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Privilege is the new original sin Today's zealots demand an orgy of punishment

Credit: Slim Aarons/Getty


November 17, 2021   6 mins

You think communism is a modern invention? Consider this: “At the very first, when he returned to the country from overseas, he had ordered that no one in the society should possess anything of his own, that everything should be held in common and distributed to each according to his needs.” This is not about Bernie Sanders’s return from his 1988 trip to the Soviet Union, nor even Lenin’s return to Russia from exile, several decades earlier. It’s certainly not about Marx or Engels. The eminently communist exhortation to hold everything “in common”, and to distribute wealth “according to his needs” is a quote from the most influential Father of the Church, Saint Augustine, who died in the year 430.

But even in Augustine’s time, the idea was old. He was following in the footsteps of the early Christians, who, we learn in the Acts of the Apostles, “owned all things communally”, and “sold their properties and possessions, and distributed to everyone, according as anyone had need.” David Bentley Hart (whose translation of The New Testament I use here) cannot but conclude that “the early Christians were communists”.

Except, of course, that they were not — not in our shallow sense of the word. For Christianity was so much more than a political revolution; it caused a tectonic shift in the mind. Like any major religion worth its salt, Christianity involved taming the power-hungry, self-assertive, greedy animals that humans, by their nature, are. Yet it went one step further and offered the highest prize to those at nature’s losing end: the meek, the wounded, the vulnerable, the unfortunate. And since so much in the human world revolves around material wealth, the religion’s founders struck at its source: our acquisitive instincts.

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You really want to be perfect? Jesus Christ recommends a life of utter destitution: “Go sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you shall have a treasury in the heavens, and come follow me.” The result was a religion so “radical”, as Hart calls it, that it was impossible to put into practice in the real world. There was only one Christian, Nietzsche quipped, and he died on the cross. To be a true Christian must be unbearable.

But Christianity didn’t have to be put into practice to have an impact on the world — trying was enough. By trying hard to be Christians (even without ever succeeding), people in the West and elsewhere have, in time, brought forth a major anthropological revolution: a new way of seeing the world and humanity, a new ethical vocabulary, an enhanced and expanded individual subjectivity. And there was something remarkably dynamic about this new subjectivity — one never content with itself, never at ease, always on the move, always having to navigate a perilous inner landscape: temptation, sin, guilt, dread of eternal damnation, remorse, repentance, state of grace.

Not that Christians were much better beings than others. They could be just as bloody as the heathens, if not worse. But they were always thinking about what a better humanity would be like. And in the process, they were taught to seriously distrust “this world,” and to stay away from its “traps”. Above all, they were sensitised against material wealth.

So, when the Industrial Revolution (which was all about material wealth and how to multiply it) came to pass, many Christians recognised it for what it was, and found themselves equipped to deal with it. Capitalism was a wonderful thing, they thought, except that it went against what the Gospels had taught, by fundamentally favouring the wealthy and the strong, the self-assertive and the unscrupulous, at the expense of the poor and the weak and the humble. And to oppress the latter was to hurt Christ personally: “inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”

That’s why, from John Ruskin and Leo Tolstoy all the way to Pope Francis, from that brand of British Labourism that was dubbed “more Methodist than Marxist” to the Social Gospel in the US, from Italy’s cattocomunismo to “liberation theology” in Latin America, there has always been a serious concern, among reflecting Christians, about the damage that the incessant pursuit of material wealth can do to the soul. The wealthier we become, the poorer our spiritual health.

All this is not — or should not have been — surprising. What is more surprising, perhaps, was that even overtly atheist rejections of capitalism — of the “religion-is-the-opiate-of-the-people” variety — were similarly informed by a vigorous Judeo-Christian social vision. For here, too, the rejection of capitalism was done on behalf of its victims: the poor and the powerless, “the least of these my brothers.” For all their anti-religious rhetoric, Marx and Engels’s works make for excellent theological reading. The radical solution they proposed — overthrowing the wealthy and the powerful, enthroning the poor and the downtrodden in their place — is not very different, in its spirit, from the one we find in Christianity, where, you may recall, God has “chosen the destitute within the cosmos,” and offered them his Kingdom.

