What’s Wrong With The World Part XX—More Confusion—Seven Deadly Sins

Seven Deadly Sins

And what happens when each passion is left to advocate its own justification?

Lust is sanctified and disguised as a rebellion against a mean-spirited and antiquated if not pernicious monogamy. I direct your attention to the list I mentioned above of the intellectuals who kept mistresses. Unnatural lust is sanctified as a Civil Right. Sexual excesses and sexual deviation is the new Black, and laws and customs which coerce conformity to chastity are the new Jim Crow, which the zealots of progress seek to abolish.

Envy is sanctified and disguised as concern for the children, or compassion for the poor, or for the conservation of the environment. The desire to punish the allegedly rich doctor and allegedly rich medical insurers for the sin of being rich is never far from the minds of the so-called reformers seeking to destroy the American Health Care industry.

Avarice for public money is sanctified as an appeal to fairness: each constituency demands, rather than asks, for largess from the public coffers as a matter of right. The absurdity of demanding rights in a world which, according to the intellectuals, contains neither right nor wrong, neither rights nor duties, needs no emphasis.

Wrath is sanctified and disguised as self-righteousness, that pompous and overbearing habit of the modern mind to substitute either loud screaming or a whispered set of sneering discourtesies for reasoned discourse. It is the prime and default condition of modern philosophy, particularly on the Left. Note the difference between the anger, the gushing anger, of a crooked figure like Nietzsche or Marx compared to the solemnity of Aristotle or the humility of Socrates, who did not even curse the city that poisoned him.

Gluttony is upheld by modern men both of the leftwing and the rightwing as the proper attitude toward accumulated worldly goods. The one exception is that socialists from time to time trot out a condemnation of gluttony in order to dispraise Capitalism; but since the doctrinaire socialist goes on to claim that socialism is more efficient and will more abundantly create and more widely distribute more and finer worldly  goods, the hypocrisy of the claim is pellucid. (Ironically, with the abundant death, poverty and general misery created by socialist schemes, one hears that claim of the superior economic efficiently of socialism more and more rarely unfurled these days—but since socialist claims are still being made, even the pretense that socialism is a theory of economics rather than a cultic belief in an atheist form of Calvinism is incrementally being dropped.) Nonetheless, the Left have more cause to boast than the Right on this one point: environmentalism, health concerns, the romance of living simply and closer to nature and vaguer spiritual concerns are often uttered by the Left as chides against gluttony. In the same way Wrath is the leitmotif of the Left, Gluttony is the leitmotif of the Right.

Sloth is sanctified and disguised as self-discovery and spontaneity. Just do it. The Moderns excuse and even condone when mothers walk away from husband and children to seek their own personal form of happiness and satisfaction. The routine drudgery of office and field work likewise is despised by modern males, to whom only recreation and preferably drunken recreation offers reward. The Puritan idea of sanctification through hard work is antithetical to the modern apotheosis of the passions. Hard work is inauthentic.

Pride is sanctified as self-esteem, which I discussed above. The absurdity of raising children to play games where there can be no winners and no losers, or the folly of lowering standards to admit women in the military or on to squads of firefighters when such women have not demonstrated the physical capacity to perform the task, or again the folly of replacing a system that rewards race or minority status rather than rewarding merit and hard work, all are manifestations of the passions of self-aggrandizement called pride. We are not talking about pride of workmanship nor pride of accomplishment: we are talking about that passion, never far from the surface of the human mind, to claim the rewards due another on the grounds of self-love, to exclude all others from praise and consideration, to absorb the attention and glory and direct it toward one’s own vanity.

And, of course, the same process works in reverse. The Modern mind not only sanctifies the profane, it profanes the sacred.

Humility, the adverse of Pride, is condemned as a psychologically unhealthy and unsightly lack of self-esteem. Moderns are supposed to give each man to himself that same adoration ancient pagans paid to demigods—but of course, freed from the tyranny of cause and effect, the Modern is supposed to praise himself as brave as Achilles, devout as Aeneas, and cunning as Odysseus, but without actually going to the trouble of being brave, devout or cunning.

Zeal, the adverse of sloth, is condemned as being the ghastly mental disease a workaholic, if not a fanatic. (Albeit, only Christian fanaticism is condemned. To condemn Islamic fanaticism is racist bigotry.)

Temperance, the adverse of gluttony, is condemned as being both joyless and a killjoy. What are you, a Puritan?

Patience, the adverse of wrath, is condemned as indifference to whatever imaginary complaint provokes the self-righteousness or panic of the panicky self-righteous. It is treason to defend the witch from the witch-hunter.

(I recall recently being called a “racist” on the grounds that I objected to calling researchers racists during discussions about unpleasant or politically incorrect empirical facts, rather than, say, questioning the facts. Hearing the case laid out by a rational if mistaken opponent on a scientific question is now one and the same as race-hatred. My accuser was careful to qualify his statement by saying that I was unaware or unwilling to admit my race hatred. Of course, my real thoughtcrime was being willing to be patient and non-wrathful with Goldstein during the Two Minute Hate.)

Generosity, the adverse of Avarice, and Love, the adverse of Envy, and Self-control, the adverse of Lust, are likewise dismissed as either treason to the cause, or mere imprudence, or psychological defects of repression, or sinister desires to control and punish and harm others.

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The age is an age of confusion.

The loss of the center, soul and sanity of whole culture entails a complete repudiation and reversal of virtue and vice: the moral compass of the modern age points South rather than North, so that the greater a man’s desire for goodness and righteousness, the more swiftly will he be driven into vice and the more firmly planted in it.