Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Aquinas and Nietzsche on the politics of envy

Recently, I joined Postliberal Order as a regular contributor.  Today, my essay “Against the Politics of Envy” appears at the site.  It discusses Aquinas’s account of the nature and effects of the sin of envy, Nietzsche’s account of the nature and effects of ressentiment, and how woke politics is clearly an expression of envious ressentiment as Aquinas and Nietzsche understand it.


  1. Philosophical hypothetical on envy.

    According to St. Thomas Aquinas (ora pro nobis) absolutely nothing can justify envy.

    Now consider the following gedanken experiment: there exists a universe where generally speaking, everyone receives a cool superpower (with varying diversity of coolness) but 1/1000000 (1 in a million) births a child is born with absolutely no special charisma. Because of this, as he matures, he finds himself in a constant disgrace, because he's not disabled, but yet he's unable to participate meaningfully in society.

    How can this man exercise the power of contrary choice (because they are both de fide doctrines that everyone has free will and every one has sufficient grace to avoid falling into mortal sin) to avoid falling into the mortal sin of envy?

    1. I reject the premise that a person's ability to contribute meaningfully to society is contingent entirely upon the things they are uniquely capable of doing.

    2. @Anonymous

      By logical definition, contribution is what you are uniquely capable of doing.

    3. Everyone who has free will has the potential capacity to willingly offer up any suffering he has for the good of others. There is no such thing as "cannot contribute meaningfully to society".

      Even on your premise, he is not unable to participate in society because he has, in each power, the normal capacities that everyone else has who has no superpower in that particular power. He will carry out the daily activities of walking, carrying, reading, etc, in the very same way that everyone else whose superpowers don't affect walking or carrying or reading etc. He will contribute in normal ways like everyone else. Even those who have (smaller) superpowers will only contribute differently in a small set of activities that might only come up infrequently. The world will still need zillions of normal jobs done normally: even Superman cannot clean all the toilets in NYC.

    4. You make two ridiculous assumptions.

      First, the notion that you cannot contribute unless you are uniquely able to contribute is preposterous. Meet any janitors lately? Perhaps leave the confines of your bedroom and observe how the world functions and appreciate how people are contributing to make the world what it is. Most jobs contribute in some manner, and both the in-principle and practically-the-case qualifications for contributing in those roles are essentially universal, even if they vary, at least contingently and temporarily, in degree. There isn't a job on this planet that someone else couldn't do. While each person is unique in that he is, trivially, an individual of unique identity, the notion that you must be uniquely capable of something to contribute something is not only horrifically nihilistic, but smells to me of pride, and this prideful misunderstanding of what it means to contribute may be the very same pride that is leading you to conclude that envy inevitably follows from inequality (a funny quirk here is that being able to uniquely contribute is itself a form of inequality).

      Second, the inability to contribute does not somehow legitimize envy. Imagine someone who is born comatose, crippled, mentally retarded, diseased, truly the least of humanity, and imagine that he is one of 10 such people. His entire life is one of dependence on others. Now, while his life provides an opportunity for people to care for him and perhaps a rare, if not unique opportunity for charity, he isn't himself contributing anything of value per se in the sense we mean it here, and certainly not in any unique way. (You might argue that his state, following baptism, preserves him in a state of moral purity, but not purity that he assented to, but by virtue of being prevented from exercising choice; Nietzsche's quote about men without claws relishing their illusory righteousness fits here.) Should he be envious? No! While his misfortune could be a cause for sorrow, the fortune of others never could be, and certainly the superiority of others never is.

      I would take some time to examine the presuppositions that seems to be leading you toward envy. I suspect pride is at work. Perhaps idolatry.

    5. @Oktavian Zamoyski

      Have you read Brave New World by Aldous Huxley? Society, for the sake of diversity, is partitioned into alpha, beta, gamma, delta, and epsilon levels of humanity. Each level is given an enhancement that the level below doesn't possess.

      That's a society where inequity exists for the purpose of the proliferation of diversity of being. Does that sound like Heaven to you? Wouldn't you judge the designer of such a society as possessing an unsound mind?

