Thursday, November 9, 2023

All One in Christ at Public Discourse

At Public Discourse, John F. Doherty kindly reviews my book All One in Christ: A Catholic Critique of Racism and Critical Race Theory.  From the review:

In Feser’s book, Catholics, other Christians, and even non-Christians will find much to help them confront CRT and the perennial challenges of living in a racially diverse society

Critical race theorists routinely use confusing, tough-to-pin-down logical fallacies.  Feser does us the service of laying these fallacies out methodically and succinctly

For anyone who knows nothing about CRT, All One in Christ is an excellent place to start.  It has a decidedly negative perspective on the movement, but Feser takes pains to be fair to his opponents.


  1. "It has a decidedly negative perspective on the movement"

    That's like writing a book about cancer and being called for "having a decidedly negative perspective on the decease".
    Almost literally, once you think about it, since CRT is the lethal mutation of good ideas.

  2. "Only on such a principled basis, Feser says, could one overcome racism. Biology can refute many racist claims, but hardened racists can always find genetic differences between races to rationalize their prejudice ..."

    Yeah, so, it seems that Rorty's maligned metaphysicians have more moral courage and are more willing to grasp the nettle than are the superficially nonchalant pragmatists who try to paper it all over with emotive appeals and strident solidarity pimping.

    And race as currently conceived of need not even enter into it. One could just as easily substitute family lineages, or social incompatibilities resulting from genetic influences or predispositions, or almost any selected trait not found universally present throught the worldwide human population and thought qt to be obnoxious.

    And unless the CRT crowd finds a way to prevent assortative mating, the issue of psychological incompatibility will arise again and again, making the costs of social affiliation unequally distributive.

    Rawls recognized this in 'A Theory of Justice', when he admitted more or less in passing, that eugenics would eventually have to play a role in the society he envisioned.

    Of course with gene therapy, many "social problems" traceable to supposedly heritable conditions presenting as behavioral traits might be "cured". You know, schizophrenia, poor impulse control, homosexual tendencies ... almost anything that presents costs that burden others and can be predicted to make an association with such persons uncongenial or disadvantageous for some.

    Christianity purports to have an answer. Others, not so much.

    1. Read above as : " ... any selected trait not found universally present throughout the worldwide human population and thought to be obnoxious ..."

      Should know better than to use a hand held device ...

  3. Laudator Temporis ActiNovember 10, 2023 at 5:02 AM

    "the perennial challenges of living in a racially diverse society…"

    "Perennial" is one way of putting it. "Insoluble" is another. Also "intractable". And, of course, the biggest enemies of Christ and the Church are also the most enthusiastic supporters of racial diversity and open borders. What Would Aquinas Think?

    1. These are alt-right talking points that ignore the facts on the ground in the US. The country is already very racially diverse (only like 65% "non-Hispanic white", a group that includes middle easterners) and would continue to be so even if immigration was kept at zero for decades going forwards. The races are mixed up on a neighborhood by neighborhood basis within metropolitan areas. According to you, different racial groups can't live together. So are we going to have massive amounts of ethnic cleansing and population exchanges to create "racially pure" states? The 20th century has proven that these schemes always lead to genocides and pograms, so "peaceful ethnic cleansing" is not realistic (see the India-Pakistan partition where 1M died). To propose this with this hindsight is irresponsible at best and plainly evil at worst. Would Aquinas, after being brought up to speed on the facts, really support this as the most prudent way to solve the country's racial challenges?

  4. CRT never made much sense to me even if we were willing to concede much of their philosophical ground. Everything the left pushes about race can be explained much better with the classical Marxist/ Communist focus on class/ economics. Not saying I agree with either but if you're going to support CRT/ Racial politics of the Left in 2023, just become an actual Marxist (they already are in some ways but anyone with a pulse should be able to confront CRT. It takes a bit more work to dismantle the classical Marxist talking points)

  5. "Racial politics of the Left in 2023, just become an actual Marxist (they already are in some ways but anyone with a pulse should be able to confront CRT. It takes a bit more work to dismantle the classical Marxist talking points)"

    I'm not sure that classical Marxism was capable of surviving Classical Marxism.

    The moment one looks closely at the slogans of the Communist Manifesto [especially the "from each, to each" business] and compares that to the theory of capital and the supposed return of value to the producer, the whole veil of rational economic argument collapses upon the predicate of a sheer emotionally driven totalizing collectivist impulse and anthropology.

    And of course if some men seek economic justice in the form of the actual return of more of the produced and hypothetically capitalist exploited value directly to themselves as individual producers, rather than to the collective, then they don't fit into the socialist definition of [new] man, but become something else like individualists, reactionaries, or "insects", that need to be culled from the population.

    Murder and resentment are at the heart of ideological or programmatic collectivism, no matter how it is dressed up with talk of equity or distributive efficiency.

    How many millions was it that Larry Grathwohl said the Weathermen Underground thought they would have to send to camps and kill?

    1. "Classical Marxism" is like sola scriptura with Marx's major works replacing the Bible, and both Leninists and Western social democrats claimed the label in the 20th century. I'm not a huge fan of Clement Atlee or modern Sweden but there were no death camps as far as I'm aware.

      I think the Leninists were fueled by resentment while the social democrats and Keynesians were fueled by a desire for social stability, including a desire among business elites to preserve the market.

    2. "I think the Leninists were fueled by resentment while the social democrats and Keynesians were fueled by a desire for social stability, including a desire among business elites to preserve the market."

      It has been years since I have slogged through Keynes' essays; and what Atlee privately admitted to versus what he publicly showed, is something I'd have to refresh on. And I am not going to play that Google Game before answering, nor would you want me to.