By the 19th century, then, the ethics, social vision, and philosophical vocabulary of Christianity were simply inescapable for anyone in the business of thinking. No matter what theories one hatched, however secular or un-Christian, one had to employ Christian categories, assumptions, and patterns of thought. Even to attack Christianity itself, one had to resort to Christian language, as Tom Holland has explained in these pages. That fact, of course, can be seen as a great victory for Christianity, if one achieved on the cusp of death.

Communism as an actual political system may have been a failure of historic proportions, but that does not mean that the idea has lost its appeal. Not only do today’s enthusiasts seem to ignore everything about the first attempt’s abject failure in the Soviet Union and elsewhere; they are also, for the most part, blissfully ignorant of the distinctly Christian sound of much of what they say. Elite schools seem particularly good at teaching this kind of ignorance. Secular or even noisily atheistic academics recycle a social vision that has been at the core of the Christian message for some two millennia: a commitment to the victims of any forms of injustice and oppression, to the poor, the weak, and the humiliated — “the least of these.” Their ethical language, too, is radically Christian, centered as it is on guilt and an irrepressible need for repentance, remorse, and reparation.

“Privilege” is the new name of the original sin of old: you are born with it, no matter what you do or say or think, you will always remain “privileged,” and will pass your condition on to others. The much derided woke apology seems just another reiteration of the Christian confession: admit that you have sinned in thought, word and deed, say that you are unworthy and show contrition, promise that you will change your ways, and you will be forgiven. If the zealots had it their way, the implementation of this parodic Christianity, centred obsessively as it is on purity, guilt and repentance, accompanied by an incessant hunt for reprobates, and an orgy of punishment and exclusion, would make Calvin’s fundamentalist Geneva look like a pretty lowkey operation.

But perhaps I’m being naïve. What if this is just another trick the elites use to preserve the status quo, maintain their privileges, and get rid of their potential competitors? People in power have always done that, no matter what religion, ideology and political philosophy they have employed in the process. It’s no accident that this woke brand of radicalism flourishes especially in the Ivy League environment, where students have the means and the leisure to play professional revolutionary. Those at community colleges are too busy just trying to stay afloat.

The space within which the elites now operate has, after decades of intense globalisation, become more crowded than ever. Since the more people get in, the more competitive it gets, to move ahead one needs to get inventive. By adopting such a radical rhetoric and instantiating themselves as the exclusive representatives of the underprivileged — or even their most trusted spokespersons — these trust-fund revolutionaries hope to get a competitive advantage on the political market. “I am already representing the downtrodden, all of them, and brilliantly. There is no role for you to play, so step aside. Holier and way more revolutionary than thou.”

However, in so doing, they resort to an ideology steeped in Christian values and language — rather than, say, to social Darwinism, which would be a far more accurate representation of what they are doing, and would come more naturally to them. They may despise Christianity with a passion, but they cannot do without it. And that’s another Christian victory, if a posthumous one.

C

For, as far as Christianity itself is concerned, this is not life but a form of death. For something to exist socially, it needs to be named by its name. Indeed, this is no ordinary death, but a degrading, humiliating, highly embarrassing one. Here Christianity is used and abused and then casually discarded. But, then again, this is only too fitting, because that’s precisely what makes it such a Christian death; Christianity’s founder died the most humiliating death imaginable in the ancient world, so bad it was reserved only for slaves and social pariahs.

To complicate things even further, at the other extreme of the political spectrum, Christianity is in no better shape. True, on the far Right it is acknowledged and proclaimed, ever more loudly and more perfunctorily. Christ’s name is everywhere: used shamelessly by politicians as a rhetorical device, political slogan, and dirty trick. Here Christ is emptied of any meaning, glued to the car’s bumper, and left there to rot. That’s another way Christianity is dying — and quite another story.