    6. Octavian doth protest too much.

  2. I have not read the article (behind a paywall and all that) but thought I would pass on some comments regarding envy from notable writers in the past.
    John of Damascus contrasts envy which is sorrow over a neighbor's good with pity which is sorrow over a neighbor's harm. Aquinas contrasts envy which is sorrow over a neighbor's good with love which rejoices over a neighbor's good. C. S. Lewis notes that envy is the only one of "the seven deadly sins" (pride, wrath, greed, lust, sloth, and gluttony being the others) that does not include pleasure even for a season.
    These thinkers provide complementary insights into envy.

    1. @Tim Finlay

      With all due respect to St. John of Damascus, it is not correct to reduce envy to sorrow over a neighbor's good. Envy fundamentally is self-awareness of disgrace, which is why it is the sin that does not induce (not include) pleasure for a season.

      It would be very bizarre, though, for a large political contingent (half of the country) to have a politics of envy, because envy is an isolating type of sin. It's not really the type of sin that you can commit as a group, because if you're disgraced in a group, then in some sense you're no longer disgraced. You're more like a pirate, or the criminals who founded Australia, or Ali Baba and the King of Thieves. You're starting a new social order with new standards of grace and disgrace.

    2. In equating envy to sorrow over a neighbor's good, both John of Damascus and Aquinas know that more distinctions are necessary, involving the teleology of that sorrow. Aquinas, for example, notes that it is not wrong to sorrow over a neighbor's good if the reason for that sorrow is a genuine fear of the evil that the neighbor is likely to do with that good.
      I am not sure that disgrace is always present in envy. Envy can result from someone's random good fortune like winning the lottery that does not involve a disgrace of the envious person.

    3. @Tim Finay

      I disagree strongly. Envy always requires feelings of disgrace in some way. At the very least, the comparative disgrace of not receiving as much attention as the lottery winner, as per your example.

    4. @HolyKnowledge Why the insistence on this particular definition of envy? There are clearly different (complementary) definitions. Why do think that it is impossible to experience envy without disgrace? How are you defining "disgrace"?

    5. @HolyKnowledge:
      Tim Finlay was, I think, talking about an objectively-real type of disgrace. You seem to be discussing feelings of disgrace. A person can feel disgrace over something that's actually good and honorable; and he can fail to feel disgrace over something that's objectively disgraceful.

      Perhaps Tim would agree that, to the degree that Envy as a choice-of-will is accompanied by any feelings at all, they originate in a feeling of insufficiency or lack of one's own just deserts, and these feelings coalesce into a general sense of disgrace (either deserved or undeserved). Then, the temptation to Envy emerges as a kind of felt displeasure at the merits or honor received by the other, contrasted against oneself. The moment one's will permits a grudge against the other on the basis of his merits or honor contrasted against one's own, the sin of Envy has been committed.

      So, in the case that Tim provides ("someone's random good fortune like winning the lottery"), the man who envies him may experience a feeling of disgrace: "Why does the universe love THAT guy, and not me? I'd like to give my kids a better life, like that lucky guy can; but I'm the dumb schmuck who has no options, who always fails. God hates me or something. I always get kicked down while others thrive..." etc., etc.

      In reality, of course, not winning the lottery is no rational basis for feelings of disgrace. Such feelings are objectively incorrect. (Objectively, since lotteries are a "tax on people who can't do math," the man who never plays should receive honor and the man who wins should have a feeling of disgrace for the bad decision of playing.)

      But unruly human feelings convey incorrect messages all the time, don't they?

      So I'm not sure your disagreement with Tim isn't reconcilable on that basis.

    6. R.C.
      I would certainly agree with you that an irrational feeling of disgrace can lead to envy in situations like the lottery one. Perhaps HolyKnowledge was arguing something stronger than this though.
      One important point concerning biblical expositions on this topic is that we are clearly directed not to envy the rich. And that directive goes opposite to original Marxism and to the Frankfurt School of Marxism which is a major source of critical theory. I presume that Ed discussed this somewhat in the main article.

  3. Wokes don't seek 'justice'. They just want 'retribution'.

    They are lunatic Don Quixotes tilting at windmills. Their imagination has become their only reality.

    Wokes are no better than little children.

    'I Want , therefore I Am'.

  4. "The reality is that the demand for equity has nothing at all to do with justice, "
    How absurd.

    "but is rooted instead in one of the seven deadly sins – envy. "
    This reminds of the adolescent taunt "you're just jealous"

    "If many modern people do not see this, that is precisely because this particular sin is itself now pervasive and deep-rooted in modern Western society."
    Or, modern people do not see this for the simple reason that the assertion is not true.

