sign of discrimination. Often, it’s a sign of cultural differences between the two. Should we also aim to eliminate the wealth gap between whites and Asians? (Asians are usually on top).

    3. Isn't that what affirmative action effectively already does to some extent, which, incidentally, is on the chopping block? Except here, no rich people need to shave any money off their bank accounts. And hasn't it failed? And wasn't it just a lazy way of pretending to solve what is essentially a cultural problem? (Recent African immigrants, by contrast, do very well, academically and professionally, even after our previous American schools teach them that, despite what their lying eyes tell them, they are, in fact, oppressed, that there's no sense in denying it, and the only way out of the invisible cage is through rage and self-pity.)

      But more to the point... By making things concrete, you make them tractable, and when you make them tractable, you make it possible to arrive at a goalpost. But who wants that? Once a problem is resolved, careers and institutions built around the problem are threatened because you've taken away their very raison d'etre. They no longer have the cudgel or leverage they once had.

      The same is true of feminism. Many feminist demands have been met. But has feminism gone away? If anything, it's become even more radicalized. People often project their personal dissatisfactions and discomforts onto some external, broad "common cause". Doing so allows them to feel in control, like they've named the beast. Living a boring life? Must be because of racism. Not getting what you want? Must be because of sexism or misogyny. And once the demands of such people are met, they discover they're still where they were and this is infuriating. A rational person would take this as an opportunity for reflection, but a prideful person will simply double down. If things are still shabby, it's necessarily because we haven't gone far enough! Thus begins a race to the bottom...

    4. "until such time as the wealth gap between whites and minorities was erased"

      That's the 'equity' in 'antiracism'. It's a non-starter.

    5. I've grown weary of abstract discussion of racial

      What defines "race". It has had different meanings at different times, and in different contexts.

      of racial issues

      Which issues? No, specifically which issues? Those of injustice? What about injustices commited by blacks at blacks? Oh, do you mean injusticed committed by blacks on whites? Shoot, reverse that, I mean by whites on blacks? What about all the other kinds of racial injustices?

      if we were serious about healing the racial divide

      What if only SOME of us are serious about it? Can we who are serious overcome the intent of those who don't want it changed? What about democracy?

      we'd be focused on specific, bold, plans

      I have a specific, bold plan: every white man marries a black woman, and every black man marries a white woman. In 2 generations, there will be no racial divide at all.

      how about totally free education

      Mere "education" doesn't do it, if (a) the recipient isn't willing or able to receive it. (Free) public high schools have enormous drop-out rates in some areas, (mostly by minorities but not solely) - they theoretically have a free education in front of them, but they decline it. If you re-make college education to meet the standards of public schools, you'll get the same result.

      Specific, bold, measurable plan of action with a defined vision of success.

      If you want to define success in such a narrow way, you guarantee failure in respect of other kinds of success. But aside from that: if your attempt were to meet with ANTI-success (say, increased income gap), would you then re-pay the people you took the money from to pay for that effort? (Because, after all, it would have been demonstrated to be unjust.) And...whose money would you use to do that?

      If you want to state a measurable outcome as "success", then you have to equally identify what constitutes a "failure" of the attempt. And you have to account for the implications of failure, social and otherwise. Which means: "free" might not, actually, be free.

    6. Lets ignore the broad discussion for a bit.

      @First Anon

      "But more importantly, that would be pure consequentialism. It would be the sin of racism to favor particular groups of people on the basis of race alone."

      Okay, this does not work. Phil is not proposing this idea because he happens to like minorities. He is proposing it because these folks are on a quite crappy situation when compared to white folks. I understand that a group facing inferior living conditions, oportunities etc by injust factors that we can solve is a injustice that should be tackled in order to the common good of the place to be better realized.

      Notice that i'am not discussing if the plan would work or what causes the inequalities, not my turf, only the claim that helping out a particular race as a matter of public police is necessarily racist.

  2. In the American context, how about totally free education (books, tuition, room and board, everything) at every level for historically oppressed minorities, paid for by the super-rich, and continued until such time as the wealth gap between whites and minorities was erased.