Over the last two millennia, Christianity has died countless deaths like this. Which is perhaps only appropriate for a religion predicated on death — one that has chosen a cruel execution method as its symbol. In the end, it must be death that has given it such a tremendous vitality. For “unless the grain of wheat falling to the ground dies, it remains alone; but if it die it bears plenteous fruit.” Christianity’s victory lies always in defeat.


Costică Brădățan is a Professor of Humanities in the Honors College at Texas Tech University and an Honorary Research Professor of Philosophy at the University of Queensland, in Australia. He is the author, most recently, of In Praise of Failure. Four Lessons in Humility.


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James Joyce
JJ
James Joyce
2 years ago

This is a good, thought provoking article, so good in fact that I’m surprised it was written by an academic. I grew up in the Catholic tradition, which heavily emphasized “social justice.” I rejected all that tosh as soon as I could, in my teens, and never looked back. The Jewish “social justice” tradition is eerily similar, and I reject all that too, as they both spill over into public policy in the US.
People like me–and we are many–are absolutely sick of being constantly hectored by the left, often with religious underpinnings, to essentially be like Jesus, or similar tosh from the Jewish tradition. Invading hordes making a mockery of borders? What would Jesus do? The country really should have borders, control legal immigration. How un-Christian!
It’s no accident that wokeness is, essentially, a religion and contains many of the trappings of religion, including original sin. One woke ritual is for guilty whites to publicly wash the feet of victimized blacks to atone for their original sin of privilege. Absolutely disgusting.
Understanding that wokeness is a religion is essential to defeating it, as one must understand that the woke live in faith; they cannot be persuaded, as their faith is so strong, so it makes no sense to use logical arguments to try to convince them. They are evil, as they wish to “convert” unbelievers, by force if necessary (including the use of taxes to pay for unlimited so-called “social justice” programs), and impose their religious views on all non-believers. What could possibly go wrong?

Claire D
CD
Claire D
2 years ago
Reply to  James Joyce

Not sure I’m right but I would have thought there’s a difference between attempting Christ-like behaviour on a personal level, which is the Christian message, and applying it on a national and political level, which does not seem to work.

James Joyce
James Joyce
2 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

Some people sort of do that by spending their vacation in Greece helping “refugees” or helping the invading hordes once they arrive. These people signal their individual virtue, but ask us, the taxpayers, to pay the costs.
In the US, there are many organizations that immediately help the invaders get established. They are far from Christ-like, they are simply a part of the human trafficking chain and it wouldn’t work without them. They encourage others to keep coming.

Last edited 2 years ago by James Joyce
Claire D
Claire D
2 years ago
Reply to  James Joyce

That’s not really what I meant, though I take your point. The two groups you refer to are political actors, imo. I meant ordinary people in their everyday lives, trying to behave as Jesus might.

Last edited 2 years ago by Claire D
James Joyce
JJ
James Joyce
2 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

Not sure what you mean, really. If you see a homeless person on the street, do you invite him home? Do you invite Syrian families into your house? Isn’t that what Jesus would do–though of course, he was sort of itinerant, didn’t have a home….
I don’t, I won’t. And I don’t want you (meaning society, not necessarily you personally) to do it for me. I DON’T WANT TO PAY FOR THIS–and I don’t want my society transformed beyond recognition. Like London. I have a right to recognize my own country, and to live in my own country with common values and traditions. I don’t have that any longer. If you’re from the UK, neither do you.

Claire D
Claire D
2 years ago
Reply to  James Joyce

No, if I see a homeless person on the streets, I definitely would not invite them home with me and I don’t expect anyone else to either, but I would give them the address of the local Salvation Army or similar.
Attempting to be Christian must be tempered with common sense.
I do sympathise with your anger and vehemence, as I say I don’t think Christ-like behaviour on a collective level imposed as policy is fair or wise.