    Inequity is deeply rooted in inequality. This is particularly obvious for black Americans.

    Inequality is unjust, therefore its effect, inequity, is unjust.

    Righting the wrong of legal injustice is socially insufficient. The work of righting the wrong, of undoing the injustice, is not complete until the effect of that injustice, the lingering injustice of inequity, is righted.

    Inequality for black Americans is the overwhelming cause of inequity for black Americans.

    While black Americans were suffering from centuries of kidnapping and enslavement, followed by legal and harsh discrimination, there were many who blamed the victims.

    That resultant inequity has generational effects, deeply rooted social inertia. It is a grotesque perversion of decency to dismiss inequity now as entirely divorced from its root cause, the gross injustice of American racism and racial discrimination.

    The demand for equity now has everything to do with the demand for justice. The cavalier dismissal of the motivations of those who seek equity justice with the supercilious claim that those wronged are merely envious, is a pernicious claim fully earning the author disrepute.

    1. It is nice to see this assumption stated explicitly in an argument: "Inequality is unjust, therefore its effect, inequity, is unjust.". But, of course, it is a false assumption, for inequality as such is not unjust.

      And that suggests that the woke are likely to be bad at finding real injustices and and even worse at finding ways to correct them.

    2. Inequality is unjust,

      This is absurd. Jenny is born with IQ 130. Johnny is born with IQ 100. They are unequal. This represents injustice? Johnny will grow to 6'3" and muscular, jenny will grow to 5'1 and petite. Johnny will be able to lift 100 lbs without trouble, and Jenny will be able to fit into small cars and small airplane seats without discomfort (unlike Johnny). These are all ways in which they are unequal, and therefore they are unjust.

      To whom is injustice done by their lack of equality? And by whom is injustice done in their being unequal?

      Nature is chock-to-the-brim full of inequality. Nature is not "unjust". Inequality of nature flows over into human affairs without our being able to prevent it: The residents of Spokane are enjoying fine weather today, while I am suffering a meltingly hot day. This is injustice, I demand equality! Nature should make my location fine today also!

      The notion that inequality is unjust hasn't a shred of sound basis, it's silly nonsense squared.

    3. MP,
      "inequality as such is not unjust"
      You clearly either are not an American, or are an American who knows nothing about fundamental principles of American justice.

      Justice is, ideally, blind. You have seen this principle depicted in statues, at least, haven't you?

      Lady Justice, blindfolded, with a balance scale in her hand.

      Justice demands that one is judged blindly, and equally. You understand at least that much don't you? That a balance scale determines equal measures, thus justice depends on equality, as Lady Justice balances equally and blindly.

      "the woke"
      How pathetic.

      The great traditions of blind justice, the equality of all to be judged blindly, are great traditions of American jurisprudence.

      Yet you call the principles of equality in justice "woke".

    4. Stupid,
      "This is absurd. Jenny is born with IQ 130. Johnny is born with IQ 100. They are unequal"
      You really are that dense, aren't you?

      You don't even know the difference between sameness and equality in justice.

      "Nature is chock-to-the-brim full of inequality."
      You indeed personify the law of the jungle.

    5. Jenny is born with IQ 130. Johnny is born with IQ 100. They are unequal. This represents injustice?

      That strongly depends on how you interpret this fact.

      If you are a Buddhist, no, it is not unjust, because Jenny's talents were the result of prior good karma and John's lack of talent was the result of a deficit of good karma. From the Buddhist perspective, when viewed over the complex machinations of time, it is not unjust. And if John becomes aware that his lack of talents is due to karma, and conducts himself well, he has hope of a better and more auspicious rebirth than Jenny.

      If you are John Calvin, who believed that God gifted Jenny and showed lesser grace to John because He can and no one is strong enough to stop Him, then yes, it is extremely unjust. And those who say you can't question God's wisdom are offering Richard Feynman's "shut up and calculate" interpretation of theology.

    6. "The notion that inequality is unjust hasn't a shred of sound basis, it's silly nonsense squared."

      It has been interesting to observe the ad hominem and histrionic response to what is your completely unexceptionable observation.

      First, you are judged as not an American; or, if American, then a badly ignorant American.Then, in order to try and establish this proposition, the critic disingenuously shifts from the topic of inequality as natural and unequal capacity per se, to equality before the bar.