    Amazing how so many plans to erase a racial divide (which must always be illicit and evil, not at all natural) inevitably turns into a not-so-subtle payday for people. There's a reason why "free" room and board, tuition, and education is paired with the requirement that it be "paid for" by someone else: because it's not free. And it's not going to be the super-rich paying either.

    If the concern is to provide education as cheaply and freely as possible, maybe we should consider price caps on tuition. The fact is, with the modern internet, we are capable of providing a massive amount of education for dirt cheap compared to what traditional, outdated institutions currently offer. In fact, we already do so: see Coursera, or all kinds of other online options.

    But this solution, while clearly viable and even superior to the traditional alternative, would not enrich the bloated, inefficient education system. And, for all the cries of racism and inequality, circumventing that kind of payout is not a price the loudest antiracists are willing to pay.

    That's one of the real problems: at some point we have to be willing to ask whether the person crying "racism!" actually has a point, or if they're full of it. They often are. There's a real conversation that needs to be had.

    1. W.r.t. tuition and all this promising of free stuff, it's all a grift. At Yale, for example, the number of employees working in administration is equal to the number of students, all handsomely payed, I imagine. I recall hearing recently that at some school (possibly Yale again), there are 76 "diversity officers". Today's universities are money-making scams that offer a mediocre education at an exorbitant price on top of the "ideological homogenization" that is blatantly apparent when you talk to a recent college graduate.

      The only way to fix all these shenanigans is to cut universities off from the government cheese. This will toss the bloated administration out onto the street and cause a drop in tuition. Further market pressure will force universities to cut tuition further because now you can't go to Uncle Sam for financial aid.

    2. It's a grift, absolutely. And I think it's an even deeper grift than that, and not exclusive to the left.

      But what bothers me about this particular subject is that there has been an absolutely, positively *insane* advancement in the ease of education in the past couple of decades. In less than a single lifetime we went from books almost exclusively being available on dead trees to having copies of massive libraries able to fit in our pockets. And not just books, but videos, interactive instructions, and more. We are swimming in a disgusting abundance of free and accessible education which can be accessed for next to nothing, at will, 24/7, anywhere on the planet. Education has never been easier and more attainable than ever before for everyone in the world. Especially for English speakers.

      Somehow, despite this being abundant and obvious, we still are pretending that the only way to (say) learn French is to go six figures in debt and get a French degree from an accredited university that has a massive staff. Same for learning the Humanities, Physics or C++. The exceptions to this exist, but are few.

      It is maddening.

    3. Thanks to all for your discussion of a particular specific, bold, plan of action. I find any such analysis to be superior to vague claims such as "racism is bad, and isn't that sad" which seem to dominate so much of our culture's discussion of race.

      It's entirely reasonable to challenge, and perhaps dismiss, any particular plan of action. But the way to do that is to replace one plan with another, not to merely content ourselves with rejectionism.

      What typically happens is that somebody will suggest some plan, everyone else will immediately starting proclaiming it wrong, while offering no plan of their own, and so nothing happens, and centuries of racial divide continues.

      For myself, I see no good reason why the top 1% of our society, who control at least a third of the nation's wealth, and are those who have most benefited from America's rigged system, should not lift up those who have been most oppressed by it. Such an effort need not cost the average person a nickel, so I see no good reason to sweep such an opportunity away with a wave of our hands. Certainly we can add other plans in addition to this one, that would be great.

    4. Phil,

      Personally, I reject the conviction that commonly understood racism is some overwhelming evil and the root cause of a seemingly ever-expanding list of social ills to begin with. Pointing at differences in outcomes along racial lines is not sufficient to establish that. It's extremely popular to regard it as established beyond reasonable doubt, I grant. I'm willing to go against the grain there.

      But what's interesting here is that, in spite of my view, I nevertheless *did* offer an alternative -- after all, increased access to education is a worthy goal itself. But you seem to have overlooked my suggestions. Perhaps it was invisible precisely because it involved no massive wealth transfer to teachers and activists. And if that's the reason it didn't even register, well. Doesn't that say a lot?

      Incidentally, I have a very good reason, as a non-super-rich person, to nevertheless oppose this plan that would supposedly target, exclusively, the super-rich: if push comes to shove and it's decided that taking wealth for some grand and noble purpose MUST be done, then I have other priorities for that money.