Last edited 2 years ago by Claire D
Dustshoe Richinrut
Dustshoe Richinrut
2 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

Germany has been kind to Turkey, in that a few million Turks have been able, since having been invited at first in the 1960s to live and work in West Germany, to raise their livelihoods and opportunities in life. They may have been called “guest workers”, but I’m not so sure whether they rotated through Germany like young Australians backpacking their way round Europe on short work visas.
Turkey has been a conduit for migrants and asylum seekers to get to the EU, with Germany having been for a while the most popular destination among them. Turkey has been the host of refugee camps for a fair few millions of migrants from its neighbouring countries. I don’t think it has been legal for Syrians and others to find work in Turkey, based on a brief news report or two I watched on the situation in Turkey some years ago. So they may not be described as guest-workers. Guests, maybe. Turkey is the host. But guest sounds much more temporary than guest-worker. There has been no talk of a desire among the refugees to make something of their lives in Turkey: this more than fifty years after West Germany invited its guest workers over. Is returning the favour impossible to make? Well, it just can’t work in a non-Western nation, really. The refugees want to make a clean break of the unstable region that has blighted or always threatened to blight their lives.

So it’s easy to make the West feel guilty by depicting it as heartless in its frequent choice not to jump to the demands of the desperate clamouring at the gates of Christendom (the so-called Christian West). For not sending armadas out to link up with the migrants’ armadas, on the high seas, for instance. It’s easy, moreover, when the oppression that afflicts daily life in much of the non-Western nations has been frustratingly viewed as totally the West’s doing. On top of that, climate change is the rich countries’ fault and a reason in itself to up sticks.

But the fact is that, if you look at a map of the world, most non-Western countries/governments/ruling clans offer no dreams, never mind little security or very few opportunities, to their citizens. (Most westerners would steer well clear of those parts, never even wishing to pay them a brief visit). There is no hearty welcome in those bleak parts of the world (where only a few strands of powerful and obstinate groupings live contentedly) that could come across to outsiders as a statement of confidence in, and optimism for, the future. The idea of embracing the pursuit of happiness as a goal is anathema to much of the developing world. Freedom of expression is anathema to the powers that be. They might well see happiness and freedom of expression as decadent, especially as much of the developing world is extremely religious, traditional and conservative.

America cannot save the world. Neither can the EU. The EU will collapse if open borders becomes the norm, I believe. A drift to authoritarianism might well be on the cards therefore, and a bleaker world would quickly become bleaker. Perhaps Christianity needs to be exported to where it is currently unobtrusive? It’s increasingly unobtrusive in the West, after all. But it’s still here, Christianity. It hasn’t gone away, you know.
Christianity is based on love. N’est-ce pas? And they say the West is the heartless lot!

Last edited 2 years ago by Dustshoe Richinrut
Karl Francis
Karl Francis
2 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

More power to your elbow.

Raymond Inauen
Raymond Inauen
2 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

Why not just be a good person without all the trappings?

Claire D
CD
Claire D
2 years ago
Reply to  James Joyce

+ We live in democracies though, and if the majority want to open the nation’s front door (for whatever reason) then the minority have to lump it, until they can vote other leaders in who are more inclined to their preference. You have a problem when no political party is offering what you would prefer, that tends towards trouble.

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

Excellent point and I think at the core of much anger amongst the electorate.

Karl Francis
Karl Francis
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

Yes.