      But what I can say off the top of my head and with assurance is that the Labor Party was filled with verminous Marxists of every known subspecies, and their Soviet style of rhetoric and thinking and even address, so well parodied in British films, persists to this day in certain subpopulations within the U.K.

      Britain may have been a class riven polity, but what repeatedly shocks me is the seemingly organically collectivist bent of mind of some of the population. And this is nothing new, but can be seen expressed in the extreme moral lability of some British subjects down through the ages wherein identification with, and acceptance by, you-name-it seems to be everything

      Now, I think we could add old Karl Diabolicus Marx to the list of resentment driven collectivist goons too. Two squandered inheritances and the charity of Engels were not enough. No, the bourgeoisie would he declared, have reason to remember his carbuncles. I wonder if his ever-worshipful daughters, the recipients of his doting affection, thought of that bequest to the rest of mankind as they declared long live the revolution, and killed themselves.

      But, that resentment over the natural inequality of man in genetics, fortune, daily life and other aspects of his existence is why communism is NOT about the restoration of produced value to the individual. Primates like Marx would simply die, if they received back what value they produced.

      There is a term seen abroad recently, which I am not sure I understand, but apparently is used by atheist Alt-rightists as a naturalist-grounded term of melded description and opprobrium.

      It is "bioleninsm". Whether it plays off the concept of the Marxist Lumpenproletariat which Marxists hoped to eventually arouse, or the sneers of some secular conservatives at the physical assymmetry of progressives in general and their greater incidences of mental health disorders, I have not yet unpacked.

      But you don't need to gaze for long at the mugshots of the Antifa crowd to possibly grasp the general notion.

      That even progressives notice this is seen in the attempts of some progressive political commentators to suggest that disdain actually has a heriditable impact on the decendants of those held in contempt. Something to do with what was once called "junk DNA", if I remember.

      So, it is because of some emotional trauma that Paul Krugman's grandmother suffered, that he now presents as the bearded lady.

      They have been cheated by nature and therefore they aim to get their revenge on you. It's the price you pay for living within arm's reach of them.

      Christianity claims to have a full solution to this problem ultimately: and an ameliorative help in the here and now based on reciprocal charity, humility, and gratitude. And it does not - the story goes - require a kingdom or prince of this world to effect.

      Prometheus though, is not interested in that. He's a god and thus worthy of worship too, after all.

    3. Hmm. Read, "heriditable", as "heritable" just as before, or "hereditable", either one.

  6. WCB

    Racism has long been a problem in the U.S. Racism was a root of the Confederacy.

    From the Texas Declaration of Causes of February 2, 1861.

    "We hold as undeniable truths that the governments of the various States, and of the confederacy itself, were established exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity; that the African race had no agency in their establishment; that they were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race, and in that condition only could their existence in this country be rendered beneficial or tolerable.

    That in this free government all white men are and of right ought to be entitled to equal civil and political rights; that the servitude of the African race, as existing in these States, is mutually beneficial to both bond and free, and is abundantly authorized and justified by the experience of mankind, and the revealed will of the Almighty Creator, as recognized by all Christian nations; while the destruction of the existing relation still is between the two races, as advocated by our sectional enemies, would bring inevitable calamities upon both and desolation upon the fifteen slave-holding States."

    After the defeat of the C.S.A. we had reconstruction, Jim Crow, segregation, the battle for civil rights and lots of issues still not resolved. This has nothing to do with Marxism, or Marxism's theory of class warfare. Class warfare was part and parcel of the Confederacy, as was Jim Crow and segregation. We have had GOP policies of extreme gerrymandering to dilute the vote of POC. Policies just slapped down in courts in Florida, Mississippi, Florida, and South Texas. Class warfare has long beeb part of GOP politics. To label battles against racist policies as Marxist, or Marxist class warefare is simply ad hominem sophistry.

    CRT iscabout understanding the history ofvracism in America, and its effects on legal and political systems.


    1. I agree with you there, WCB.

    2. WCB,
      "This has nothing to do with Marxism, or Marxism's theory of class warfare"
      Really? Yet you go on to say in the next sentence
      " Class warfare was part and parcel of the Confederacy,"
      Would it be so surprising that 20th century academics would apply a philosophy that analyses class warfare to a clear example of class warfare?

      "Marx famously wrote, “The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.” Critical theory differs from pure philosophy in its motivation to provoke change, and thus it necessarily traffics in the emotions. Challenging power relations, as critical theorists love to do, means provoking anger, disquiet, anxiety, and even fear in those with a settled understanding of who they are and where they belong. "

      In academia broadly Marx is not the evil specter to be reflexively denied and shunned, as he is in US political mainstream culture. For a great many academics Marx was a prolific philosopher, writing in the US civil war era, and the most influential philosopher of all time. Love him or hate him there is no other philosopher who has had such profound and widespread influence in modern political affairs.

      How often does Aristotle come up in US political discourse?

      If you say my ideas are Marxist my response will be that shows that perhaps Marx was not such a bad guy after all.

      Academics, particularly those with tenure, may well be unafraid to apply Marxist philosophy to critical studies. If their analytical studies get picked up by some reactionary conservative cranks who proceed to shriek about Marx, who cares?

    3. "How often does Aristotle come up in US political discourse"

      The influence of Aristotle on the development of thought, though widely recognised, is still underrated. We are all in his orbit. (Aristotle's works are full of platitudes in much the same way as Shakespeare's Hamlet is full of quotations.) Everything is in Aristotle somewhere — at least in potency, but often in actuality. And the reason we underrate his contribution is, of course, precisely that it has become platitudinous: we forget about it for the same reason that we forget about the air we breathe. Anything that has become background, or context, or tradition, is no longer salient, sometimes no longer represented symbolically at all. The Meno theory really is true of what we have learned from Aristotle: we have forgotten that we learned it, but it is still there, waiting to surprise us when we are induced to remember it. But there is another reason why we do not notice our Aristotelianism. Aristotle is a philosopher with more respect than most for "what seems so to all, or to most, or to the wise." His philosophy has none of the paradoxes repugnant to common sense that render the thought of other "great philosophers" so memorable.

