Friday, 6 October 2017

Mismotivated or misguided? - Misdiagnosing Leftists (e.g. Justin Welby)

It is usual among Christians to regard the mass majority of Leftists in modern societies as well-meaning but misguided persons - that is, basically good and decent people who want the best; but who have erred in their belief systems.

I regard this a 180 degree wrong - and that the stark reality is that the mass majority of Western people who support an ideology that is nihilistic, despair inducing, totalitarian, anti-Christian (and, of course, fundamentally anti-Good) are like that because their motivations are wrong and not because their belief-systems are wrong.

Why? Simply because the way that we infer evil motivation is by errors being in one direction only over a repeated series of decisions. And this is what we find.


Take as an example the current Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby; the assumption is typically that he is a well-meaning individual, a real Christian; but a weak and ineffectual man who is a long way out-of-his-depth in the job. In Christian terms, he supposedly want the right things, but lacks the character to stand-up for them in a hostile world.

This benign diagnosis is usually underpinned by the idea that Christians (for some, not Christian, reason) ought to give people 'the benefit of the doubt' - in assuming they are well motivated. This is nonsense! - we ought to discover and believe the truth of the situation, as best we can know it.  

Justin Welby's most obvious sin is that he is dishonest. When he is not actively lying, he is deceptively misleading. But Justin Welby only ever lies in one direction - which is either his own personal expediency or for the promotion of the (anti-Christian, anti-Good) agenda of the Global Leftist Establishment.

(Needless to say, Welby does not repent his wrong doing - but only apologises for what he regards as the evils of other people and past generations.)

In sum Welby - and in this Welby is absolutely typical and representative of almost the entirety of the modern Western leadership class, i.e. those in position-of authority in all the major social institutions) - is evil in his fundamental motivations. His specific (supposed) beliefs are irrelevant; not least because they change as is expedient.


People who are well motivated are not a real problem. Everybody makes mistakes in this world; and the distinction is between those who acknowledge, repent and learn-from their mistakes; and those who double-down on them - and adjust their belief systems to accommodate their sins, so that their sins now become regarded as virtues.

This is seen most clearly in relation to the sexual revolution; where a whole range of sexual sins are now idealised, rewarded, actively-promoted and increasingly enforced; and the inversion of morality is so extreme that genuine sexual virtue is routinely mocked, despised, driven underground, and increasingly persecuted.

So, lets have an end to this nonsense about everybody being well motivated but misguided - if that was the case we would have nothing to worry about!

It is precisely because most people (and almost everybody in power) in the West is indeed wickedly motivated; that we are so deep in spiritual trouble: that we are, in plain fact, The Most Evil society in the known history of the world.


JeejandDinda said...

Lucinda says:

This is exactly what has been on my mind, finding a way to acknowledge the unrepentant sinfulness of even religious leaders without giving the 'benefit of the doubt', thereby essentially affirming what is really profoundly sinful, even more so than simply making mistakes. I have to give up my sense of entitlement to righteous leadership.

Reading Socrates' Apology last night, it really reminded me that just because there are things I don't know, a great many, doesn't mean it's okay to let others claim they know things that they do not. I was very moved by the existence of those who gave Socrates a fair hearing.

But anyway, I find it's an urgent need for me to get myself to live in this truth. Supporting, or even excusing sinfulness is sin. If I am going to be able to really love God, or anybody, I cannot ignore sin/bad motivations, most especially by those who use God's name as an expediency to unwarranted power.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Lucinda - My feeling is that ultimately this kind of thing may be necessary - I mean that we may eventually cease to locate our morality and virtue in passive obedience to institutions or any external source; and (with genuine motivation) develop an active and personal knowledge.

Even before I became a Christian; my adult life has been a sequence of deep disillusions with educational, medical and scientific institutions - always top-down from the leadership, but almost unresisted by the workforce and clients. There was no significant evidence of good motivation, except from a tiny minority.

I believe that the poverty of motivation stems from the materialist-atheist metaphysics of modernity; which is unable to sustain Good motivation in a society so thoroughly permeated with evil.

So, plenty of children are (naturally) Good in many ways, fewer adolescents, and exceedingly few adults - there is a steady, incremental corruption and moral inversion extending even into old age (shocking to behold! - but I have seen it more than once) - because natural goodness has nothing to underpin it, and evil is unrepented hence cumulative.

Okishdu said...

Expediency has become the most frequent substitute for actual virtue in this wicked age. I find it requires more energy as I grow older to avoid falling into the trap of settling for convenient answers and avoid waiting for real inspiration.

Chiu ChunLing said...

I usually posit this as the necessary corollary to the saying "never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." The clear assumption is that some things can't be explained adequately by mere stupidity.

But it is important to keep in mind that ignorance and disillusionment are also on the table. In an institution, the rank and file rarely have much chance of seriously opposing the leadership without being thrown out entirely (which occasionally means being killed). When we look at those who have been cast out because of their opposition to some entrenched error, we are often disappointed to find out that they are not uniformly right in every particular, and even sometimes have been cast out more for opposing what what correct rather than what was erroneous.

I think that we do have to give people the benefit of reasonable doubts. But there are circumstances we must admit give us no reason to doubt.

Bruce Charlton said...

@CCL - Yes, "never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." is indeed another version of the same kind of principle that I reject - it is, indeed, very dangerous indeed to have a cognitive bias to explain-away as ignorant that which is systematically malign.

Where a manipulative psychopath is concerned, we need to understand this motivation; and there are plenty of situations in which institutions behave like manipulative psychopaths - or worse (because not merely selfish, but also serving an agenda of metaphysical evil).

"we do have to give people the benefit of reasonable doubt" - can't be regarded as any kind of principle - merely an expedient i certain situations. It can't be regareded as valid in some prisons, or concentration camps - for instance; and insofar as our society or a given intitution resembles such situations, then it does not apply to them either.

Where there is evidence of systematic malignity, or corruption, or inversion; then this should be the default situation. For example, all systematically advanced policies pushed by the mass media should be regarded as malign in intent (unless tere is strong evidence otherwise) because the institution is malign.

JeejandDinda said...

Lucinda says:

My own disillusionments have mostly been with myself. In social groups, I'm vain and dishonest in my impulsive interactions. The more I've learned about social group power structures, the more I see myself fitting a determined, subservient (to corrupted authority) role in that structure, and it drives me nuts because I know I would rather have a "habit of truth", and to stand up for truth against the odds.

I'm not sure it's possible to become a person with a "habit of truth", because education and training have limits. So my current effort is learning how to live with this probably mortally permanent deficiency. I've found running around in social circles acting like I have a "habit of truth" is more of the same of vanity and dishonesty.

I do think one of the keys for me is to avoid mortal social groupings generally, and seek out those who are honest truth-seekers, also to remind myself of those in the spiritual realm who are also interested in truth and honesty.