James Joyce
James Joyce
2 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

Spot on! I’m glad we are in complete agreement on this. You may not think so yet, but read on, Gentle Reader. I will provide an American example and an EU example. The majority DOES NOT want to open the nation’s front door. The elite impose this on us. Take the so-called “Dreamers” in the US. Illegal immigrants brought to the US as children, up to 16. Obama went around the country trying to legalize them. He repeatedly said he didn’t have the power to grant amnesty, that he was not a king but a president. He lobbied hard and the so-called dreamers had a vote. They won in the House, lost in the Senate. They were not legalized. They lost. Then Obama did what he repeatedly said he did not have the power to do: he granted them a form of amnesty!
Now to the EU. Polish LV/LT border. The invading hordes sense an opportunity. Putin/Lukashenko, smugglers put them up to it. I listened on the BBC and one guy said “3 days of suffering and then Germany….” Asylum? Come on, mate? Isn’t it odd that these “refugees” are not claiming “asylum” in Poland, or LT or LV? Isn’t it a bit ungrateful that they say–Hey, Poland, get out of the way, I don’t care a fig about EU law–I’m not registering in Poland, I’m going to my cousin in Hamburg, my uncle in Malmo. I’m going wherever I want–your laws be d@#$ed. Many will go to the UK. Surely you will be happy to have them!
Another example from the US: a Haitian how loses his job in Columbia because of Corona or some other reason. He decides to go to the Southern border and claim “asylum.” Why? Because he lost his job in Columbia after 10 years there? He can do better in the US?
With the greatest respect, none of the above is consistent with what you said about the majority. The laws are simply ignored by the elites. Angela “Wir Schaffen das” Merkel. Ignored the law and invited 2mm invaders in. Sleepy Joe Biden–ignored the law and opened the borders. Obama–ignored the law and granted an amnesty that he repeatedly said was illegal.
This is why people sing Let’s Go Brandon!
So I’m glad we are in total agreement!

Claire D
Claire D
2 years ago
Reply to  James Joyce

Not total, let’s say more or less.

Last edited 2 years ago by Claire D
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
ER
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
2 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

For decades we have had immigration that the majority of the UK did not want but our politicians insisted on giving it to us anyway

Karl Francis
Karl Francis
2 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

Agreed.

stephen archer
stephen archer
2 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

But is the majority actually the minority, and vice-versa? I’ve no idea, but the problem with electoral democracy is that you have to buy the whole package from one group and you can’t cherry pick from different party policies. The swiss reliance on periodic referendums is one way to go but the problem with referendums is the wording and the threshold (50% is not a good value)

Katy Hibbert
Katy Hibbert
2 years ago
Reply to  James Joyce

If you’re talking about so-called “refugees” from “vibrant” and “diverse” (= stabby and splodey) cultures, the Biblical analogy is with the thieves who attacked and robbed the man helped by the Samaritan. As Margaret Thatcher, peace be upon her, wisely said:

No one would remember the Good Samaritan if he’d only had good intentions; he had money, too

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
2 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

Christ in his parables told of people who were already doing that. So Christian charity and modesty clearly precede Christianity.

Claire D
Claire D
2 years ago

Your second sentence does’nt make sense, but I’m guessing you mean “charity and modesty” (without the adjective Christian) “clearly precede Christianity.” You’re probably right, mind you it is estimated the first five books of The Bible were written down between the 8th and 5th century BC, it is highly likely Judaism existed before then by word of mouth. Depends how you look upon the development of Christianity out of Judaism I suppose, but the Old Testament is considered Christian.

Last edited 2 years ago by Claire D
Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

Most nominally Christian countries are secular though. Not the same in Islamic countries.

Warren T
Warren T
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

That’s because Christianity is a calling. We understand that the “gate is narrow” and not all are saved.

Karl Francis
Karl Francis
2 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

Seems reasonable.

Katy Hibbert
Katy Hibbert
2 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

There is a difference, mainly because if it’s on a personal level it’s freely chosen. If on a political or national level, there will inevitably be a large number of people who are having it imposed on them. Jesus never imposed his beliefs on anyone.

Jon Redman
HJ
Jon Redman
2 years ago
Reply to  James Joyce

Environmentalism is likewise a religion, although a notably hateful one. By denying “the least of my brothers” cheap energy, it ensures they stay poor and unhealthy, while white liberals in the west get to feel good about themselves.

James Joyce
JJ
James Joyce
2 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Interesting point. Sierra Club. Used to be in favor of preserving the environment in the US, which means limiting the population, and keeping people in place. For example, Julio, in Mexico, uses 6L or water/day, but Julio, once safely ensconced in the US, now uses 120L/day (numbers are not exact, but you get the idea). How is that good for the US or the planet?
Some years ago, they Sierra Club did a complete 180–now they are in favor of open borders, the environment be damned. If you think about it, this is a political stance, not an environmental one.
Something similar happened with the ACLU. They used to defend free speech, even repugnant speech. Actually, especially repugnant speech–Nazis marching in Skokie, Illinois. Terrible. Disgusting. Wrong. But should they be “allowed” to do it? Of course, that’s what free speech means. It’s not yelling fire in a crowded theater. Now the ACLU is against free speech though pro “hate speech,” meaning they hate (some forms of speech which is not woke) speech.