    4. @WCB

      Overlooking the atrocious message of that passage, it is amazing the difference in quality of English between the Southern gentleman who wrote that and that of Marxist scholars.

      The English of that passage you quoted is crystal clear, surgically precise, and easy to understand.

      Meanwhile every Marxist scholar writes in chatspeak.

    5. First of all, WCB, you seemingly contradict yourself a bunch or should give some clarification here: Historical fights against racist Jim Crow and segregation have nothing to do with Marx and his theory of class warfare, says you. But Jim Crow, segregation, etc., was still class warfare, you assert. So whose theory of class warfare applies in those cases you mention if you're insisting it's not influenced by Marxism?

      The intellectual pedigree and missing link are actually this: CRT takes as axiomatic Marx's view of theory in that the point of theorizing is held as not merely understanding the world in various ways but to change the world. I'm simplifying a bit, but this is the defining characteristic of what makes a theory "critical" as opposed to "traditional" as understood by the neo-Marxist Frankfurt School, the original critical theorists, who inaugurated critical theorizing into an academic and intellectual discipline and envisioned it as a form of ideological critique directed at the areas of society that the Frankfurt School believed Marx and his more "we're-discovering-objective-scientific-laws-of-history-that-will-inevitably-lead-to-capitalism's-demise-and-communism's-triumph" acolytes had neglected in traditional Marxist thought. The motivation was to spur revolutionary change and aid in overcoming the totalitarian horrors of the 20th century and their phantasms they perceived that lurked underneath American/Western society. And in this post-WW2 milieu of "critically" analyzing what Marxists call society's "superstructure" -- beliefs, morals, art, law, religion, mass psychology, i.e., culture -- other critical theories, some of which that did not reference Marxist dialetical/historical materialism as a touchstone but were still interested in culture as stalking ground for left-wing critique, emerged. Among this intellectual progeny of the Frankfurt School is Critical Race Theory. That's why CRT and lots of left-wing "social justice" and "woke" movements can reasonably be identified as "Marxist."

      Now, I know you think this all just a crazy right-wing conspiracy theory propagated by that conniving Chris Rufo and Fox News, that left-wing politics is nothing but the same static movement of smart, well-educated, caring "liberal" people with good intentions as ever and is never influenced by anything out of the academy (and certainly nothing malign!), but you're just wrong, obviously misinformed, and the one actually engaging in sophistry here.

    6. "Anything that has become background, or context, or tradition, is no longer salient, sometimes no longer represented symbolically at all."
      False. We, at least the vast majority of us, are no longer surprised about atoms or germs or molecules or inertial motion, yet these things and processes are symbolically represented in great detail.

      It is the mistakes of past thinkers that fade into oblivion as they become recognized as mistakes. That is why Aristotle has become irrelevant to most people, because he was wrong about nearly everything regarding change, motion, and the nature or structure of the underlying reality. So people forget about those many Aristotelian mistakes, and we have no such formulations or symbiology in general usage today, not because they have become background truths, but because they are in the dustbin of ancient errors.

      CRT will be with us for some time to come because it correctly identifies racism as a facet of American society deeply embedded in our history with persistent effects and reality in the present and the foreseeable future.

      Imagine that ten percent of the US were Jewish, and on the side of a mountain owned and paid for by Nazis in the US were carved the enormous figures of Hermann Göring, Karl Dönitz, and Adolf Hitler. Streets, parks, schools, even military bases were named for their subordinates, all true believers in the anti-Jewish racism of that bygone era.

      How do you suppose that would appear to you as a Jew?

      How would you feel as a Jew living in a nation that to this day venerates those who fought and killed to establish a nation of Jewish slave labor based on the assertion that Jews are subhuman?


    7. It is a amazing to watch the contortions engaged in by white apologists as they try to salvage the reputations of their pathetic heroes, and salve their own emotional wounds ... suffered as their intellectual investments turn to rubbish before their eyes.

      Here below is a now infamous example of a racist exposed; an event which has resulted in emotionally fragile white political operatives scrambling to paper it over with talk of eras, cultural context, and evolving views.

      "The blacks, those magnificent examples of the African race who have maintained their racial purity thanks to their lack of an affinity with bathing ... The black is indolent and a dreamer; spending his meager wage on frivolity or drink; the European has a tradition of work and saving, which has pursued him as far as this corner of America and drives him to advance himself, even independently of his own individual aspirations."

      I wonder if this guy was related to Cardinal Walter Kasper?

    8. Anonymous @ November 15, 2023 at 6:59 AM,

      The idea that Aristotle, or his metaphysics, isn't relevant is absurd. His influence is so great across the humanities, that in just my background alone -- journalism, philosophy, technical writing -- his ideas are very much alive and kicking. Setting aside the fact he is arguably the greatest philosopher in the Western canon, there are plenty of theorists in both technical writing and journalism who are very interested in what Aristotelianism provides, especially in terms of ethics.

      "CRT will be with us for some time to come because it correctly identifies racism as a facet of American society deeply embedded in our history with persistent effects and reality in the present and the foreseeable future."

      Which facet of our society? What effects? Where is the empirical evidence for these conclusions? That is of course this is really not an empirically falsifiable claim you're making but a metaphysical one derived, charitably speaking, a priori -- with the "evidence" sloppily gathered later.