      So yes, I'll sweep that opportunity away with a wave of my hands, and offer my own opportunities in its place, if I must.

    5. @Phil Tanny, I can appreciate the desire to avoid getting mired in perpetual kvetching, but it is untrue that unless I can provide an alternative solution, I have no right to dismiss or reject an idea.

      I also disagree with the problem statement and the premise that the solution involves some kind of massive payout by the so-called 1%. First, a wealth disparity between racial groups is not per se a problem to be solved. Second, if it is a problem, it isn't necessarily the result of any kind of racism in any tangible sense. It could be cultural, and I claim that the problem is largely cultural (for example, Thomas Sowell, for example, opines that the disintegration of the black family beginning in the 1960s, often assisted by well-meaning social programs, has had a devastating effect on black Americans; I would also mention ideologies of perpetual powerlessness and victimhood that both demoralize and divert energy away from constructive activity toward ineffectual grievance and blame). Third, even if it were racist, I don't see what the rich have to do with it unless you can show that they employ racist policies specifically to impoverish certain racial groups (the targeting of the rich under the pretext that they benefit from a rigged system is the kind of sloppy and unjust rationalization I would expect from a Marxist who foments class conflict). Fourth, throwing money at problems is precisely what (per Sowell) created much of the problems we're seeing today. NGOs, often run by wealthy philanthropists, offer a relevant example of how funneling money and free goods into causes can cause more damage than it solves (the destruction of the Nigerian cotton and textile industry through mitumba, the destruction of Haitian farming through free rice given long after a crisis has passed, even something like the effect of TOMS on African shoe manufacturing and repair). I'm not saying *charitable* work cannot help, but I would be very suspicious of any "philanthropic" or even government-mandated solution given their track record. More importantly, no amount of money can solve the basic problem which, again, is cultural. Maybe Catholic missionaries could play a role here. The Catholic Church is, after all, what turned even the pig-chasing savages of Europe into something resembling a civilization. Only after the Church has given structure to the mission to lift black America out of spiritual and moral decay and, secondarily, poverty, does talk of money make sense because only then can it be used and allocated prudently and with care. But expect also a good deal of opposition from those who pretend to be concerned for such minorities, especially when the Catholic Church is involved and from those whose careers depend on maintaining the present status quo.

  3. Hi Ed,

    In your interview, you state:

    "You’ll also find – and this is something that I discuss in my book – that the Catholic Church and the popes have officially taught for five centuries now that the kind of slavery that was practiced in the New World and the kind of slavery represented by the African slave trade was intrinsically evil. The popes condemned this consistently from the beginning. Now, it’s true that there were a lot of people who simply ignored the teaching but that was indeed the teaching. People often have this false impression…that somehow the Church is a late comer to this. Well, no. In fact, the Church has been consistently condemning what’s called chattel slavery – or the treatment of other human beings as if they were mere pieces of property or as if they were animals or something – for centuries even if the teaching was, again, often ignored."

    I have to say that this is simply incorrect. I refer you to Pius Onyemechi Adiele's work, "The Popes, the Catholic Church and the Transatlantic
    Enslavement of Black Africans 1418-1839" (Georg Olms Verlag AG, Hildesheim 2017), which was accepted as a Doctoral Dissertation in 2014 by the Faculty of Catholic Theology of the University of Tübingen. The author carried out his research at the Vatican Secret Archives (ASV) as well as the Portuguese National Archives (ANTT). His book is available online:

    With a wealth of impressively documented scholarship, Adiele demonstrates that the Popes actively supported the enslavement of Africans and the Transatlantic slave trade for nearly four centuries. He writes: "Even in the face of numerous protests made by some anti-slavery proponents in both Europe and America against the continued unjust enslavement of Black Africans, none of the popes of the Church beginning from the renaissance papacy in the fifteenth century, throughout the seventeenth and the eighteenth centuries and up to the first three decades of the nineteenth century ever remembered to hearken to those voices of protests so as to extend their fatherly concern towards Black Africans laboring under the chains of Transatlantic slavery... Even in the sixteenth century precisely in 1537 during the papacy of pope Paul III, when the papacy at last began to show interest in the sufferings of peoples held under the bondage of slavery by condemning the enslavement of the Indians of the West Indies, the Black Africans were left out and ignored in this papal interest in protecting those under enslavement... The papacy showed her concern for Black Africans in 1814 and 1823 respectively only at the motivation of the British government and only on the condition that the British government will help the Church to recover her lost Papal States which were taken away from her by the Napoleonic invasion and occupation of the Papal States in 1808."