      The problem for the critic of course, is that beside his failed and buffoonish attempt at a rhetorical sleight of hand, the critic seems himself to have no guiding concept of the distinction made in American jurisprudence between the legal realms of law and equity.

      Of course, for the organisms of the left, all relations involving sentient entities, devolve into questions of raw power and brute fact appetite. There are no non arbitrary standards to which one may securely, much less be obligated to refer to

      Law, as historically understood and applied cannot even exist as more than arbitrary command and coercion, among creatures with such mentalities.

      That would be mentalities such as Sunshine-snowflake demonstrates so regularly in this blog space.

    7. JYou don't even know the difference between sameness and equality in justice.

      Oh, brother.

      Who said anything about sameness? Two people can have an equal IQ but be different how they manifest intelligence: one might be quicker, the other more methodical, each reaping certain benefits and certain drawbacks - but not the same benefits or drawbacks.

      But the fact that Jenny and Johnny have been born with an unequal IQ means that they are not in similar situations as to opportunity in future life. Johnny cannot aspire to learn things that Jenny can learn with ease. Therefore an injustice has been done. The question is, who did the injustice? How shall the injustice be repaired? Can you make Johnny smarter? No. So you must make Jenny stupider. (Fortunately, public schools will do just that.)

      Justice demands that one is judged blindly, and equally. Y

      If you had studied anything at all about the law, you would have known that even this saying has a qualifier. For justice demands equal treatment for those who are similarly situated. A prison that feeds every prisoner 2,000 calories a day (that's EQUALITY, blindly delivered, as the average of the daily need for all prisoners) is manifestly unjust to the prisoner who is 6'10" and weighs 280 pounds. You can't get away from the need to adjudicate on what factors determine the relevant similarity of situations. And that is, per se, distinguishing, and not simple blindness.

    8. That is what law is, the aggregate of individual emotions of ought. If my ought is with the law and yours is not then you will likely have your ought impinged upon by my ought.

      On materialism there is just the competition between differing senses of ought. People would fight, compete, even kill and go to war based on competing oughts.

      People do what they want. The only thing you can do is what you want, the aggregate of your wants.

      Ought is just an emotion, the experience of brain processes.

      Stardusty says these things, then starts talking about nonexistent concepts (based on the above quotes) like justice, equality, and equity. Even criticizes the "law of the jungle", as if that isn't exactly what his beliefs entail.

      New Atheist logic strikes again. Not surprising from someone whose shift key works for "Lady Justice", but not God.

      Pathetic for such a one to have the nerve to call others dense.

    9. DNW,
      "It has been interesting to observe the ad hominem and histrionic response to what is your completely unexceptionable observation."
      Did you read the OP?

      Do you have any concepts of the context of the words "equality", "justice", and "equity" with respect to the OP, and how those relate to the assertion of "envy" made in the OP?

      It seems not.

      I suggest you go to the link provided in the OP by Dr. Feser, read his words, and consider his thesis in that context. That is what I did. If you do not wish to do that, up to you, but then you are not engaging on the topic of the OP.

      Sameness is not equality in this context, they are two very different uses of the term "equality".

      Citing two people as being different because they have different IQs and therefore unequal is silly.

      Two people with different IQs are equal. That's what justice demands, equality for people who are not the same.

      At least learn the words "equality", "justice", "equity", "envy" in the context of the OP.

      The case of black Americans is particularly stark because modern inequity has been so clearly caused by inequality and injustice.

      The demand for equity has everything to do with the demand for justice, and nothing to do with envy.

      To claim that the demand for equity is not a demand to right the wrongs caused by the injustice of inequality, and is instead merely caused by envy, is a grotesque perversion of decency, a clear case of blaming the victim.

    10. Ah, thank you, that creates a convenient way to introduce a distinction (as Thomists are known to do).

      There is "equality" (sometimes called "legal equality" or "formal equality") that is an opposite of "respect for persons".

      There is also "equality" that is an opposite of "income inequality" or "wealth inequality".

      And there is "equality" that is concerned with respect, "microagressions", representation in movies etc.

      As we can see, when the woke (here represented by Stardusty) want to argue that equality is good, they end up having to argue that the first kind of equality is good.

      But when we see what kind of equality they actually strive to achieve, we see the other kinds of equality. Sometimes even at the cost of that first kind (for example, when some Universities want to admit more people from specific backgrounds, even when they are less qualified).