Drahcir Nevarc
RC
Drahcir Nevarc
2 years ago
Reply to  James Joyce

“One woke ritual is for guilty whites to publicly wash the feet of victimized blacks to atone for their original sin of privilege. Absolutely disgusting.”
Seeing this on YouTube turned my stomach.

Rafi Stern
Rafi Stern
2 years ago
Reply to  James Joyce

All the “tosh” about what Jesus would have done is Christian, not Jewish tosh. Judaism is primarily a particularist religion with universalism as an end-game relegated to “the end of days”. It is about a covenant between a particular nation and their god (God), who is the universal single god of creation and thus of all mankind, but that is not the focus. The focus is on the particular covenant. In contrast Christianity is primarily universal where anyone and everyone makes a personal covenant. Thus Judaism says the particular uninclusive “love your fellow” whereas Christianity says a universal inclusive “love your enemy”.

Jim le Messurier
JS
Jim le Messurier
2 years ago

This is a very interesting article, with much food for thought. I do wonder about this though:-
The much derided woke apology seems just another reiteration of the Christian confession: admit that you have sinned in thought, word and deed, say that you are unworthy and show contrition, promise that you will change your ways, and you will be forgiven.
Perhaps it should have been stated that the notion of ‘sin’ in this context only applies to white people (or, more correctly, other white people) and this constitutes a fundamental departure from Christian principles. The woke effectively sanctifies other races and groups it considers to be have been marginalized (although these categories are in constant flux, such that only the brahmin class of woke cognoscenti will be permitted to fathom these shifts in victim-status) and makes it impossible for those ‘victim’ groups to be sinners.
This is a major difference between wokeism and Christianity – the latter applies the onus of original sin to all, whereas the former only applies it those which they identify as oppressors – and this oppressor status is determined purely by tribal markers, not upon the actions of the individual.

Last edited 2 years ago by Jim le Messurier
Mark Duffett
MD
Mark Duffett
2 years ago

Yes, I wonder very much about the “and you will be forgiven” part when it comes to the woke.

Mark Vernon
Mark Vernon
2 years ago

“Predicated on death”, yes. But as the path to life. Christianity is not an ethical claim but something far less palatable: an ontological one.

Tony Buck
Tony Buck
2 years ago
Reply to  Mark Vernon

Yes – Christianity is a gamble: “He who hates His life in this world, shall keep it for the life eternal.”

Martyrdom is the extreme case. But anyone who controls their baser instincts and tries to be kind and forgiving towards others, experiences a mild form of the same thing.

The billion dollar question is obviously: Is there a life eternal ?

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
2 years ago

Margaret Thatcher — ‘No-one would remember the Good Samaritan if he’d only had good intentions; he had money as well.’

Cheryl Jones
CJ
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago

Christianity’s one saving grace as a religion is its capacity for forgiveness and kindness as embodied by Jesus.. I’m an atheist but Jesus is mostly cool in my eyes (if I ignore the obvious arguments about actual truth and some of the less kindly passages – which is what most Christians do as well). Richard Dawkins uses to wear an ‘Atheists for Jesus’ tshirt because he recognised that. Without the New Testament, Christianity is basically Islam. And we wouldn’t want that would we….

Warren T
Warren T
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

Without the New Testament, there is no Christianity.

Jean Nutley
JN
Jean Nutley
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

I wouldn’t describe myself as an atheist, but I do have problems with Jesus, not the man himself or even his teachings, but what he is reported as doing.
My religious leanings are towards Buddhism,many similarities between that and Christianity.

Peter West
Peter West
2 years ago

Wow. Brilliant reading of today’s cultural and political moment. This is why I read Unherd.