      Lastly, the analogy between Nazi Germany and the CSA is, frankly, very strained. They're not really comparable, nor is the iconoclastic, patricidal impulse to remove public statues of Confederate commanders, as well as other great people, often illegally, the same as removing hypothetical public monuments to the Nazis. For the sake of brevity, I'm not going to explain why, but I do feel compelled to point out:

      You asked how publicly venerating high-ranking Nazis would appear to a Jew. I'd imagine it would be as offensive and demeaning to them as the the rampant anti-semitic excuse-making, moral equivalency-drawing, celebration, calls for genocide ("From the River to the Sea...," "Khaybar, Khaybar, oh Jews, the Army of Mohammed will Return," "Gas the Jews"), intimidation and violence occurring around the world in response to the most vile massacre of Jews since the Holocaust, which they're experiencing now. And it seems the Western apologists for that atrocious barbarism are the same CRT-promoting, BLM-supporting people who want tear down, in the name of CRT-inspired anti-racism, statues of Robert E. Lee. If that doesn't show you the utter intellectual and moral bankruptcy of CRT as a worldview and the depravity of its true believers, discrediting it for you, then nothing will.

    9. @Modus Pownens

      Venerating confederate officials may not be comparable to venerating SS, but it is comparable to venerating the officials in the Yasukuni Shrine.

    10. Modus,
      "The idea that Aristotle, or his metaphysics, isn't relevant is absurd."
      I cannot recall the last time I have heard Aristotle mentioned outside of this blog or a philosophy survey class.

      In science units are often named for people, volt, amp, kelvin, farad, newton, etc. Elements were sometimes named for people. Various equations used in math, science, and engineering are named for people.

      Yet no "the Aristotle".

      That is because Aristotle got everything wrong about motion, change, causation, and chemistry.

      "Setting aside the fact he is arguably the greatest philosopher in the Western canon,"
      He got everything wrong about motion, change, causation, and chemistry.

      His predecessors, the atomists, did far better. Aristotle went backwards in reasoning about the nature of the underlying reality.

      "Which facet of our society? What effects? Where is the empirical evidence for these conclusions?"
      You must be white.

      " "evidence" sloppily gathered later."
      Wow. You really do live in a bubble.

      "Lastly, the analogy between Nazi Germany and the CSA is, frankly, very strained. They're not really comparable,"
      Set up slave labor camps under horrible conditions where kidnapped prisoners were worked to death.

      Kidnapped, raped, and murdered people by the millions. Ripped them away from their homes and their lives to murder, rape, and work them to death.

      There is the American Confederate owner class.

      "nor is the iconoclastic, patricidal impulse to remove public statues of Confederate commanders, as well as other great people, often illegally, the same as removing hypothetical public monuments to the Nazis."
      It is if you are a black American, which you very obviously are not.

      "From the River to the Sea...,""
      That is the founding principle of Likud. You don't read much, do you?

      Yes, you can say Likud, Nazi, Confederate, Mohammed, Moses, and Hamas all in the same sentence and be talking about much the same sort of people. Variations around the edges, different levels of sophistication and power, but highly comparable nonetheless.

      "Robert E. Lee.", Hermann Göring, Karl Dönitz, yes, those sorts of guys. Generals and leaders on the side of mass murder, rape, and enslavement.

    11. "nothing will"
      Nothing you have said will. You are so obviously in a bubble. You don't have a clue about racism in America, CRT, the CSA, its generals, leaders, the KKK, domestic terrorism against black Americans, Jim Crow, pervasive discrimination, and the deep long lasting effects it has had on millions of Americans, black Americans, which you very obviously are not one of.

      The difference between a black conservative and a black liberal is that the black conservative knows full well the severe and long lasting detrimental effects inflicted by American slavery, the KKK, Jim Crow, and pervasive discrimination. That is how I know you are not a black person, because even the most conservative black Americans understand the deep and long lasting destructive effects that our American Nazi-ish past has inflicted on black Americans.

      A black conservative, while recognizing that past, is of the opinion that we have fixed the impediments to the individual well enough that the government should do no more and it is up to the individual to work hard, get an education, and make a better life. A black conservative thinks the tools are sufficiently there and the impediments have been sufficiently removed and it is a matter of individual responsibility from this time forward.

      The liberal, black or white, understands the same things about history as the black conservative, but thinks the impediments have not yet been fully removed, and thus more needs to be done by government and society to remove remaining impediments and make up for the deficit of starting place black Americans find themselves in to this day.

      CRT takes a class analysis approach. The identification of history and its effects is so obvious the black conservatives, liberals, and CRT all pretty much agree. The difference is in the analytical approach and the opinion as to what further remedial actions are called for, if any.

      When somebody comes along with "Which facet of our society? What effects? Where is the empirical evidence for these conclusions?" right away it is obvious you are a white guy in a clueless bubble.

    12. I'm not familiar with that shrine. Scanning the Wiki article you linked to, I see it honors war criminals. And, yes, I think it would be morally dubious to honor war criminals. Were a number of the CSA's generals and officers war criminals, even by their day's standards? I really don't know, and I'm honestly asking. Again, is it really comparing apples with apples here?

      I now feel like I need to clarify and explain my views here in regard to what I mean the CSA and Nazi Germany aren't comparable and doesn't serve as a good argument for the removal of statues honor Confederates:

      1) First off, I have no love of slavery or the Confederacy. I don't want to see either return. They both deserve their places on the ash heap of history.

