A while back we were discussing the merits of a liberal arts education and the sad state of our current education system. As part of that discussion, I looked at the current curriculum of my old prep school to see if it changed much from when I was there. To my surprise and joy, it changed very little. Students are still required to take four years of theology… good Jesuit theology. I was struck by the entry for the current theology department at Fairfield Prep and now present it below.
In light of the current discussion about the rise of the new bolsheviki in the Democratic Party, I thought I’d share my thoughts on the Ignatian approach to Roman Catholicism. I’m pretty sure many of you will consider the black robes to be quite red. I, on the other hand, find the teachings and example of Saint Ignatius of Loyola to be far more profound and worthy of emulation than anything Marx or Lenin ever dreamed of.
What is theology? Fundamentally, it’s about conversation.
The Greek word Theós (God) combined with logos (word, or reason) describes what happens in theology classes at Fairfield Prep. Talking about God, discovering God in the person of Jesus Christ, asking questions, having discussions and debates, and exploring the truths of other world religions are some of the many things that happen in theology. Through exegetical analysis of Scripture, learning the philosophies of the Saints (in particular, St. Ignatius of Loyola), contemplation, and reflection, theology students at Fairfield Prep are drawn to a more intimate experience of the Divine in their own lives.
In the classroom, students are exposed to the teachings of Christ regarding the Gospel imperative – the care of the poor. Theology students are inspired to work for equality and social justice in their local and global communities.
In the spirit of Christ, through Ignatian practices, students are encouraged to grow spiritually and religiously by orienting themselves towards others. Practically speaking, students are called to “Find God in All Things.” By recognizing the presence of the Divine within others and the universe we live in, students may be inspired to develop a deeper appreciation and love for Creation – in particular, care for our environment.
Morality, ethics, philosophy, history, science – they are all present within discussions of theology. Regardless of faith background (or lack thereof) all students are encouraged to express their beliefs and share their life experiences in their own ways. In theology, we are constantly working towards discovering Truth in our lives. Through science, history, literature, Scripture, and the Sacraments, we understand that God can be found in all things and in all ways here at Fairfield Prep. Join us as we continue the discussions, the questions, the reflections, and the actions that will make this world a more loving place for all.
– Mr. Corey J. Milazzo
Chair of the Theology Department
It’s still there, the call to find God in all things and to be a man for others. I graduated a few years before Father Pedro Arrupe presented his dissertation and made his presentation which became known as his “Men for Others” thesis. But his ideas already ran through the halls and faculty of Fairfield Prep by the end of the 60s. Community service was an integral part of the curriculum back then as were frequent retreats based on the Ignatian spiritual exercises. They still are. The Jesuits molded us into men for others, social justice warriors, but with a keen sense of self-examination (the examen). When we graduated in the rose garden of Bellarmine Hall under a beautiful June sun, we were charged with the familiar Jesuit call “ite inflammate omnia” (go forth and set the world on fire).
That phrase in itself is provocative. It goes back to Saint Ignatius of Loyola himself. It may go back much further, back to Saint Catherine of Siena. One of her most repeated quotes is “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.” Setting the world on fire must have a different meaning back then. It sounds down right revolutionary these days.
In more recent times, Jesuits participated in the development of liberation theology, a blending of the Church’s professed preference for the poor and Marxism that is unsettling to many both in and outside the Church. This expression of strident social justice was never supported by the Vatican, especially when liberation theologists aligned themselves with armed Marxist revolutions. Even Pope Francis was not a fan although as Father Bergoglio he said, "The option for the poor comes from the first centuries of Christianity. It's the Gospel itself. If you were to read one of the sermons of the first fathers of the Church, from the second or third centuries, about how you should treat the poor, you’d say it was Maoist or Trotskyist. The Church has always had the honor of this preferential option for the poor.” Pope Francis seeks reconciliation with rather than expulsion of the liberation theologists. This doesn’t surprise me considering the Jesuits' firmly held faith in the primacy of conscience, the belief that an informed conscience is the ultimate and final authority on what is morally permissible, and it is the obligation of the individual to follow their conscience even if it contradicts or acts against Church teaching. I believe that, but I also believe the liberation theologists could benefit from a more rigorous examen to reach a higher sense of discernment and a truly informed conscience.
I think the 1986 film “The Mission” captured some of these ideas and struggles very well with the interplay of Father Gabriel, Roderigo Mendoza and both the secular and religious authorities of that time. As a product of a Jesuit and Special Forces education, this film resonated with me.