David Morley
David Morley
2 years ago

But perhaps I’m being naïve. What if this is just another trick the elites use to preserve the status quo, maintain their privileges, and get rid of their potential competitors?

The test will be whether they actually act against their own material interests and those of their children.
it’s interesting that the issue of class has become one prejudice amongst others. Don’t worry about equality, but if one of your oxbridge peers says tea instead of dinner, you mustn’t tease.

michael stanwick
michael stanwick
2 years ago

Yet it went one step further and offered the highest prize to those at nature’s losing end: the meek, the wounded, the vulnerable, the unfortunate. 
“Meek” piqued my interest. I remember Jordan Peterson commenting on this term.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYtb6PXy6CA&t=64s
His rendition has a different emphasis.
And “Privilege” is the new name of the original sin of old: you are born with it, no matter what you do or say or think, you will always remain “privileged,” and will pass your condition on to others. 
Really? I thought ‘whiteness’ was the original sin and ‘privilege’ was a property of ‘whiteness’.

Last edited 2 years ago by michael stanwick
Dustshoe Richinrut
Dustshoe Richinrut
2 years ago

“… this woke brand of radicalism flourishes especially in the Ivy League environment, where students have the means and the leisure to play professional revolutionary.”

Why don’t they play a musical instrument for a change? And create harmony all round? At least among the radical Left back in the 60s, you saw guitars slung over more than the odd shoulder. But Marxism is in full swing now: the Marxists don’t do music. And during the street protests and disturbances in America last year, I saw not one activist with a guitar, on the television. If there had been, he must have been beaten up. Guitar smashed. During the cultural revolution in China in the 60s, pianos were smashed.

The old pop charts back in the day were a haven of budding equal opportunities. Everything seemed to be going in the right direction, a good direction, musically, from the 1950s to the 80s, in spite of some hiccups along the way. I don’t imagine black singers and bands, American ones, back in the day, would have countenanced for a second any idea that they deserved more of an official helping hand than what was given to white bands, in terms of music representation, exposure, and chart rankings and sales of records. I imagine most pop and rock stars all wanted the best for each other. And if black musicians did find that exposure on TV was not as favoured towards them as they would have liked, back in the day, then where else in the world were both black and white jamming together with such positive vibes? At the time? America was doing good here. America was the light!
(Now music videos saturate the airwaves, but that’s crass capitalism).

For all the time, effort, angst that has gone into creating and bedding down into the fabric of society the politics of identity, in the US, over the last five years, say, how many hobbies have these activists given up? Hobbies that would have been freely available to take up and fulfilling? Hobbies that no Afghan or even Iranian would dare take up because of the threat of arrest.
Have budding musicians gone astray? Have great songs been snuffed out when the germ of them had been there?
How many students at the Ivy League have learned how to make a traditional pie? All by themselves?
Do they know any old songs from before 1950?
America is a free country that has been tripped up.
Childhood is very short. The indoctrination of children into the woke religion, what with all the reams of documents that go with it, I think, is a Marxist plot to knock the stuffing out of all Americans: in order that they forget how good it was to enjoy themselves. And of course, time at school becomes a chore, joyless. Then it just becomes easier to join the vain and glorious mob, rather than resist.

You may not dance! You, as super-privileged, have not the right anymore to feel good about yourself, in America! If you got too excited, you will infringe upon others’ insensitivities who might think you are lording it over them. And if you do get too so, then shame on the lot of you! There’s the message. Now. Unfortunately.

The pained expression of the privileged is the only look that’s chic now.
(You see it everywhere, you know).

Christianity is unlike other religions because it is based on love. No wonder love, laughter and joy spring up in the Christian countries. Not all the time, mind you. Malignant individuals, nominally Christian, who crave power will even co-opt religion if they could to sidle their way into an influential position.

What do the old guys of music still alive think of this self-inflicted resentment towards the country from which sprung rock’n’roll? Should they speak out?

Who here remembers the 80s?
The Eighties? We had the Soviets on the run. Poor folk!

So much time and effort wasted. Of your time and effort reading this. Too bad. Well, sorry about that.
Don’t be reading the whole Bible now. That’ll take up a chunk of your very precious time. Ought you get something out of it though?