      2) The post I was responding to conflated the CSA and Nazi Germany, as if erecting statues to figures of a regime bent on, and to significant some degree accomplished, genocidal imperialism is the same as erecting statues to rebels whose political and military leadership, though not all of it nor the average soldier, fought a losing war in order to protect explicitly an institution that, while intrinsically evil and oppressive, wasn't intentionally purposed to kill its victims, even though it permitted and excused their murders, rapes, etc. That isn't to argue that Confederate traitors should be honored, only that it's bit more of an open question. It could very well be the case that in this day and age that it's bad taste and moral judgment to honor traitors who fought on behalf of a society who wanted to protect their legal right to practice slavery on the ancestors of a significant minority of today's American citizens and the statues should be mothballed. But Robert E. Lee and other famous Confederates weren't morally on par with the likes of Heinrich Himmler. In Lee's case, he believed slavery was evil, in the abstract, but wanted to protect his beloved Virginia from the Union Army. Not exactly a goose-stepping member of the SS and thus not comparable. Also remember that many Confederate officers had fought on behalf of the United States in the Mexican-American War and distinguished themselves. That should not be completely overlooked when judging their legacies and how they should be remembered. Again, not comparable with the soldiers of a hostile foreign regime.

      3) It's important to note that the iconoclasm doesn't just end with Confederates. The OP I was responding to brought up a hypothetical mountain devoted to the veneration to high-profile Nazis. In fact, we have a mountain devoted to honoring four presidents, two of whom were slaveholders, one had what we would consider extremely racist views of blacks, and the other was an imperialist, all of which would make them targets for cancellation for CRT enthusiasts -- in fact, Jefferson is already well within the crosshairs. Should Mount Rushmore be defaced and decommissioned too? Where does it stop? What's the limiting principle here? I contend the motive here is less about exercising good taste and moral judgment but the irrational whims of nihilistic hatred that is animated to wage Kulturkampf without end against anything Western or American.

    13. @ Holy Knowing

      4) Another thing to note is that some of these statues have been up for decades, if not more than a hundred years. There is no movement with any real political cache proposing to venerate foreign Nazis here and now. Warts and all, the Confederates were Americans, and many of their local states and communities for generations believed they were still admirable. Maybe some of that was inspired by racist attitudes. But was all of that support? Again, I'm asking because I don't know, but I think it's at least plausible there's more going on here than the ugly sentiment that " the South Will Rise Again." On the contrary, there is no pedigree or tradition of Nazi-veneration in this country. There is a fundamental difference between taking down monuments because our conventions, tastes, and morals have changed since the time of these works' original commissioning, as in the potentially in the case of the CSA statues, and refraining from erecting in the first place statues to some of the contemptible men of one of the most vile governments of the 20th century that was our country's sworn enemy in WW2.
      5) There's also the questionable assumption that doing things like renaming, for example, Fort Bragg to Fort Liberty, will have a positive effect on race relations and how blacks are treated in this country. It seems CRT-peddling activists and their allies believe there is a direct line of cause and effect from honoring people like Braxton Bragg, who fought in the CSA's army, by naming a military installation after him to the alleged illicit shooting of unarmed black men in the present day. Is there any evidence for that, or is it just assumed to be the case? That the reason why I described in my previous post that such a belief as not an empirical one open to falsification but a "metaphysical" one in which "evidence" is scrambled hastily to give a patina of empirical science and scholarship behind it when the belief is held to be true regardless if there is any empirical support for it.

    14. Stardusty,

      It's been well-established that, unfortunately, fruitful dialogue is simply just not possible with you on this blog. All I can offer in response to your comment to me, as a Christian man, is letting you know I'm praying for you and hoping you find your way to Christ and the Christian church's loving embrace. And if not that, may you be granted peace, wisdom and an abundance of blessings in your life.

    15. @Modus Pownens

      Iconoclasm is beyond evil. I'd rather have the confederates up and honored than the Togetherness vote by consensus reality to forget it.

    16. Modus,
      "fruitful dialogue is simply just not possible with you on this blog."
      If by "fruitful" you mean that it is not possible to convince me that erroneous positions are correct, then yes, you will always find it difficult and likely impossible to convince me of incorrect positions.

      "Should Mount Rushmore be defaced and decommissioned too? Where does it stop? What's the limiting principle here?"
      For myself I would measure whether the individual acted to move our country in a positive direction generally.

      Washington, for example, fought a war to create a nation where white, land owning, males could rule themselves and everybody else. That was actually a huge improvement! It didn't get rid of slavery, didn't include votes for women, and still made property owners the only voters, but those were pretty much global norms at the time, so the creation of a constitutional democratic republic among white, land owning, males was a great step forward.

      CRT identifies correctly that racism was a pervasive aspect of American culture, deeply ingrained in our economic and social fabric, and still is. But the class level analysis of CRT is crude, outdated, and leads to ineffective or impractical proposals.

    17. @Holy Knowing,

      I agree that iconoclasm is evil. For me, it's tantamount to book-burning. As a conservative erring on the side of caution, I think it's best probably for the Confederate statues to remain, but I'm open to arguments otherwise. If proper discussion occurs and proper local and established authorities decide to take down statues, I'm ok with that. I don't live in the South, so it's not exactly my place to say what local communities should do in this regard. But I'm vehemently opposed to the craven virtue signaling and vandalism from activists that have circumvented debate and taken the matter out of the hands of the people who should decide.

  7. Dear Edward:
    Have you written anything about the legality of voting for a "less unworthy" candidate than another in elections, or do you know of any literature on the matter?
    Thank you so much.
    A cordial greeting.
    In Domino,
    Federico Ma. (from Argentina)

  8. WCB

    Marx didn't invent class warfare. He simply noticed the obvious. And gave it a label. There were few nations as class conscious as the England of Marx's day. In the U.S., by the late 1800's the wealthy old money was very much class conscious. In the U.S. relations between rich company owners and workers often degenerated into open warfare. Now where did Marx get the idea of class warfare I wonder?