DOL – AMDG
Interesting. “Farewell to the King” resonated with me.
I have long been fascinated by Liberation Theology. I don’t actually know much about it – but what I perceive to be the polarity between the “church hierarchy” which has a reputation of being complicit with the wealthy and with authoritarian regimes, vs the renegade priests who embraced Liberation Theology has long interested me.
A friend from Mexico recommended the film ‘The Crime of Father Amaro’ to me – and told me that it depicted the reality of Mexico better than any other film I might see. I enjoyed the film very much, and was even more sympathetic to Liberation Theology after seeing it.
When I despair at humanity being able to save itself in its present crazy lust for self destruction, I still have faith in the Catholic Church and its ability to save us. After the Chinese state, the world’s oldest institution. It has a tradition, especially an intellectual tradition, which is both immensely practical in this world and built for eternity.
Several people I most admire on the Left in Britain started life wanting to be Catholic Priests – one could be our next Chancellor of the Exchequer, the feisty John McDonnel.
Because we live in a dogmatically secular, not to say aetheistical society, it is often easy to miss the continuing impact of Catholicism and Catholic themes in our culture – especially in our most influential cultural tradition – cinema. The 20th Centuy’s greatest film-makers were all Catholics and used deeply Catholic themes in their work – John Ford, Alfred Hitchcock, Fritz Lang and Louis Bunuel. Today I greatly admire the work of the McDonagh brothers – working class Irish Catholics from South London – who made variously (they do not work together) – Calvary, In Bruges, and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Also the various Mexican mystical Catholics directing in Hollywood at the moment.
The vivid visual pagaentry and story telling of Catholicism continues to find rich realisation in film.
I am much taken by the work of Michael Hudson on the nature of Jesus’ teaching and its economic component. “Forgive them their sins” is one of his books.
I vaguely remember that sunny day back in the 60’s, we were all aligned in formation and stood firmly to listen to Padre Arrupe addressing us all. It was supposed to be a special event, but being almost a child at the time I was not aware of how important and special that person and event were. With time I learned that Padre Arrupe was in Hiroshima, he was a doctor and as such treated the survivors.
Every institution and group of people is far from homogenous, thanks to nature, that’s the way it should be, but at the time the option for the poor was not a unitary position of the Jesuits, in countries where inequality was and today is even more rampant. And probably because of that we were not told that our most distinguished visitor was in Japan, and witnessed that greatest of horrors.
That is why sometimes I smile when I read the Colonel distrust and disdain for bolsheviks and trotskyists. They are a lot closer to your jesuit education that what you think. In any case, I was very fortunate to be educated by that excellent group of people, most of them from the Basque country, our first english teacher whom I shall never forget, a north american Maryknoll nun, not a single mosquito would move in that class, discipline, and Beatles songs translated, we were allowed to do anything in class, like frying an egg, but it had to be in english.
Unfortunately the countries where the Jesuits taught not only did not eliminate inequality, it only grew to disastrous levels. A few of them joined the guerrillas, others were assassinated, AMDG.
I am essentially an agnostic, with a devout Episcopalian wife and a best friend who is a retired professor of religion, so I can’t claim that they are wrong. But to me, the central core of Christianity is the Sermon on the Mount and if you live by it, you will be a better person.
I am glad to see that the school is still debating what will make you a better person and I am sure many students will prosper from it. When I was in Junior Highschool, in what was then a rather socialistic Sweden, we had 3 years of Christian education. I still remember a lot of it.
This was very though-provoking TTG, thanks for your confession.
As I see it, the primacy of conscience and the obligation of the individual to follow their own is exactly right. Our education system (both religious and secular) must teach a set of ethics and a code of civil conduct consistent with the society which we wish to build. But thereafter the state must respect our right to live largely as we choose.
Yes, individuals should be encouraged to set the world alight. The problem comes when social justice is moved from the domain of voluntary, individual choice to the imposition of obligatory, collective adherence, by the state. The Jesuit doctrine you describe sounds a lot like “live and let live” – i.e. the humility to avoid judging others by your own standards. Political SJW’s have totally abandoned this critically important aspect of the doctrine. Their mission is to force us all to conform to a collective set of norms far and away beyond what is necessary for a civil & free society. This makes them indistinguishable from Bolshevik tyrants.