Claire D
Claire D
2 years ago

Excellent article, thank you Costica Bradatan. It seems to me that Darwin’s and Herbert Spencer’s theory of ‘survival of the fittest’ perfectly reflects capitalism, which is an interesting coincidence, if it is one. Capitalism and liberalism skipping gaily into the future hand in hand to create our 21st century world.

Last edited 2 years ago by Claire D
David Morley
David Morley
2 years ago

a quote from the most influential Father of the Church, Saint Augustine, who died in the year 430.

and communism was satirised by Aristophanes long before that.

Ferrusian Gambit
Ferrusian Gambit
2 years ago
Reply to  David Morley

Indeed the Pythagorean cult practiced it (as far as we know) abd probably other such movements did too. Plato proposed it through the mouth of Socrates, though specifically for the philosopher king elite alone – although later in the Laws he seems more in favour of a sort of Spartan or Cretan style militaristic collectivism.

h w
h w
2 years ago

Jesus never forced anyone to follow Him or do as He did. He invited us: “Come unto me.” God said, “I set before you death and life… therefore choose life.” Call it communalism: those who us who are moved by the Holy Spirit to pick up the wounded on the roadside, or share what God has given us, or to not comply with some of Ceasar’s decrees will do so. If we act on our own self-aggrandizing thinking without Jesus as our source, “we can do nothing.” Or so much worse than nothing. Coercive communism violates the freedom that is essential to love. “Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”

stephen archer
stephen archer
2 years ago

It’s only an opinion but with reference to the first paragraph I also believe there are clear parallels between Christianity and Communism. In theory the teachings of Jesus Christ in non-materialism and helping the poor have some likeness to communist ideology. In practice, the likenesses are more in terms of the privileged few amassing power and wealth. In the communist system the party structure is the recipient of wealth at the expense of the proletariat whereas the Catholic church has done exactly the same taking collections from their poor congregations whilst gathering and assembling riches to be hoarded without question. Is there anyone who’s visited the Vatican and done the tour of the Vatican museums who has not wondered about the meaning of the true Christian message?

Last edited 2 years ago by stephen archer
Rob Jones
RJ
Rob Jones
2 years ago

Glorious ruminations, but I fear I’ve missed the point. It’s not exactly what the investment community would call ‘actionable’.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
2 years ago

Yes, a good article in the Tom Holland school that so many of the West’s current political and ethical assumptions are deeply rooted, if disguised, in Christianity.

But Christianity itself does not seem to be dying; it has probably more adherents than ever. It is just that these are overwhelmingly to be found in the (much larger) developing world.

Last edited 2 years ago by Andrew Fisher
GA Woolley
GA
GA Woolley
2 years ago

‘Like any major religion worth its salt, Christianity involved taming the power-hungry, self-assertive, greedy animals that humans, by their nature, are.’ I suspect that a few of the women living in Islamic states might take issue with that idea.

Lee Jones
Lee Jones
2 years ago

Christianity, like all moral philosophies, takes on a totalitarian bent when applied to society. Whatever Christ said (or any other demagogue religious or otherwise) will be tortured and turned by the ruling classes into a philosophy that maintains the status quo. When Constantine adopted Christianity he did not revolutionise the Roman state he revolutionised the Christian religion to serve the state.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
2 years ago

Yet another apparently clever person deriding religion. And it soldiers on anyway.

Paul K
Paul K
2 years ago

Excellent piece.

Alan Hawkes
Alan Hawkes
2 years ago

I am surprised that Savonarola and his Bonfire of the Vanities didn’t get a mention.

Janet Danks
JD
Janet Danks
2 years ago

Key difference: Christianity offers a way of escaping the consequences of original sin. ‘Privilege ‘ seems impossible to slough off.

GA Woolley
GA Woolley
2 years ago

Why, I wonder, did god, who’d had 14 billion years to think about how he’d reveal himself and tell us what he wanted, change his mind so fundamentally between the old and new testaments?