    1. Marx’s original contribution was the idea that classes are always and inherently at war with one another, which is, to put it politely, utter codswallop.

      His logic, if you can call it that, is on a par with a man who should say: ‘There are animals that live by preying upon other animals; therefore my pet goldfish is lying in wait to devour me.’

    2. WCB

      "Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild-master and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, a fight that each time ended, either in a revolutionary reconstitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of contending classes."
      - Karl Marx

      Marx was far more influence by realities of history. Your ridiculos strawman demonstrates you have little understanding of Marx as to "class warefare".

      We see this now with the GOP's insustence on making Trump's huge tax cuts for the wealthy and big corporations permanent, tax cuts that have created huge deficits. And using existence of those deficits to slash Social Security, Medicare,Medicaid, ACA and the saftey net for milions of working class Americans. Creating those dreaded "Death Panels" Sarah Palin wanted us to worry about.


    3. Tom,
      "therefore my pet goldfish is lying in wait to devour me.’"
      How do you know it wouldn't, if it could? If you have a pet cat you may have considered that if you were the size of a mouse you would be lunch.

      "the idea that classes are always and inherently at war with one another, which is, to put it politely, utter codswallop."
      Really? Is that the history of civilization, differing classes living in peace and harmony?

      The ruling class versus the subject class.
      The capitalist class versus the worker class.
      The racial or religious majority class versus the minority class.

      Subjugation versus rebellion. Class warfare has been played out again and again throughout history in myriad conflicts. If you consider that very obvious fact to somehow be "codswallop" then you have a very limited knowledge of social history.

      Both Marx and CRT were/are right about a lot of things, but both doctrines make some similar crucial errors.

      CRT shares with Marxism a class based analysis, largely devoid of the individual as unit of fundamental action or change.

      That is an analytical mistake. Just as biology reduces to chemistry which in turn reduces to physics, Classes reduce to individuals who in turn reduce to complex multifaceted behaviors.

      Modern medicine is so successful because it is so reductionist. The body reduces to the organs which reduce to cells which reduce to molecules. Modern medical doctors and researches spend years learning organic chemistry, cellular biology, and body subsystem mechanisms as a foundation to learn how to realistically and effectively treat the whole organism.

      Marx and CRT make the same mistake of failing to be sufficiently reductionist. Thus, the class analysis they employ can make some reasonable generalizations, such as the obvious fact that as a class black Americans are worse off by nearly every metric because of white racism against black people.

      White racism against black people is the reason black Americans are worse off.

      If you don't understand that basic and obvious fact you do not have a clue what you are talking about.

      CRT gets that basic fact of root cause correct.

      Where CRT goes wrong is in rather blindly concentrating on white people as a class and black people as a class.

      The civil rights movements of the mid 20th century took a more bottom up approach, and a generational approach. CRT largely rejects that for a class ideological approach.

      Just as the Aristotelian notion of a "form" of an object is just a figment of the imagination without any existential realization in the cosmos, so too is the notion of a "class".

      A "class" is an abstraction, an aggregate, an accumulation bucket. Just as the shape and properties of a macro object reduce to the molecular arrangements of the object, so too what is called a "class" reduces to individuals.

      That is why I am sticking with civil rights. The marchers and peaceful protesters and integrationists got it right. Remove the barriers to individuals, encourage individuals, and people will educate themselves and work to better themselves. Integration gets people used to living and working together, over generations, not the old people of segregation, but the young who are integrated and then grow old.

      It works. Reductionism is the only thing that actually works. The large is the aggregate of the many small.
      The root cause is white racism against black people.
      The solutions are civil rights, integration, and time.
      The present condition is due to social inertia from the condition of white racism against black people.

    4. It is excessive and uncontrolled government spending that created the deficits, and they were a constant feature of your national life long before Donald Trump was heard of. The deficit exceeded $1 trillion in each of the four fiscal years of Mr. Obama’s term (including those years when the Democratic Party controlled both houses of Congress): a level it would not reach again until the botched COVID response of 2020. You can blame Mr. Trump for that if you wish. Under your current President, deficits have ranged between $1.4 trillion and $2.8 trillion. There is no taxing your way out of such a hole.

      It is obvious by your remarks that you are utterly uninterested in anything beyond U.S. partisan politics, and either ignorant or willing to lie about that. Your quotation from Marx, in fact, shows precisely what I said: that he believed class warfare to have been universal and uninterrupted throughout all of human history. This is absolute nonsense, and no student of history, unless previously converted to Marxist doctrine, can arrive at any such interpretation. There is far more to human society than the simple binary interaction between ‘oppressors’ and ‘oppressed’ to which Marx would reduce all human relations. It takes some nerve to quote him on the subject and then accuse others of a ‘ridiculous strawman’.

      Yes, I freely admit it is ridiculous to think that one’s goldfish is out to devour one. It is ridiculous in exactly the same way and for exactly analogous reasons to Marx’s theory of universal class warfare.

      If you cannot find it in yourself to be ashamed of your dishonesty, you should at least be ashamed of your wilful ignorance.

    5. WCB

      No. It is as much uncontrolled tax cuts that are the problem. We started with Reagan. Who promised us his massive tax cuts would pay for themselves by the magic of Supply Side Economic theory. That did not work.
      George W. Bush famously gave us more massive tax cuts. And a war in Iraq and near collapse of our economy that Obama had to bail us out of. And then came Donald Trump. Who gave us $7.8 trillion in tax cuts.

