Friday, 28 December 2012

How the modern pseudo-virtue of 'equality' corrupted Christendom


'Equality' is a notion that is:

1. Recently invented (the past few hundred years). It is a made-up virtue. A fake virtue - ungrounded in common sense, natural law, spontaneous human behaviour.

2. In one sense equality is conceptually im-precise, since there is no agreement on what should be equal and what should not...

3. Yet in another sense equality is mathematically precise, objectively measurable, and non-quantitative - all-or-nothing; since equality is operationalized as sameness and either things are exactly the same (so far as we can tell), or else things are not exactly the same; so that if justice is equality and equality is just, then any degree of inequality counts as total injustice.

4. Thus we have a made-up, invented, fake virtue which is both incoherent and yet mathematically psuedo-precise - and this utterly nonsensical entity has been inserted into human affairs by top-down propaganda from the anti-traditional Left; where it has - due to these peculiar and paradoxical qualities - utterly confused traditional morality and thereby equality has usurped all other virtues.

5. And at the same time in-equality has usurped all other sins as being regarded the primary evil of the world (nothing is ever allowed to justify inequality).


We conclude that equality is a concept utterly demonic and repugnant, and to be shunned by all virtuous people.



JP said...

equality is a concept utterly demonic

Ironically enough, demons are governed by a rigid hierarchy and are under the grip of an eternal, unchanging authority...

Bruce Charlton said...

@JP - I know what you mean, but perhaps *strategic* is a better word than 'ironic'? - because if you were waging a war to corrupt mankind, you would want mankind to be organized on 'egalitarian' principles, in order to make certain their defeat.

Bruce Charlton said...

@JP - An interesting and relevant comparison would be the way that the Soviet Communist State used to subsidize and sponsor the Western 'Peace Movement'.

dearieme said...

You probably need both the concept of "equality" plus the culture of "human rights" to really corrupt so much.

George Goerlich said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Deogolwulf said...

That the organised forces of egalitarianism depend upon the structures of hierarchy merely confirms once again that evil is parasitic upon the good. Leftism can remain a power in the state only by upholding or remaking what it decries, albeit in perversion or mockery of what rightism defends.

The Crow said...

Ah. It is pleasant to know I am virtuous. Thoroughly unequal, uninterested in being as anyone else is, neither the target of preference, nor pity. Just virtuous.
Thanks, Bruce :)

Bruce B. said...

How would you respond to a leftist who quoted 2 Corinthians 8:14?

"But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality"

Bruce Charlton said...

@BB - That passage seems (it is rather difficult to follow, and I haven't studied it before) to be arguing that Christians should help each other according to their strengths, in a complementary way - so that the strength of one group (e.g. spiritual) may assist the weakness of another (e.g material) - but that this must be a voluntary choice, not compelled.

It doesn't look like an assertion of equality, but of the opposite - that people are variously different; but helping each other voluntarily, the whole may be stronger.

JP said...

By sheer coincidence, I just started reading Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn's "Leftism: From de Sade and Marx to Hitler and Marcuse". Chapter 2 is a head-on assault on "equality" as an anti-Christian concept, though he notes (this was in 1974!) that "secular democratic thinking" has made considerable inroads among theologians.

He notes that although equality (either equality "in the eyes of God", equality before the law, or equality of opportunity) is often paired with "freedom", in point of fact equality and freedom are antithetical, since force must always be used to establish equality.

Sylvie D. Rousseau said...

Liberty, equality, fraternity: Christian ideas gone mad, said Chesterton. Ideas, not virtues. Moral freedom depends on truth and goodness, both transcendentals. External liberty, equality and fraternity depend on justice and charity, a natural and a theological virtue. The PC Leftist concept of equality is perverted, inverted, like their concept of good and all their other moral concepts.

The mention of equality in 2 Corinthians 8,14 is followed by an example from Exodus 16,18 about the manna, which was given to each not according to what they could gather but to what they could eat. This is what the practice of justice and charity should be like.

David Warren put up two good related articles: 'The Cure' (Dec 26) and 'Headnote' (Dec 27, answer to a comment on the previous)

Dan said...

Equality is a sentiment that extended out of Christianity (and I would say other faiths as well), but it has meaning only in the context the spiritual realm.

I think the words (e.g. in the words of the US declaration of independence: 'all men are created equal')

Presumably this relates to equality of the soul, but it is a religious concept. Plainly in the physical realm people are unequal in every manner.

But physical equality

Bruce Charlton said...

@Dan - well, what I am saying here is that equality did NOT extend out of Christianity as such - since it arose very late in the history of Christianity - post Reformation - and was rapidly embraced and carried forwards by deists and agnostic/ atheists (e.g the English (Diggers, Levellers), French and American revolutions).

As for where the idea originally and ultimately came from - I think that it has become ever more obvious as the consequences unfolded: it came from Satan.

Dan said...

There are some new testament passages to contend with... These are the big ones as far as I can tell...

John 13:16 KJV
16 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.
(Jesus says this when he washes the feet of his disciples)

Galatians 3:26-29 KJV

26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

Colossians 3:11
11 Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.

Acts 10:34-35
34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:
35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.

Romans 2
9 Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;
10 But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile

In addition one must contend with the fact that Jesus hung out with prostitutes, lepers, tax collectors and fishermen. Whatever heirarchy of men that Jesus found, he apparently ignored it.

Dan said...

My take is that (contra the Calvinists) there is a kind of spiritual equality to everyone that does good. Emphasis on the good part. I.e. evildoers are emphatically not equal.

But the idea that there is no true Christian notion of equality doesn't square with these passages, and it especially doesn't square with Jesus' behavior of apparently seeking out the poor and the weak, or at least giving them as much chance as a King.

Don't forget how Jesus' sermon on the mount begins (Matthew 5):
1 And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him.
2 Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying:
3 Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
For they shall be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Dan - I don't want to repeat myself, but none of these passages imply equality. And this is not a matter of opinion - the vast sweep of Christian history, the great Fathers and Saints, never interpreted these passages as implying equality. Just read them, they don't!

What you are doing is to say that someone who has already decided that Christianity teaches equality could interpret these passages in terms of supporting their pre-exiting opinion.

But the interpretative opinion of barely-Christian, secularized and corrupted modern people (such as you and I!) is worth little or nothing compared with the great and Holy minds of the past.

JP said...

"there is a kind of spiritual equality to everyone that does good"

This is obviously untrue or nobody could ever be recognized as a saint (i.e., a person of exceptional virtue). To say that everyone who dies in a state of grace is "spiritually equal" to the saints makes a mockery of the idea of sainthood and of the people who earned such recognition.

It is observably false that any two people are "equally good" in the sense of having equal amounts of faith, hope, charity, prudence, justice, temperance, and fortitude. People differ in their capacity for virtue just as they differ in their capacity for sin.

Christians are urged to strive for perfection. This means doing more than meeting the minimum requirement for salvation. Thus, everyone who does good is not spiritually equal; some meet the minimum requirements, and others do more.