      So, why aren't they arguing that the kinds of equality that they want are required for justice?


    11. "DNW,

      "It has been interesting to observe the ad hominem and histrionic response to what is your completely unexceptionable observation."

      Did you read the OP?"

      Yes, I did.

      "Do you have any concepts of the context of the words "equality", "justice", and "equity" with respect to the OP, and how those relate to the assertion of "envy" made in the OP?"

      Yes, I do. For an average Joe, I have a comparatively extensive background in the history of law and constitutional development, the philosophy of law and politics, and several areas or periods of philosophy in general. You can throw in successful coursework in economics, anthropology, and enough psychology to have qualified for a major, as well.

      "Citing two people as being different because they have different IQs and therefore unequal is silly."

      On the contrary. It is a common and even unavoidable observation when considering the "just" distribution of so-called social goods, the benefits of produced material value, and the enjoyment of life satisfactions.

      Even that malicious and envious piece of sxit Karl Marx explicitly admitted as much. Men, are not by nature equal in their capacities and natural powers.

      Hence the famous (re) distribution formulation offered in the Communist Manifesto.

      Hence also his redefinion of the imagined proper return of "surplus" value as being not to the particular individual who produced it, but to be redirected elsewhere.

      It is passing strange, even absurd, that an in-effect nominalist like yourself, whose only "real" anthropological foundations reduce as you so often admit to appetite and power relations, should even presume to speak of justice or equality ... much less "equity"

      Do you realize how clownish you are being when doing so?

      It is you who obviously know nothing of American law, legal philosophy, or of constitutional development within a regime of individual liberty and inherent rights.

      Yet you pretend to challenge another on his status as an American based on your ignorance of our predicate legal system?

      You are a poseur in this regard, just as you were when it came to your empty boasts regarding you implied mastery of phenomenological and existentialist philosophy; and just as when you stupidly misdirected a fallacy of composition charge at a destructuring analysis.

      You have left such a trail of sticky moral relativist slime behind you, that there is no hope of your escaping it now as you yap about justice as if it had some naturally based intersubjectively obvious meaning, or carried with it a duty.

      If you now imagine that you can do so, you really must be, as you often insist, hallucinating.

    12. Stardusty, the free-will denier, is a massive lover of 'humanity'. But according to him and his co-religionists, the term 'human' is just the result of a 'convention'. But now things get more interesting: because said convention is agreed by 'human brains' alone, which means that human beings are a natural kind after all. Horse before cart and all that.

      And here he and his ilk contradict themselves (again).

      But hey, 'contradictions' have no basis in reality after all. It's just another 'convention'. Maybe in 20 years, society will agree that contradictions are fine.

      And Saturday will get his statue/ non-statue, with its 'bronze'/'non-bronze' made and not made of dualistic 'matter' and non-matter at the same time and in the same hallucinated respect.

  5. WCB

    So if we fight racism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, or other issues that arbitrarily limit a person's freedoms in an often thoughtless world, we are now labelled "woke". Which now is to be labelled a sin.

    I can think of no single theological idea that could be calculated to make lots of good people despise theology and religions that buy into such a bad theological gotchya.

    A similar bad idea being spread through the Calvanist religious sphere is the claim to be empathetic is a sin.

    The Bible commands mercy, compassion and justice. Perhaps start with Isaiah 1. Not a misreading of Aquinas.


    1. @WCB

      The idea that empathy is a sin goes all the way back to Jesus's time, to Zaken Hillel and Zaken Shammai.

      The question Beit Hillel and Beit Shammai wrestled over was the following: when your wife comes to you and asks if she is a good cook, do you tell her the truth that she cooks like Bender the Robot from Futurama?

      Beit Hillel said that, for the sake of empathy, it is good to tell a little, white venial lie. Tell her that she's a lovely cook, because you love her. Luke Skywalker was from Beit Hillel.

      Beit Shammai said to say the brutal truth, as tactfully as you can, but nonetheless to still explicitly say it. Do not put yourself in her shoes. Do not think about her feelings.

      The New Testament strongly sides with Beit Shammai.