    I'll leave it to my readers to decide whether Adiele has the better of the argument.

    1. How confident are you that a) your reading represents the view of the book, and b) that the papacy was uninterested as opposed to ill-informed or silent (per your expectations) for other reasons?

    2. I have absolutely no time nor interest to get into this in depth, but this I have to point out:
      Ed's claim: the kind of slavery the black africans were subject to - chattel slavery - was taught to be intrinsically evil
      Your claim: Popes actively supported the slavery of black africans
      The claim of the person you're quoting from: Popes ignored/ did nothing to protect black africans

    3. Hi Aizen and Oktavian,

      Aizen, you write:

      "Ed's claim: the kind of slavery the black africans were subject to - chattel slavery - was taught to be intrinsically evil
      Your claim: Popes actively supported the slavery of black africans
      The claim of the person you're quoting from: Popes ignored/ did nothing to protect black africans"

      Well, here's what Adiele's book, which I quoted from has to say on the subject (see p. 469):

      "In the course of making this investigation, the basic question that guided this work is: Did the popes of the Church actively involve themselves in the enslavement of Black Africans during the Transatlantic slave trade? At the end of this investigation, the findings from the historical sources available to this study unfortunately tended to answer this basic question in the positive. This slave trade was not only supported and approved by the Catholic
      Church but also received the blessings of the popes for a good number of reasons."

      Commenting on Pope Nicholas V's bull, "Dum Diversas," the author writes (p. 313):

      "The remaining part of the main body of this Bull contained the very lines and words which indicated the active role of the leadership of the Church in the Black African enslavement."

      Oktavian: please don't accuse me of misrepresenting Adiele. I spent several hours looking through his book online last night, before commenting on it. And yes, I'm pretty confident of my interpretation of the author's views, as I managed to skim through most of his book, focusing especially on the papacy.

      You might also want to read what the author says about the curse of Ham on pp. 166-191. It was endorsed by Pope Pius IX as late as 1873.

      Re chattel slavery: Aizen, if your only quarrel is with the kind of slavery that claims to own a man's soul as well as his body, then I respectfully submit that your claim is untenable in practice. The soul cannot be free unless the body is. You cannot coherently claim to own a man's labor without claiming to own the man himself. As Elizabeth Anscombe famously put it in her inaugural lecture as Professor of Philosophy at Cambridge University in 1971, titled, "Causality and Determination": "My actions are mostly physical movements; if these physical movements are physically predetermined by processes which I do not control, then my freedom is perfectly illusory." And I might add: "if my physical movements are determined by the whims of a slave-master whom I cannot control, then my freedom is perfectly illusory."

    4. Having read this, the author fails to make the kind of fine distinctions that Feser makes between the kinds of slavery the Church accepted as moral and the kinds that didn't. It also argues that the Protestant tradition of the Curse of Ham was a major influence on Catholic thought, which is kind of bonkers.

      All in all, for all of its "evidence", the author made a serious conceptual error that rendered the entire argument a non-sequitur.

    5. @Vincent Torley, I was being charitable to Adiele by giving him the benefit of the doubt. I think that, given the current political climate, it is entirely reasonable to be wary of "scholarship" on the subject of racism given how easily academics churn out the most ridiculous tracts on the subject.

    6. Hi Mister Geocon and Oktavian,

      Belief in the Curse of Ham has a long Catholic pedigree. Most of the following quotations are taken from Adiele's book.

      Several Church Fathers (e.g. St. Basil of Caesarea, St. John Chrysostom, St. Ambrose, St. Augustine of Hippo) all taught that the human institution of slavery had its origin in Ham's sinfulness. They did not link this to Africa. However, St. Jerome disturbingly refers to "Ethiopians" (Kushites) as "black and cloaked in the filth of sin," adding: "At one time we were Ethiopians in our vices and sins. How so? Because our sins had blackened us."