      $7.8 trillion in deficits from foolish massive tax cuts to the very rich and big corporations.

      The Trump massive tax cuts are due to end in 2025. Members of the GOP Senate and House want to make them permanent. Meanwhile howiling about our deficits.

      Thanks to Arthur Laffer, big tax cuts were enacted in Kansas and Louisiana. Both were abject disasters.


    6. Hmm, SP and WCB are the same person, right?

  9. Dr Feser is working to finish his book, planning exams for his students, and making Thanksgiving Day plans. He's a busy man.

    1. Arn't we all. Along with countless others, I would love to have such a taxing schedule. You just have to feel sorry for him.

    2. Dr. Feser earned his position in academia by hard work. The person I feel sorry for is you.

  10. The principle that equal rights and impartial adherence to standards are incompatible with the collectivist termite-man's vision of "equity" is well known.

    The collectivist seeks to escape the consequences of his own organic deficiencies by constructing an associative system - or racket - wherein he has the social power to offload them on to you whether you agree or not.

    Marx himself recognized the inherent problem that the collectivist kind faced in trying to implement their aims. Grudgingly, the distribution of social product would initially have to be tied to actual contribution in early stage political socialism; whereas in the "higher" form of human-social--insect meat machine life known as communism, that temporary expedient could be abandoned and a true "from each ... to each ..." system put in place.**

    There is something extraordinarily perverse, right down to the sexual level, implied in collectivist systems. And of course, social justice and inclusion pimps and activists and radicals here and abroad ( Ayers, the Weather Underground, the Red Brigades and Bader) have long realized this fact and tried to work it out and even to live it. Hence their flirting with pansexuality and so-called " inter-generational sex, or as we term it, child sexual abuse.

    They realized that their own sexual mores must become, if they were not strongly predisposed to be already, anti-exclusive if their swarm-life goals were to be realized. Hence the abolition of the nuclear family, of marriage, of all private property, and ultimately and in many regards, bodily autonomy itself; their once celebrated Bonobo slut sloganeering as autonomy, notwithstanding.

    Perhaps there is a chicken versus egg problem here, some will say. They will suggest that it is the perverts, the axxl receptives, the twisted and malformed who are driven to seek and promote regimes of enforced cost redistributing solidarity, and affiliation without affinity. And that might be correct. In fact by just looking at leftists on average, there seems to be some evidence for it.

    The liberation which the organisms of the left seek is not so much from sin, or from exploitative control, but from the burden of being a consequence experiencing self, in the first place.

    Marx was correct to speak of "alienation"- but not in the way it, a moral alien seeking inclusion and the ability to draft off of others against their will, imagined.

    ** Critique of the Gotha Programme, which relevant passages I will post - Ed allowing.

    1. They realized that their own sexual mores must become, if they were not strongly predisposed to be already, ...anti-exclusive if their swarm-life goals were to be realized.

      And just to be completely clear here, the principle at issue here with pan-sexual anti-exclusion requires:

      (a) if someone wants to have sex with you, you have to accept it regardless of your preferences;

      and its corollary: to avoid exclusion,

      (b) you must offer and request to have sex with everyone equally regardless of your own preferences, or revulsion toward some.

      And, because this admits of NO exclusion, it applies without limit upwards in age, and (as DNW notes) also downwards in age.

      And if that doesn't turn your stomach, you are hopeless.


  11. The Devil's Disciple himself.

    " ... equal right here is still in principle – bourgeois right, although principle and practice are no longer at loggerheads, while the exchange of equivalents in commodity exchange exists only on the average and not in the individual case.

    In spite of this advance, this equal right is still constantly stigmatized by a bourgeois limitation. The right of the producers is proportional to the labor they supply; the equality consists in the fact that measurement is made with an equal standard, labor.

    But one man is superior to another physically, or mentally, and supplies more labor in the same time, or can labor for a longer time; and labor, to serve as a measure, must be defined by its duration or intensity, otherwise it ceases to be a standard of measurement. This equal right is an unequal right for unequal labor. It recognizes no class differences, because everyone is only a worker like everyone else; but it tacitly recognizes unequal individual endowment, and thus productive capacity, as a natural privilege. It is, therefore, a right of inequality, in its content, like every right. Right, by its very nature, can consist only in the application of an equal standard; but unequal individuals (and they would not be different individuals if they were not unequal) are measurable only by an equal standard insofar as they are brought under an equal point of view,

    1. DNW,
      "There is something extraordinarily perverse, right down to the sexual level, implied in collectivist systems."
      This is the typical clueless citizen, one who has no apparent concept of the mix and the balance between socialism and capitalism that every nation is organized and operates under.

      For example, the USA, where socialism is baked into the constitution, since before Marx was even born.

      From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.

      Equality among the unequal.

      Such principles, once voiced, seem to put the right wing kooks and dolts into a tizzy of shrieking disgust.

      They are so clueless they apparently have not stopped to consider that "the Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare" and "nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

      That means that all citizens enjoy equal protection from our national defense, law enforcement, fire, and courts.

      You don't get asked how much you paid in, you just call 911. That is because people who are not ignorant kooks recognize that Marx was correct in that respect, you receive according to your needs and you pay according to your ability.

      It doesn't matter how much you paid in, you have an equal right to walk down the publicly funded sidewalk, or ride your bike on the publicly funded roads, or use the publicly funded parks, or send your children to the publicly funded schools.

      That is because the vast majority of Americans are Marxist regarding such public systems, even though we have millions of ignorant kooks who shriek and the very suggestion.

      So, calling CRT Marxist might be some kind of red flag, or dog whistle, or whatever metaphor you prefer, for the ignorant kooks who flunk civics 101, but it is not an insult to anybody who has the slightest understanding of what it takes to organize a real nation the size of the USA and make it an admirably livable place broadly to the greatest practical extent.