      "It was one of them, their very own prophet, who said, 'Cretans are always liars, vicious brutes, lazy gluttons.' That testimony is true. For this reason rebuke them sharply, so that they may become sound in the faith, not paying attention to Jewish myths or to commandments of those who reject the truth. To the pure all things are pure, but to the corrupt and unbelieving nothing is pure. Their very minds and consciences are corrupted. They profess to know God, but they deny him by their actions. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work." (Titus 1:12-16 NRSVCE)

    2. when your wife comes to you and asks if she is a good cook, do you tell her the truth that she cooks like Bender the Robot from Futurama?

      Prudence is knowing when to reject answering a yes/no question as if the mere fact that someone poses the question obliges you to answer it directly. You are rarely faced with a situation where there are NO other options than just the 2 presented by some antagonist who is out to trap you. (As Jesus showed over and over again.) Do an end run around the problem presented. Ask a question in return. Ask for clarification. Delay. Discover that you have something urgent to do. Discuss the philosophy of cooking (or gardening, whatever). Point out your own lack of standing to express an authoritative opinion. Point out how much you like (even just one) of the dishes she does OK. Just plain decline to answer.

      Another alternative is to prevent these questions coming up. If your wife asks you "does this dress make me look fat", and you answer "hell, no, it ain't the dress", she will NEVER ask a question like that again, guaranteed. ;-)

    3. @Anonymous

      When she asks you if she's a good cook and you say "I'm not going to answer that question" (or use the other stalling tactics you recommended) then that is the same as answering "no"! Do you understand why?

      Ancient Greek and the early church had a word for empathy. They knew it existed. Yet there exists a reason why the early church judged that Truth should be a cardinal virtue but empathy a non-cardinal virtue: because eventually society will judge a person who foolishly chooses empathy as a cardinal virtue as a liar. Because telling the Truth requires being very unsympathetic sometimes.

    4. then that is the same as answering "no"! Do you understand why?

      Oh, gee, I didn't notice that. Duh

      Yes, I understand why. But a lifetime of marriage isn't made on one answer to one question. Explaining that "even if I am happy answering THIS question, this time, if you keep on posing this kind of question, you are going to eventually run up against an answer you would wish you didn't hear," sets you up for a long-term betterment of the relationship.

      Does this dress make me look fat?
      Have you stopped beating your wife?
      Am I as beautiful (handsome) as when we got married?

      There are things best not asked.

    5. @WCB:

      Fighting 'injustice' is not the problem.

      The problem is that it's totally incoherent within a materialist/ Darwinian worldview.

      You violate your foundational precepts all the time. You people live in a permanent contradiction.

      And especially since, according to materialism, we don't have free will to choose between 'good' and 'evil'.

      Your position is a joke.

  6. WCB

    Not quite the same as people fighting injustices like misogyny or racism and labelling them woke and guilty of the sin of envy, is it?

    Check out Matthew 23, the generation of vipers rant of Jesus. Jesus here is pretty "woke". Or Matthew 25. "That that you did not to the least of these you did not to me also."

    I am down here in Texas where our GOP dominated legislature refused to create medicaid exchanges resulting in Texas having a large number of people with no health insurance and high mortality rates as a result. But want the ten commandments posted in every schoOl room. (Just not the Jesus version ending in "You lack one thing, sell all you have and give to the poor"). A real generation of vipers the lot of them.

    A real loving husband would not lie he loves bad cooking, he would hire a good cook to give her cooking lessons.


    1. That technique you just pulled is exactly why people don't like wokeness. "Oh because I'm fighting evil, that makes me a bad person?" The insistence on mischaracterizing others' motives, the insistence that what you are doing is unambiguously good and totally beyond criticism, and the inability to tolerate reasonable disagreement but instead always resorting to name-calling, ad-hominem attacks, and playing the victim, is what makes people woke and is why wokeness is worth fighting.

      For example, claiming that not creating medicaid exchanges is unambiguously bad, but creating them would be unambiguously good, completely shuts out the possibility that there are trade-offs in every decision we make, especially decisions that affect millions of people. Woke people seem constitutionally unable to acknowledge this fairly basic fact, and is why they always result to labeling people as evil instead of simply engaging with the actual substance of the debate.

    2. WCB

      States like Texas who fail to set up exchanges as a result have large numbers of working poor who suffer from resulting poor health, because of right wing politics.

      Recently in the U.S. Senate we had a bill offered to cap insulin prices which are very high in the U.S. compared to the rest of the civilized world. That effort failed because of GOP instragence. Almost all GOP politicians loudly proclaim themselves to be Christians.