      Surprisingly, the first text to explicitly link the curse of Ham to Black Africans was the Babylonian Talmud, completed around 600 AD.

      In the tenth century, Patriarch Eutychius of Alexandria (877-940) was the first Christian Church leader to identify Black Africans as being among those afflicted by the Curse of Ham:

      “Cursed be Ham, and may he be servant of his brothers...He himself and his descendants, who are the Egyptians, the Negroes, the Ethiopians, and it is said the

      According to the famous Christian geographical work "Cursor Mundi" (1300 A.D.), Noah's son Shem and his descendants were freemen who dwelt in Asia. Japhet and his descendants were nobles and knights who came to live in Europe, while "Ham, the accursed" and his descendants were slaves who were sent to Africa.

      In the 15th century, the famous Portuguese chronicler Gomes Eannes de Azurara (1410-1474) appealed to the writings of a 12th century archbishop of Toledo, Rodrigo Jiménez de Rada (1170-1247) to support his contention that Black Africans were doomed to servitude because they were the accursed descendants of Ham:

      "The servitude of non-Muslim Moors (West Africans) resulted from the curse, which,
      after the Deluge, Noah laid upon his son Ham, cursing him in this way: 'that his race
      should be subject to all the other races of the world. And from his race these Blacks are descended,' as wrote the Archbishop Don Roderick of Toledo and Josephus in his Book on the Antiquities of the Jews, and Walter, with other authors who have spoken of the generations of Noah from the time of his going out of the Ark."

      In the 15th century, Dominican Friar Johannes Annius of Viterbo (1432-1502) wrote that the curse of Ham forced him into exile in Africa: “As a result of his sin, Ham is exiled to Africa.”

      In the 18th century, French biblical scholar and Benedictine abbot Augustine Calmet (1672-1757) wrote in a work titled “Dictionary of the Holy Bible” (1722): “Noah assigned to Ham the nations of Africa. The occasion of the color of his sons was that Noah being one day asleep discovered his nakedness, and Ham passed that way without covering him; on which accounts his descendants are born with black complexion, and the gift of the prophecy was taken from them.”

      In the 19th century, John England, the first Catholic bishop of Charleston, USA, wrote in a letter to US Secretary of State John Forsyth (1780-1841) that the enslavement of Black Africans was entirely lawful, because of the sin committed by their ancestor, Ham:

      “Since every Catholic must accept Adam's fall as an essential ingredient in the human condition, he should likewise believe that it certainly was not then against the divine law for Shem and Japheth to use the services of the Black race, since their progenitor had been cursed by God for his sinful conduct.”

      Finally, Pope Pius IX issued a Prayer for the Conversion of Africa through the Office of the Sacred Congregation of Rites on October 2, 1873, in which he declared: "“Let us pray for the most wretched Ethiopians in Central Africa, that Almighty God may at length remove the curse of Cham from their hearts, and grant them the blessing to be found only in Jesus Christ, our God and Lord." This prayer came with a 300-day indulgence.

      Is it "kind of bonkers" to say that the Curse of Ham was a major influence on Catholic thought? I think not.

    7. WCB

      Excellent post. Kudos. Do not forget Nicholas V's bulls Dum diversas and Romanus Pontifex that commanded Portugeuse kings to impose perpetual slavery on Africans as pagans and thus enemies of God.


  4. Would you care to define “historically oppressed minorities”, or give a set of criteria for choosing them?

    1. That list would seem to include a good number of peoples. As a Pole, allow me to submit my own people who, by the way, have never received a grosz of compensation for what was effectively a 50 year Soviet occupation, for the unfathomable destruction, savagery, and death caused by the Nazis and Soviets during WWII, for the 18th century Partitions, for the massive destruction of the Second Northern War, for the various massacres carried out by the Teutonic Order, for the massacres carried out by the Mongols, for the slave trade (Ah, yes. Didn't you know? The word "slave" comes from Slav. They were highly prized.), etc, etc.

      Oh, and for all those Polish jokes.

    2. How to define historically oppressed minorities? I wouldn't, as that would seem to lead directly to a never ending 'who is the bigger victim' competition. In the American context, I would aim practical remedies at the two most significant victim groups, Black Americans and Native Americans.