      CRT has Marxist roots and Marxist elements, so does the US constitution and every jurisdiction in the USA. Without the Marxist elements in our legal and social systems our society would be a dystopian jungle hellscape.

      CRT, like Marx, also gets some things wrong. There is no such existent thing as we call "class" or "society". Those are just approximations, abstractions, terms to describe the aggregate macro properties of collections of millions of individuals.

      Individuals are motivated by a complex mix of self interest and altruistic interest. That is our evolved nature. I am sure even an ignorant kook like DNW has some altruistic tendencies, even while he is spewing his cloddish denunciations of principles baked into our legal system and mainstream social structure. I doubt very much that he wants to allocate space on the sidewalk according to how much municipal tax was paid by the individual, or deny an individual police and fire services when needed based on non-payment into the system. I would bet DNW even thinks children from poor families should have equal right to public education, despite the fact that he and the ignorant majority of Americans would recoil at the suggestion of the obvious fact that public education is Marxist in principle, because it gives according to need and is funded according to ability.

  12. WCB

    More class warfare for everybody.


    "In May 1970, Reagan had shut down all 28 UC and Cal State campuses in the midst of student protests against the Vietnam War and the U.S. bombing of Cambodia. On October 29, less than a week before the election, his education adviser Roger A. Freeman spoke at a press conference to defend him.

    Freeman’s remarks were reported the next day in the San Francisco Chronicle under the headline “Professor Sees Peril in Education.” According to the Chronicle article, Freeman said, “We are in danger of producing an educated proletariat. … That’s dynamite! We have to be selective on who we allow [to go to college].”

    “If not,” Freeman continued, “we will have a large number of highly trained and unemployed people.” Freeman also said — taking a highly idiosyncratic perspective on the cause of fascism —“that’s what happened in Germany. I saw it happen"."

    College only for the ruling class, not those lowly proles.


    1. Heh: the current need is to restrict college to only those with the intellectual and emotional moxie to stand up to 4 years of the mind-bending propaganda of the proto-marxist academicians and come out still able to think for themselves.

    2. Anon,
      You do realize that college is mostly operated on the principle of "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs", right?

      For example, consider the Pasadena City College, where students pay a very small fraction of the cost. Class fees are relatively token amounts, compared to the individual costs of basic needs like housing and transportation, and compared to the vastly greater expenses needed to run such an institution.

      Public education is Marxist in its funding. Our nation, like every nation, provides basic services according to need, and takes the money from others according to ability.

      If you want to purge Marxism from the USA then close down public schools including most colleges, close down the roads, public parks. Close down all police and law enforcement, hospitals, fire departments, our armed forces, and on and on.

      Yet, for the typical clueless American, "Marxism" is somehow a dirty word. The average American is so clueless as to not realize that "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs" is an essential aspect of what makes our society livable.

      Without Marxist principles, which were baked into our constitution before there even was such a term, life in the USA would be a dystopian hellscape.

      Calling CRT Marxist is intended to be some sort of alarming revelation thought to properly induce horror and revulsion. CRTists just shrug, yeah, of course, so are you and everybody else, you just lack the self awareness to realize that glaringly obvious fact.

    3. Yet, for the typical clueless American, "Marxism" is somehow a dirty word. The average American is so clueless as to not realize that "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs" is an essential aspect of what makes our society livable.

      If Marxism were simply "from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs" then it would be just a principle of civilization. One anthropologist said that the best indicator that an extinct society was civilized was the presence of a skeleton that demonstrated a healed femur bone. Why? Because healing a femur bone requires a man be out of commission for a very long time and be taken care of by an intricate social network, which presupposes a high-functioning civilization.

      But Marxism is a logically incoherent idea. Why? Because it's end vision of communism is a metaphysical idea. Communism--a place where there's no time because history has ended and everyone does what they're supposed to do and there's no more money--is the New Jerusalem in the New Testament. So Karl Marx was describing a metaphysical state of existence. But the first axiom of communism is that there is no metaphysical world and that everything is physical. So Marx's idea was to establish a metaphysical world by starting from the premise that there is no metaphysical world. Which is a complete and total contradiction.

    4. HK,
      "If Marxism were simply "from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs" then it would be just a principle of civilization."
      Right, which makes the tag of "Marxist", which gets slapped onto whatever some right winger doesn't like, so pointless.

      CRT is often labeled "Marxist".

      Not because CRT advocates for every principle Karl Marx advocated, rather, because there is some element here or there in CRT that bears some resemblance to some element in some writing someplace by Marx.

      The label "Marxist" is just another right wing scare tactic. CRTists are out to turn your kids into commies, dothchyaknow?

    5. @StardustyPsyche

      While some right-wingers might be purely reactive ("CRTists are out to turn your kids into commies"), most right-wing opposition to the Left in the U.S.A. is rooted in an individualist view where each and every human being is viewed as the center of the Universe.

      This is strange for Catholics in the United States, because opposition to Marxism and communism was never on the basis of its opposition to individualism (traditional Catholic theology hates individualism as much as Marxism does). Popes always opposed Marxism on the basis of its atheism, rejection of individual business transactions, and rejection of family.

  13. WCB

    Compulsary education predates Marx by centuries. Google "wikipedia. compulsary education". Plato's "Republic" recommended compulsary education. Various German states made public education compulsory in the 1500's. Martin Luther recommended compulsaory education in Protestant Germany so all Protestant Germans could read the Bible.

    This right wing habit of labelling everything they disapprove of as Marxist or Communist is empty ad hominism, foolish rhetoric.