      It is failures like this that see a rising movement of younger Americans from relious belivers to Atheism and Agnosticism. 19% of younger Americans, Generation Z now self identify as Atheist or Agnostic. And anti- GOP.

      Asfor anti-wke and anti-CRT, we see nationwide using these political ideas used for bad reasons.

      Teaching real history in schools triggers poor little white students to read about U.S. history of slavery, the civil war, jim crow, segregation et al and are severely bowdlerizing history teaching to not trigger these little snowflakes.

      Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.”
      ― George Orwell, 1984

      There is a lot to be aware of and angry about in today's USA, thanks to what passes here as conservatism.


    3. @WCB

      Right-wing wants to teach mythology. Left-wing wants to teach politically correct togetherness, which also means falsehood (although not the same type of falsehood as mythology).

      Nobody wants to teach real history. People in the United States have had their souls atrophied so that they can't handle real history. They had their brains lobotomized so that they can't objectively analyze history on their own. This was done with malice aforethought.

      "Col Jessup: I'll answer the question. You want answers?
      LTJG Kaffee: I think I'm entitled to them.
      Col Jessup: You want answers?!
      LTJG Kaffee: I want the truth!
      Col Jessup: You can't handle the truth!" - A Few Good Men (1992)

    4. "I am down here in Texas where our GOP dominated legislature refused to create medicaid exchanges resulting in Texas having a large number of people with no health insurance and high mortality rates as a result. But want the ten commandments posted in every schoOl room."

      Some suggested key word searches:
      Non Communicable diseases and mortality
      Lifestyle diseases
      Chronic illness and obesity
      Sexually Transmitted disease and the development of chronic health problems

      Perhaps then, Texas would have done better to post the seven deadly sins in classrooms.

      Surely WCB would have no objection to that. Especially as they can be presented in a secular context.


      Now, those are traditionally interpreted as to leading to spiritual death; but it is rather obvious that they kill the bodies of the practitioners as well. Especially, the bodies of the gluttons, the slothful, the angry and envious, and those imprudent vainglorious types who won't correct course.

      That just leaves greed, which coupled to anger and pride is almost certainly what leaves bodies strewn on the pavements of American cities.

      But no, what America supposedly needs according to the woke, is more public funding to treat the symptoms and the results of behavioral incontinence, rather than to correct the moral disorders that lead to an overwhelming percentage of them.



    5. WCB
      " Teaching real history in schools triggers poor little white students ..."

      Mark that in stone. A facade slips, the real face shows.

      And you have to consider that it is your own kids and family that the son-of-a-shehound is referring to with this malice and contempt.

      So it is good that Ed Feser allows a few anti-Christian trolls to post on his blog.

      Granting that they may be annoying, and always keeping in mind that "The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose. An evil soul producing holy witness ...", they are useful still.

      Not because anyone assumes that they can be reasoned with, but because if you give them enough room, eventually they will show their real faces: The face of an actual enemy, an impertinent molester, who wishes to punish, humiliate, and demoralize. Not just you, but your very children.

      They accuse conservatives and libertarians of "indifference" and exclusion. Oh to be excluded, from the molesting attentions of the left.

    6. WCB:

      Your constant appeals to numbers are very silly.

      It's totally irrelevant what people 'self-identify' themselves with when what it's being discussed is if their beliefs are rational.

      And all your 'mechanistic', 'un-willed' appeals to emotions and the 'objective' evil of 'hypocrisy' and 'greed' are very silly too.

      You'll need to learn to be a consistent debater.

  7. I suppose it is possible to politicize most anything. Even sin. Why it would be deemed worthwhile to do so is a question a pragmatist might not entertain. Such politicization does not seem useful to me. According to religious thought, everyone is a sinner. Fair enough, then, we need not play favorites. There are none.

  8. Funny how StardustPsyche goes from one thread arguing that immorality and ethics aren't objective and that anyone who uses moral language is really saying nothing more than "I subjectively prefer a world operating by these principles" to this thread talking about concepts like "justice" as though the were actual moral truths.

    I guess "lack of inequity gives me the big sad" isn't rhetorically as convincing as speaking out of both sides of one's mouth.

    1. @Anonymous:

      Stardusty knows that laughter is an objective 'good'.

      So he makes us laugh for free, as an expression of his pre-determined and neurochemically hallucinated morality.