You were very fortunate to have received such an excellent education and it is encouraging that it still exists in some places. It shouldn’t be impossible to rebuild it elsewhere, but one aspect will be key; the teaching of real tolerance for others. This is very different from the faux tolerance of Liberalism, which holds that you can be of any color, faith, gender etc – just so long as you think the same way I do. A process of de-snowflakization will be necessary; teaching people that feeling offense is a normal emotion, not something to be avoided at all costs. After all, the Bill of Rights does not enshrine the right to not be offended.
IMO in a free society citizens can volunteer to aid the poor all they want to. However, it is not the government’s job to take on the task and to force others to “give” in ways that they would not do so on their own. That’s the philosophical difference between the Bolshies and free people.
Additionally, I am convinced that free markets create more wealth so that people can volunteer to help those in need. With the Bolshies, minimal wealth is created and everyone loses and suffers. History has shown us that and theory says it must be that way. There is no way to “get socialism right”. The global poverty rate has been in steep decline as more of the world develops into free market economies and older free market societies donate wealth and other aid to societies in need.
I attended a secular prep school K-12, but the message was the same, “Take your talents, maximize them and light the world on fire”. Sundays at home were dedicated to religious discussions and readings – all day until dinner.
A close friend of mine, now passed away, had a brother who became a Jesuit priest in his middle age after spending many years as an Air Force officer. I was amazed when I first met and talked with him, could not understand why he would do such a thing. But maybe I kind of understood later. He had left the AF and started in a seminary in the 80s not long after the murder of several Jesuits in El Salvador.
De Oppresso Liber not only affected him but some other non-Jesuit Catholic religious orders also. Over 50 priests, nuns, and lay leaders were murdered by death squads in El Salvador. Many were not Jesuits, but they had been slandered as being reds because of their work with the poor. That included the now canonized Oscar Romero who was gunned down while saying mass.
Would MS-13 be as extensive as they are today if those priests had not been murdered and their efforts to end the civil war peacefully had been realized?
Totally off topic —
A week or so ago I was in Greenwich, CT for the Boys & Girls Club annual Golf tournament/benefit. It was held at a golf club on the border of New York State, on land sandwiched between the massive holdings of the Brunswick School (the Winkelvoss brothers graduated from Brunswick), and also Sacred Heart academy for Girls.
That’s just the name-dropping part.
Here’s my question: driving to and around Greenwich one cannot help but be impressed by the orderliness of the place, and also of the stones. It seems to be carved into a very large mountain of stone. Further, there are constructed walls of dressed stone surrounding very many of the institutions and homes in the area.
This morning I heard yet another recitation of the complaint, “We _ _ _ _ _’s built the United States that you white people are getting rich on.”
So I wondered: Who built those stone walls in Greenwich, CT?
Who tamed that stone mountain that characterizes so much of the state?
The person I visited in CT grew up in western and central Maryland, where his German (and Mennonite) farmer ancestors plowed fields around and through acres of stone. If they could not grow a crop on the stony fields, they gathered them in and built their houses, barns and hedge-walls, so many of which are still standing, solid as the day they were built. Western Maryland’s agricultural landscape is still neat as a pin, carefully and intelligently husbanded to produce apples, peaches, etc.
I hope this is not as far off-topic as it appears on the surface: the Jesuits have one tradition, but the Benedictines made an equally important contribution to the advancement of civilization: Ora et Labora: Pray and work. As I grew up in Catholic institutions, I learned and practiced that work IS prayer (and prayer is work). The medieval cathedrals were work and prayer made manifest in stone.
looking after those in need makes good economic sense. The alternative is barbed wire, walls, security systems, guns, guards, prisons and gallows. Guess which approach is cheaper.
To put that another way, visit historic parts of europe. Those high walls, barred windows and spiked iron fences were. not there for fake decorations when originally built.
My wife’s uncle was a Jesuit, taught at 3 Jesuit Universities and served as a Chaplain in the USN during WW-II; my father had 8 years of Jesuit education, as did I and one of my brothers; another of my brothers had 4. The pre-Arrupe and the post Arrupe Jesuits are two different religious orders bound by a common name. Flirtation with an ideology that solved the problems of humanity by impoverishing everyone but the commissars and burying the 100 million or so recalcitrants undermined the mission of the Church,; it lent legitimacy to corrupt political regimes; and it spread poverty to include ever more people even as the numbers of priests willing to labor in the fields were drying up. There is a reason that John Paul II sent a representative to attend Arrupe’s funeral.