    3. and death caused by the Nazis and Soviets during WWII

      Oh, the Polish participated in the Holocaust too. They were not just innocent bystandards while the Germans did everything: Hitler didn't have that much free time and extra hands and feet. Same thing with Croatians during the Ustashe, which is why I'm not holding my breath for the canonization of Bl. Aloysius Stepinac. This is also why I don't exactly admire Polish nationalist saints like John Paul II, and it makes me wonder whether the Vatican hands out halos too eagerly.

      Of course, there were many Croats and Poles who resisted the Holocaust, and are included among the Righteous Among the Nations in the Yad va Shem Holocaust Museum in Israel.

    4. @Infinite Growth, there's that ignorant and vicious trope again. I'll bite, though this is a digression as my point was to show that even much more tangible claims toward restitution remain unaddressed if we wish to talk restitution.

      Were there Poles who committed crimes during WWII, who went along with Nazi, or Soviet, crimes? Obviously. I feel silly even having to state the obvious because this is something that follows not from empirical fact, but from the general proposition that the moral status of the actions of individuals during wartime does not conform strictly to the divide of the front line. There were righteous Germans and righteous Russians and wicked Poles. So what? Judas betrayed Christ, but the Apostles on the whole or as a corporate body were not agents of the Sanhedrin. We can say the same about Jews who betrayed both their fellow Jews and committed crimes against gentile Poles, but we rarely talk about those, so why the special pleading here?

      As a matter of empirical fact, we must remember things like:

      1. The Polish state never collaborated with the Nazis. Compare that with other European governments. This refusal to collaborate, and the formation of Europe's largest resistance, happened at enormous cost. This, in addition to Nazi crimes against the populace.
      2. Even the number of only those Poles recognized by Yad Vashem outstrips the combined number of people recognized from all other nations combined. Proportion and scale matter.
      3. The penalties for aiding Jews were uniquely and incomparably severe in Poland (involving the execution of the person aiding, his family, maybe neighbors, etc). And yet, point (2).
      4. Poland was home to something like 80% of world Jewry at the time of the war and the majority of the world's Jews for centuries. Any occurrence of antipathy (and don't forget Jewish bigotry, which did exist) at the time of the war was driven by economic, but also cultural, political, social, and historical factors, not racial hatred. That is, there was no impulse to exterminate any group and any crimes committed were isolated incidents of criminal opportunism taken during the chaos of wartime, not systematic programs of liquidation or some broad expression of national hatred. There were also incidents where Poles were forced under threat of death to participate in Nazi operations, incidents that some Jewish authors have grotesquely misrepresented either maliciously or through incompetence (e.g., Jan Gross).

      So I think the claim you've made is unjust and irresponsible. Sadly, it also plays into recent opportunistic politics.

    5. N.b. I am the Anon that wrote the above post responding to @Infinite Growth (I had selected "Anonymous" by accident from the drop down).

      To make clear what I meant by recent politics, take, for example, Act H.R.1226 and Senate Act S.447 through which certain organizations, with the aid of the US government, are trying to extract massive sums of money from the Polish state for so-called heirless property that once belonged to Jews. According to both Polish law and the general legal principle followed virtually everywhere, property without a legal heir reverts to the state after the death of its owner. If a legal heir exists, he is free to pursue restitution like everyone else through the Polish courts. The absurd position of certain groups is that the Polish government should treat these cases in a extraordinary way and offer broad restitution anyway, not to any heirs, because of course they don't exist, but to organizations and people who are not legal heirs. And recall that this was property held by Polish citizens as Polish Jews were Polish citizens. By reinforcing the notion that Poles, as a corporate body, are guilty of collaborating in the criminal program of the Nazis, it becomes easier to make claims on the Polish state. Heirless property, combined with a sprinkle of customary special pleading, misrepresentation, and the thought-diffusing VIP pass that is the word "Holocaust", provides a convenient opportunity for unscrupulous organizations to illegitimately extract billions of dollars from the Polish state by exploiting the emotional force of a historical tragedy. Perhaps such organizations should instead direct their claims to Berlin as the German state is responsible for handling the restitution of Jewish property lost through actions of the Nazi regime. As I mentioned already, the Poles have not received a dime of restitution for the absolute obliteration of their country, its cities, its cultural heritage, not to mention the torture, exploitation, and deaths of millions of its citizens, Jew and gentile alike.