      A good fella he is.

  9. WCB

    "Everybody is a sinner." So give up and stop fighting injustuce? No. That old tiresome platitude doesn't mean anything worth mentioning.

    Even if one says "everybody is a sinner", it is obvious some people are worst sinners than others. Those politicians and right wing media figures spreading lies, disinformation, and bad ideas need to be vigorousy fought.

    No matter if they bellow "Woke!", or "CRT",, or "Marxism!" etc when challenged.

    The efforts to label empathy or fighting for just as envy and sin by religious propagandists is not going to in the end do anything good for the public good opinion of organized religion.


    1. So, here you would like to express gratefulness (or maybe "happiness") that you are not like those other people, who are "spreading lies, disinformation, and bad ideas"?

      For, you know, if you want to cite Bible, there is a part about a Pharisee and a Publican that just might prompt one to think if the things that you are saying really sound as well, as you seem to imagine...

      Not to mention that there is another question: how do you even know that you are better than them? How do you know that you are not "spreading lies, disinformation, and bad ideas" yourself? How do you know you are "fighting for just"?

      For empathy is not known as a great tool for telling "lies" or "bad ideas" from truth, and you do not praise yourself for having any more relevant abilities.

    2. WCB:

      An atheist teaching others about 'objective morality' is a sad joke.

      Why don't you accept where your ideology leads?

  10. Those politicians and right wing media figures spreading lies, disinformation, and bad ideas need to be vigorousy fought.

    After we fight the same thing on the left, or at the same time? Or do we pretend the left isn't the exact same way, or "not as bad"?

    Calling out one side for something both sides do is hypocrisy, and if you want to talk about something Jesus didn't like, hypocrisy was way up there.

  11. "Recently in the U.S. Senate we had a bill offered to cap insulin prices which are very high in the U.S. compared to the rest of the civilized world."

    Yeah, good idea. Not. Cap the price of insulin across the board so it will be cheaper for the effen type 2 diabetics too? So they can, at least in noticeable measure, shoot themselves up with an extra insulin hit in order to cram more donuts down their jowly maws?

    I doubt if anyone would object to open sourcing of insulin [the practical difficulties in shipment and storage aside] so auto-immune type 1 diabetics could get insulin at reasonable prices.

    But: "More than 37 million Americans have diabetes (about 1 in 10), and approximately 90-95% of them have type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes most often develops in people over age 45, but more and more children, teens, and young adults are also developing it."

    Yeah, by and large [pun intended] , fat people are type 2 diabetics. And a few older grannies.

    According to various sources, about 30% of type 2 diabetics use insulin rather than metaformin.

    Inasmuch as self-control, diet, and exercise, is reported to have a 58% effectiveness in the "remission" of type 2 diabetes, it seems fatuous [pun intended] to jabber on without distinction as if all of these insulin users were in the same moral entitlement boat.

    Why should I or anyone else become a damn slave to some smug self indulgent fatass who is a damn slave to her own appetites?

    You, would reduce us to being involuntary slaves of voluntary slaves. If, that is, they even have volition according to traditional human standards. And for the moment we impute that quality to them for the sake of argument.

    I count Christians lucky that an apparent masochist like yourself has self-declared as not being one of them.

    Institutional Christianity has [as does every institution providing sinecures and comfy niches] enough problems already with sexually peverted and submissive free riders, half sublimating their urges temporarily as they infiltrate and terraform the churches into cuckcovens.

    But as Starryboy says, it's not a matter of right and wrong; just what meaningless nature has programmed you to do and be.

    Some are programmed to be the primate equivalent of social insects, while others, well, not so much.

  12. "Or suppose you are sorry that someone enjoys some good because he has gained it unjustly. For example, you might be appalled at Bernie Madoff’s wealth, because he got it dishonestly and seriously harmed many innocent people in doing so. And you might be pleased that he eventually lost these ill-gotten gains and ended up in prison. That is not envy either. It is indignation at injustice, and satisfaction at seeing the wrong eventually corrected (however imperfectly in this case)."

    But that is the essence of most progressive thought about the broader Western tradition and specifically the American experiment. Everything gotten was unjust and at the expense of others. Therefore based on this these various "woke" ideologies aren't based on envy, at least from their point of view.

  13. Thank you. I have come to appreciate your clear and perceptive analysis of many topics about which I knew little.