In the end, the Jesuits foray into practical politics under ambiguous slogans such as “preferential option for the poor” led to the Robert Drinans and the waffling Catholic prelates and politicians who find ways to justify or look past any behavior contrary to the established doctrine of the Church so long as they can present themselves as being hard at work on behalf of the poor. There are too many examples to enumerate.
And I will note in passing that while the religious implications of the work with the poor will vary with the individual, the work will remain steady: the poor we will have always with us.
I beg to differ regarding your characterization of Hudson’s work as having to do with forgiving sins. His title is as follows: https://michael-hudson.com/2018/08/and-forgive-them-their-debts/
See the full title above. His book and thesis is about debt. The translation of the Lord’s Prayer is often given as “debts” or “trespasses” and “debtors” or “those who trespass against us.”
Steve Keen’s review makes the same mistake in his gloss: “Michael Hudson reveals the real meaning of “Forgive us our sins.” It has far more to do with throwing the moneylenders out of the Temple than today’s moneylenders would like you to know.”
The conflation of debt and guilt (or sin) derives, I believe, from the root of both in some Germanic languages. This figures prominently in _A Doll’s House_ and differing attitudes to debt deriving from them.
I’ll mention a judge who demanded the 10 commandments be placed in his court and disobeyed order to remove them. This disease is certainly not limited to one side. Capital L liberals and capital C conservatives share the affliction, a misappropriation of religion or doctrine, which stripped of humility (all the worthy ones have a bit), become “…oneself with a thunderbolt”.
A wise man knows he knows nothing…said someone.
Off topic, but an interesting observation of yours, artemesia. Those stone walls were built by colonial and early American farm families. The soil of all of New England and Connecticut in particular was gifted with countless rocks and stones when the last glacier retreated from North America. You cannot till a piece of land without removing most of the rocks from the soil. The farm families removed the rocks and used them to build the stone walls you saw in Greenwich. I’ve moved tons of rocks doing just that as a youth and as a farm hand. Building a proper dry stone wall to withstand the winter frost heaves is an art known by many New Englanders. Living in Virginia, I am astounded by the lack of rocks for building such walls. I cannot bring myself to buy them by the pallet as is the practice here. Paying for rocks is not something a New Englander can easily stomach.
To all those here who claim that the only thing communist and socialist systems spread is poverty, i would like you to show some data/statististics, instead of just your own claims.
I use to frequent a Twitter account where many photos of life under the former GDR are shared, and does not seem that they were doing absolutely so bad, on the contrary, what really happened is that after joining FDR, which implied the dismantling of the whole GDR industry for FDR holdings´beneffit, increasing poverty rates started to spread along what at all lights seemed a prosperous and free nation.
Then you have the Chinese, who have taken out of poverty more people than anybody else in the world in the least time ( about these, yes there are statistics…), and all that even with their mixed but still communist system…
I do not swallow the mythical, by Western propaganda standards, ruin of the USSR, since at the heights of 1985, economic indicators were there better than in many Western nations on productiveness and progress at all levels.
The USSR was imploded from outside and within by the inestimable help of a bunch of traitors to the will of the people, whom even in the last referendum expressed clearly their will to conserve the Soviet system, will which was betrayed by Yeltsin and his minions who usurped the popular will by coup d´etat.
To TTG, the author of this post,
I detect here an implied critic to the liberation theologists…. Since you are in a sincerity exercise, could you expnad a bit on what you are trying to mean by this?
I would be interested.
Also, and since you seem to have been educated by US Jesuits at prep-school, do you consider that due the background of the US, the genuine Ignatian message and character has been fully developed and then conserved there? I mean, do you thing is this possible, in such an anti-communist country by definition, which promotes a society based on “winners and losers” not finding in this binary distribution more cause than own ability to prospere within the system, whatever the means?
Finally, and if this is not asking already too much, what do you mean by DOL-AMDG?
If you have the opportunity to travel West take a side trip to Walnut Grove, Minnesota. Home of (one of) the Laura Ingells Wilder Museum. They even have a recreated sod home (real sod) just like the one that familiy lived in more than 100 years ago. There is some interesting background on the settling of the forntier as it moved ever westward. On the other hand, if you go South, visit Lincoln’s birthplace in Kentucky. The actual log cabin is within a nathional monument outside Hodgenville Kentucky and one of his family’s farm’s where he spent part of his boyhood is a few miles away. In Trappist, just outside Bardstown, about 45 miles away, is the Abbey of Gethsemani, which opened in 1848. None of these are much celebrated in our modern and diverse school systems but all were important parts in the growth of the Republic.