    6. "Oh, the Polish participated in the Holocaust too."

      One word: Kapo.

    7. One word: Kapo

      At the Belsen Trial, Joseph Kramer and 44 other kapos were found guilty of war crimes, so no, that doesn't exonerate them. :)

    8. I wasn't trying to exonerate them. I'm more than happy to talk about their complicity, in fact. The Poles were victims of the Holocaust. If someone wants to talk about the crimes of particular Poles, we can start talking about the crimes of the Kapo. And maybe we'll bring the Soviets into the mix too.

      In fact, perhaps we should do that regardless.

  5. According to conventional American history, the USA became great because it was a self-made country built by the Protestant work ethic. According to Dr. Martin Luther King the USA became great because we exploited black slaves and poor immigrants. :)

  6. When based on a lie, a sound reasoning can be used to reach any conclusion, true or otherwise.

    Small example: is the statement "if 1=2 then 37=-1" true or false? It is actually true and simple to demonstrate using some arithmetic rules:
    Step 1: 1=2 (deduct 1 from both sides)
    Step 2: 0=1 (multiply both sides by 38)
    Step 3: 0=38 (deduct 1 from both sides)
    Step 4: -1=37 q.e.d.

    In short, "if A then B" is always true if A is false. All you need to do is to convince someone that A is actually true so that with sound reasoning you may conclude any consequence B at your convenience.

    1. BERTAND RUSSELL: From a falsehood any statement can be derived.

      HECKLER: Prove that if 2=1 then you are the Pope!

      BERTRAND RUSSELL: The pope and I are two, therefore the Pope and I are one.

    2. In another 30 or 40 yrs we white people will no longer be the majority race.

    3. WCB

      Logical explosion. From contradictions, any thing can follow. Including nonsense and untruths. This has been well known from the middle ages by logicians

      Goggle logical explosion for more.


    4. The paradox of the material implication seems to belie this fact. "If the moon is made of green cheese then I will grow 800ft", when analyzed with respect to truth functionality, is true. But most people would say it's false, because the consequent has no logical connection to the antecedent.

    5. Yes, there does seem to be a problem in referring to the consequent as "following from" the false antecedent. Certainly the consequent isn't being caused by the antecedent.

      One of the other problems is that the "proof" of the consequent always runs through a statement or series of statements that hold in normal conditions, but it is unclear that they ALSO hold in conditions that obtain with the false antecedent. In the above example given by our esteemed Anonymous above, if we assume 1=2, does it STILL remain true that "equals subtracted from equals make equals", which he uses to get the second step? Maybe not. So then you have to hypothesize not only "1=2" but also "and all the usual rules of arithmetic remain valid". But that, of course, is the difficulty: if 1=2, it seems unlikely that we can simply "let" all the other rules remain intact. So then that calls the assertions of the intervening steps into doubt.

    6. In the above example given by our esteemed Anonymous above, if we assume 1=2, does it STILL remain true that "equals subtracted from equals make equals", which he uses to get the second step? Maybe not.

      Yes, it does remain true. The statement 1 = 2 is a statement about the nature of the successor function used to construct integers, but "equals subtracted from equals leaves the latter quantities still equal" is a principle of first-order logic, which is more fundamental than the successor function. See my answer on Quora.

      Aristotle called the logical statements that the material implication supervenes on "enthymemes."

    7. @Tony:

      "In the above example given by our esteemed Anonymous above, if we assume 1=2, does it STILL remain true that "equals subtracted from equals make equals", which he uses to get the second step? Maybe not."

      The sentence between quotes is a special instance of "substitution of equals" principle; it can be stated as an implication "forall x, y : x = y => f x = f y" where f is a function (1), which in turn is a reflection of the mantra "first order logic is extensional".

      Technical note(s):
      (1) you can even universally quantify over f, which redounds to the indiscernability of identicals; but then, depending on how exactly you are setting things up, you are moving to second order logic which is generally not a good idea because important results like the compactness theorem fail; but this can be worked around in a number of ways.