I suspect those walls to be mostly accidental. Dumping them on your neighbor’s property would have been an extreme sport. it’s either stack them on the property line or cart them away.
Give them fishing rods – if they truly cannot get one on their own – not free fish. Free fish breaks the human spirit.
Anyhow, we have all kinds of care for those who are actually disabled. I agree with that too.
Immigration business is big business and plenty of autocrats are quite happy to saddle the gullible with their nation’s dissidents rather than deal with “the good economic sense” of looking after those in need. Castro comes to mind and all those well off tourists from Europe and Canada who’ve been going there for decades have only been subsidizing oppression while they get a sunny dog-and-pony show vacation amongst the ruins of Havana.
De oppresso liber – Ad maiorem Dei gloriam
“i would like you to show some data/statistics, instead of just your own claims.” Statistics lie. Everyone has their own including your communist government. You do not make demands here. You are an enemy and merely tolerated here for the moment.
Elsi, I know of no country where the Ignatian message has been fully developed and conserved. As for the liberation theologists, I believe many of them got too caught up in the Marxist call for totally changing society often through violent means. While the Church and the Marxist revolutionaries may often work towards the same goal of giving preference to the poor, the ultimate reasons for working towards that goal is not at all the same. I reject the idea of a vanguard party be it Marxist or autocratic priesthood.
Yeltsin didn’t stage the coup d’etat. It was hard line CPSU and KGB. Yeltsin stumbled into his spot in the collapse of the coup attempt. Although I will grant you that Russia/Soviet Union and China made great economic strides considering where they started.
naked capitalism had an interesting series of interviews with Hudson, which cover a lot of it in short form;
Another interview today;
The problem I see with monotheism is that it confuses the absolute with the ideal. Logically a spiritual absolute would be that essence of sentience, from which we rise, not an ideal of wisdom and judgment, from which we fell. More the new born, than the wise old man. Consciousness seeking knowledge, than any form or brand of it. The light shining through the film than the images on it. So what we do with this gift is not pre-ordained.
Good and bad are not a cosmic dual between the forces of righteousness and evil, but the basic biological binary of beneficial and detrimental. So society and the moral codes it requires are a constant dynamic of the raw organic and emotional energies rising up, as civil and cultural forms coalesce in. Liberal and conservative, youth and age.
It is that we have this linear idealist monism, that we don’t see the dynamic as two sides of a larger cycle and so each side sees themselves on the road to nirvana and the other side as misbegotten fools.
It really is more of the yin and yang, than God Almighty.
Thank you, John. I had missed the first series when it was posted and will turn to both.
You were blessed with such an education. Saldy for the Republic and many of her citizens far too many educated by the puclic school system have been provided nothing like this as religion has been expelled from primary and seconday education; it and American history are denigrated daily, to our nation’s detriment. College graduates moving into the teaching field in the ’40s-60s had the benefit of being taught by early true believers in Marxism who had not yet seen the realities of what evil that ideology was doing to people in the USSR and eventually the nations of the Warsaw Pact and China. The number of unrepentent marxists has only increased as new generations have come of age. They have all found it far easier to deconstruct than to build. They were certainly not about to follow in the footsteps of men such as yourself or our host.
“an informed conscience is the ultimate and final authority on what is morally permissible”
There is always an historical grievance to point to that will serve as a foundation of victimhood, especially when coupled with a rejection of religous principles. “I live, therefore I deserve” is about all the doctrine one is taught today. You can tear down a lot of civilzations with that ideological starting point.
The priest who married my wife and me gave us a framed quote from Fr. Arrupe on love. I read up on Fr. Arrupe and he has been one of my heroes ever since. Another of my heroes is Fulton Sheen who believed the dropping of the atom bomb was immoral and inaugurated the culture of death. Another hero of mine, the great Oxford and Cambridge analytic philosopher, Elizabeth Anscombe— a staunch Catholic (convert)— condemned Truman and said he was a war criminal. And while I respect all the aforementioned my 93-year old father and all of his children and grandchildren are most likely alive today because of the dropping of the atom bomb. My dad was in the U.S. Army 77th in Battle of Okinawa and afterwards was in training for the invasion when the Japanese surrendered. Had the Japanese not surrendered there most likely would have been much more devastation of the Japanese military and civilian population. The numbers might have been orders of magnitude higher than those of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Here is Fr. Wilson Miscamble, C.S.C., a professor of history at the University of Notre Dame succinctly explaining why the dropping of the atom bomb was the most reasonable and best option: https://youtu.be/BmIBbcxseXM
Some have discussed the limits of compassion when ever larger number of people seek help (https://www.vox.com/explainers/2017/7/19/15925506/psychic-numbing-paul-slovic-apathy ). How does your theology deal with this issue at the Malthusian limit?
The Abbey at Bardstown I have heard about and hoped to visit, with a side-trip to Elkton, KY, home of Supreme Court Justice James McReynolds, one of the thorns in the side of FDR. Kentucky – Tennessee — and environs were intellectually the Boston – Cambridge of the US, before the Unpleasantness.
My imagination never took me farther West than Chicago. Thank you for the recommendation.
PS to Mark Logan: I could only wish that neighbors would “dump” rocks on my boundary lines in such handsome and well-fitted fashion.
IZ, Anyone who follows this theology knows they are not betting on a sure thing. Look at Mother Theresa as an example. I seriously doubt she ever thought she was going to end all or even most poverty and misery in India. No, she strove to do what she could in the face of overwhelming odds. It’s the nature of strong faith.
For a closer example check out Jim Ingvale known as Mattress Mack, a furniture salesman in Houston. After Hurricane Harvey, he quickly opened up his furniture stores to anybody flooded out of their homes. He arranged transportation, food and pet care. The temporarily homeless slept on the furniture in his showrooms. He couldn’t help everyone, but he gladly did what he could. He was quoted as saying “We said to hell with profits. We’re just gonna take care of the people. That’s the right thing to do. That’s the way I was brought up.” Contrast that with the actions of Joel Osteen, the multimillionaire preacher of prosperity gospel. He didn’t open up his megachurch to the flood victims. It’s the parable of the good Samaritan for modern times.
Ishmael, we do what we can in the face of Malthusian odds. Our faith buoys us and impels us.
Colonel Lange, you introduced me to “Farewell to the King.” A magnificent film. I can no longer listen to “The Rising of the Moon” without seeing Learoyd in a longhouse full of Dayaks.
Charlie Rose on one show invited a group of high-powered tech company owners to the round table. Charlie asked, “Who has done more good, Mother Theresa or Bill Gates?” They answered gates because he had created so many millionaires. It was and apples to oranges question. The world benefited from both.
Today’s youth are going to suffer a great lose with the folding, as we know it, of Mad Magazine. There is no better comic book for instilling in teens an irreverent and cynical sense of humor. In its peculiar brand of satire and parody it enlightened young questioning minds.
We might first start with “rectification of names”. Your definition of the term “SJW” seems to be quite different from the common, colloquial, usage employed by the “pussy-hat wearing” Western Liberal Establishment. These folks seem to have their own religion, with its own catechism. To use an over simplification, in their belief “All is One and Globalism is Good”. OTOH, irrespective of a particular creed, Niebuhr presents compelling arguments in “Moral Man, Immoral Society” that, when applied globally, all religious ethics fail, even before the Malthusian limit is reached. Perhaps those pushing globalism-another kind of prosperity gospel-will wake up to realize, soon, that in addition to sharing in the riches of the entire world, they will also have to share in the common misery. Mayhap they, or their children, will rue this approach in days to come.
Those, like Mother Theresa, who can put others before family and kin deserve high honors. However, I can also find no fault with those who put their family and kin, and the long range prospects of their own society, first. For such all else, including the longevity of their own selves, come a very distant second. Neither approach might mean much at the Malthusian limit but, when subjected to a rational analysis, both approaches appear be sound within their own belief sets.
Mad covers are classic.
IZ, you’re right. The common use of the term SJW is as a pejorative. I define it as being a man for others, even if it’s not the level worthy of beatification. Being a man for others does incur costs. One gives up a little material wealth and comfort, time and effort. This stands in direct contravention of the preachings of prosperity gospel which can be summed us as “I got mine. Go get your own.” This is not near as bad as “I want yours, too” or “I fear you having as much as me,” but the prosperity gospel can be used to support the worse aspects of nationalism and tribalism. I find that creed dangerous, more dangerous in the long run than any form of Marxism.