    8. @grodrigues

      Second order logic is not logic.

    9. @Infinite_Growth:

      "Second order logic is not logic."

      I take it that what you mean here is something analogous to "A rubber duck is not a duck" which hinges on what one means by a logic.

      Whatever the criteria you have in mind, that is *not* the route commonly taken in mathematical logic, for better or worse; it would void and null things like abstract model theory, Lindstrom's theorem, etc. Just open a textbook like Mendelson's "Introduction to mathematical logic" (If I remember correctly he treats second-order logic in an appendix).

    10. The sentence between quotes is a special instance of "substitution of equals" principle; it can be stated as an implication "forall x, y : x = y => f x = f y" where f is a function

      G-rod, I would suggest that the principle only holds within a constrained , limited context, and not absolutely - for the reason that "equals" does not inherently mean "the same in every possible respect". In the realm of quantity, if you are speaking of one aspect of the two referents x and y, x=y may well imply f(x) = f(y) because you have limited the context of the "is equal" itself. But it doesn't hold in every respect if x is not the same as y in every respect. If x is "8" and y is "4 + 4" and z is "3 + 5", then they are not the same in respect of "expressed as a whole singular" versus "expressed as a sum of equal parts" or "expressed as a sum of primes", and a function that operated on them in respect of the expression rather than in respect of the total quantity would not yield the same results. It would seem to be an assumption that "equals" implies "identicals".

    11. @Infinite_Growth, @WCB, @Tony, @grodrigues

      Thank you for all commentary over my simple "if 1=2 then..." post. My intention was to illustrate metaphorically what seems to me, perhaps innadequatelly, the present practice of public discourse, in that the truthfullness of the premise - antecedent - seldom seems to be unequivocally established, e.g. the measures during the so-called pandemic are a consequence of a premise that does not appear to have been fully True. Rather, the premise was not prone to be falsifiable thus falling outside potential classification as a scientific theory - following Karl Popper. So, in this case the statement "it is scientifically proven we have a pandemic therefore your freedom need to be culled" is true becayse the antecedent cannot be proven to be true.

      Thank you again.

    12. @Tony:

      "I would suggest that the principle only holds within a constrained , limited context, and not absolutely - for the reason that "equals" does not inherently mean "the same in every possible respect". In the realm of quantity, if you are speaking of one aspect of the two referents x and y, x=y may well imply f(x) = f(y) because you have limited the context of the "is equal" itself. But it doesn't hold in every respect if x is not the same as y in every respect. If x is "8" and y is "4 + 4" and z is "3 + 5", then they are not the same in respect of "expressed as a whole singular" versus "expressed as a sum of equal parts" or "expressed as a sum of primes""

      The = sign *does* stand for identical; the names in both sides of the sign name the same, identical thing. As far as your putative counter-examples, I would say in response you are no longer talking about "8" or even "8" under some aspect, but of some other thing altogether that is somehow related to "8" -- expression trees, additive or prime decompositions, partitions, or whatever else you have in mind.

      I should clarify that I am *not* dismissing any criticisms of first order logic, or even saying that this way of talking is the best way of talking in every possible practical and theoretical subject. To give a simple, obvious example, as far as I know there is no good satisfactory account of intensional contexts. This way of talking entails no contradictions (or at least any obvious ones) and is especially useful in mathematics though; part of the reasons are certainly contingent and reflect the way how mathematicians are trained, but I would contend that they also reflect a deep intuition. Mathematical objects are simple in the sense that their identity conditions are sharp and clearly delineated -- they are the furthest removed from the material. Virtually all of mathematics can be formalized in ZFC, possibly with some extra large cardinal axioms; *equality* itself can be defined in terms of the other primitives (in symbols: x = y iff forall z, z e x <=> z e y). In this setting, we have: (1) *everything* is a set and (2) *everything* can be constructed bottom up from the empty set via (possibly transfinite) iteration. This is a large amount of reduction and simplification, yielding a powerful framework. But to circle back to the criticisms, it also has its downsides. Now suddenly, it make senses to ask the non-sensical question if the number 5 is an element of the number 1023. This question has a definite truth value but its value depends on the specific, non-essential details of the construction of the natural numbers in ZFC.