As to your premise that any faith may fall apart in the face of a Malthusian limit, I offer a favorite quote of mine from “African Genesis” by Robert Ardrey.
“But we were born of risen apes, not fallen angels, and the apes were armed killers besides. And so what shall we wonder at? Our murders and massacres and missiles, and our irreconcilable regiments? Or our treaties whatever they may be worth; our symphonies however seldom they may be played; our peaceful acres, however frequently they may be converted into battlefields; our dreams however rarely they may be accomplished. The miracle of man is not how far he has sunk but how magnificently he has risen. We are known among the stars by our poems, not our corpses.”
Many SJWs are simply marxists seeking justification.
Very true. It’s a form of camouflage for them.
How shall I live my life is a reasonable exploration provided by one’s educational ladder.
Like all issues the Devil is in the details. How much, or how little, a man-for-others gives up; who or what determines this amount; how we define others: those in immediate need of succor or those who wish for a better life… who gets to answer these questions, and with what authority? If the answer is “the man-for-others, himself”, this person has no authority for judging others behaving differently, nor the right to use coercion to make them toe to his line.
Using Hume’s dictum “ you cannot get an ought from an is “, one might posit that the “bad” aspects of nationalism and tribalism depend on the fundamental set of ethics one subscribes to. I am not an idealist, and I consider both concepts to be useful, overall, for survival of societies. Ardrey, in his “Territorial Imperative” explores these ideas and proposes that inherited evolutionary instincts of survival drive both concepts. His quote “The dog barking at you from behind his master’s fence acts for a motive indistinguishable from that of his master when the fence was built.” can be applied verbatim to tribal and national borders. Abolishing the same, unless millennium dawns, does not seem wise. Taking on populations whose social contract is very different than one’s own, whether through globalization or through conquest, seem to cause trouble for the dominant groups in the long run. The Algerians in France, Turks in Germany, Indians and Pakistanis in England, Syrians in Turkey…The fate of the Ottoman Empire, once the flames of nationalism were ignited in its subject populations,is another example.
I like Ardrey, and have read all of his books since I became aware of him through one of your posts quite a while ago. He probably would not classify our genus as having the genetics of the “man-for-others”. It is unfortunate that homo “sapiens” has chalked up far more corpses than poems in the last two and a half millennia. Both rulers and crowds seem to have an aversion to poets who write inconvenient truths. This is as true today as ever.
The Mission: Thanks for the reference. Very powerful.
Gates is profoundly overrated.
There’s very little Microsoft did that Digital Research wouldn’t have done in its stead (that includes Windows – GEM was leagues better as late as 1988) though it did produce some excellent development tools. Microsoft’s unethical, underhanded and monopolistic business practices were ultimately a disaster for the tech world.
The decline of the desktop PC relative to the smartphone and tablet is largely a consequence of Microsoft’s failure to conquer and despoil the latter platforms and its continued domination of the former.
TTG, since you are
a) a native New Englander,
b) a Catholic, and
c) have said in the past, I believe, words to the effect
“I see no problem with immigration as long as
it does not exceed the capacity of America to assimilate the incoming migrants”,
I invite you, if you are reading this comment made three months after your post above,
to read and if you care to comment on,
two articles discussing efforts, and results, of something called “Catholic Charities” (whose mission statement seems to epitomize the POV of the SJW)
to increase the flow of immigrants to Portland, Maine:
“Such a Disgrace: How Ethan Strimling Betrayed the People of Portland”, and
“The Way Life Should Be? Vol. I: From Parts Unknown to Streets Paved with Gold”.
In particular, do you think the authors of these articles have a point in the concerns they express?
Or are they expressing concerns that deserve no respect, in your view?
Or perhaps some intermediate position.
BTW, I sympathize with the concerns expressed.
But as the saying goes “Your mileage may vary”.
Keith, since you took the time to ask, I’ll take the time to answer. As I started writing, I decided to do so as another stand alone posting. Sit tight and I’ll post an answer in a day or so.
Great. I suspect your POV is rather different than that of the authors of those articles (and mine also),
but there might be some degree of agreement.
Also, of course, you understand well the New England culture of mid-20C.
The issue, IMO, is: Should that culture be preserved or replaced (in the name of “progress”, of course)?
Looking forward to your observations on this issue.
BTW, about 2005 I visited some family on Cape Cod.
I was delighted to observe that “dancing around a May-pole” was still being observed.
Good (IMO) to see such traditions still being followed.