Whither Our Duty-Free Morality

 

When the young emperor Caligula had recovered from a seemingly near-death paralyzing illness (status epilepticus ?) he summoned a man who was among those who had publicly offered their own lives to the gods to spare the young (then very popular) emperor.

The fellow assumed he would be honored and rewarded for his gesture.  Instead, Caligula was angry that this fellow had not ended his life.  It was as if he did not really want his emperor to live and even risked divine wrath upon the emperor himself for breaching his bargain with the gods.   An assisted suicide ensued.  And it became clear to all that Caligula was indeed [redacted] crazy.

I was reminded of that story reviewing the collected tweets of Katherine Maher, a cookie-cutter white liberal who decries her own whiteness, cis-privilege, her inherited guilt for sins against minorities, Native Americans, LGBTQ+ folx, and her harm to the planet itself.  It makes one ask why all benefits thus immorally obtained qua white perfidy should not be surrendered.  Having made such confessions, how can one in good conscience keep tenure, a large income, nice digs, and a prestige job?  Isn’t there some moral authority that requires consistency with moral expression?

The beauty of the white liberal moral universe is that there are no gods, an emperor nor any substantive personal moral obligations.  The ultimate authority is the opinion of the people who also recite the narrative.  A semblance of affirmation, salvation, forgiveness, justification, and sanctity are available through mere membership in the collective, membership obtained by mere recitation of the narrative.  There are no moral obligations or duties other than expressing the same set of sensibilities and opinions which only create duties for those outside the elect.  The narrative uses words and phrases that sound vaguely moral but really impose no personal duties or inconveniences as do the tenets of conventional religions that have an actual deity and more substantive behavioral criteria.

One can fly often, drive often, air condition a large personal space, entertain only white friends, contribute not a dime to any charity, vote for zoning laws that keep poor people and windmills out of the neighborhood, build a 401(k) using irredeemably inequitable and corrupt late-stage capitalism and yet still claim to be a morally superior person just by keeping up with the patois of the enlightened and regurgitating the narrative in its most current form.

But the white liberal guilt Kabuki has defining blind spots. Liberalism went to war with the “faith & family” ethos that sustained black Americans under de jure and lingering de facto segregation.  Liberals created anomie within large urban reservations for the new underclass they created.  Liberals pulled up the drawbridge and closed escape routes by gutting public education & standards and crippling law enforcement, all steps intended to enforce dependence and sustain chaos.  Oddly enough, white liberal guilt does not apply to the consequences of specifically white liberal policies and ideological products that have led to disaster because (a) white liberal intentions are always pure and (b) the plight of the black underclass is really the fault of lower-middle-class whites who refuse to shed their whiteness. Even Caligula could see that is completely nuts.

But the preservation of this fictitious cognitive bubble requires vicious, ad hominem, gutfighting attacks on the unenlightened precisely because of the inherent fragility of the narrative.  In this world, the kid who noticed the emperor’s nudity would have been banned from X/Twitter and Facebook, attacked at school and his parents made unemployed.

Something born of narcissism, intellectual laziness, and a puerile non serviam that people used to outgrow in adulthood is now a large-scale utterly ridiculous cult that empties its members and makes an enemy of discourse and truth, science, the lessons of history, and the realities of human nature.  It sometimes feels like America is a coach hitched to a vast team of lemmings running in lockstep, inexorably headed for the cliff.

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  1. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    Old Bathos: But the white liberal guilt Kabuki has defining blind spots. Liberalism went to war with the “faith & family” ethos that sustained black Americans under de jure and lingering de facto segregation.  Liberals created anomie within large urban reservations for the new underclass they created.  Liberals pulled up the drawbridge and closed escape routes by gutting public education & standards and crippling law enforcement, all steps intended to enforce dependence and sustain chaos.  Oddly enough, white liberal guilt does not apply to the consequences of specifically white liberal policies and ideological products that have led to disaster because (a) white liberal intentions are always pure and (b) the plight of the black underclass is really the fault of lower-middle-class whites who refuse to shed their whiteness. Even Caligula could see that is completely nuts.

    And thus white liberals never reconsider their disastrous policies. While demonizing and silencing those who do notice what’s wrong.

    • #1
  2. Susan Quinn Member
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Great post! There is indeed a liturgy which a person can spew that allows him or her membership in the Klan. No other sacrifices required.

    • #2
  3. Ed G. Member
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    So what are we gonna do about it. Fret that Trump is too divisive, probably. Give the leftist’s their agenda without much or anything in return., probably. Fail to use our authority to execute our agenda, probably. Surrender in the name of tolerance and not getting blamed, probably.

    • #3
  4. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    Holy Toledo what a great post.

    This makes me not just happy to pay my Ricochet membership, but it makes me think I should be paying Old Bathos’ membership as well.

    Just awesome.

    • #4
  5. Old Bathos Member
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Holy Toledo what a great post.

    This makes me not just happy to pay my Ricochet membership, but it makes me think I should be paying Old Bathos’ membership as well.

    Just awesome.

    Ah Shucks, thanks.

    • #5
  6. Addiction Is A Choice Member
    Addiction Is A Choice
    @AddictionIsAChoice

    Old Bathos: There are no moral obligations or duties other than expressing the same set of sensibilities and opinions which only create duties for those outside the elect.

    It is why they are unfazed by accusations of plagiarism; it is all but required.

    • #6
  7. Old Bathos Member
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    Addiction Is A Choice (View Comment):

    Old Bathos: There are no moral obligations or duties other than expressing the same set of sensibilities and opinions which only create duties for those outside the elect.

    It is why they are unfazed by accusations of plagiarism; it is all but required.

    It is plagiarism if a white male does it.  Otherwise, it is citation justice.

    • #7
  8. Jimmy Carter Member
    Jimmy Carter
    @JimmyCarter

    Absolutely brilliant.

     

    Read it twice.

    Will read it again.

    • #8
  9. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    Addiction Is A Choice (View Comment):

    Old Bathos: There are no moral obligations or duties other than expressing the same set of sensibilities and opinions which only create duties for those outside the elect.

    It is why they are unfazed by accusations of plagiarism; it is all but required.

    Right.

    If everyone is forced to think the same thing, than what exactly is plagiarism?

    • #9
  10. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Addiction Is A Choice (View Comment):

    Old Bathos: There are no moral obligations or duties other than expressing the same set of sensibilities and opinions which only create duties for those outside the elect.

    It is why they are unfazed by accusations of plagiarism; it is all but required.

    Right.

    If everyone is forced to think the same thing, than what exactly is plagiarism?

    Exactly. There are only so many ways to say the same thing. 

    They are working from a bible they have written for themselves. 

    • #10
  11. Old Bathos Member
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Addiction Is A Choice (View Comment):

    Old Bathos: There are no moral obligations or duties other than expressing the same set of sensibilities and opinions which only create duties for those outside the elect.

    It is why they are unfazed by accusations of plagiarism; it is all but required.

    Right.

    If everyone is forced to think the same thing, than what exactly is plagiarism?

    You have to keep up the pretense of actual scholarship.  So while a BS study that is just a wordy opinion piece intended to recast something as being consistent with the narrative with even less of a claim of originality than a joke passed on by your bartender, putting it in a footnote and not lifting it in large part while saying the same thing offers the illusion of scholarship.

    • #11
  12. Jimmy Carter Member
    Jimmy Carter
    @JimmyCarter

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Addiction Is A Choice (View Comment):

    Old Bathos: There are no moral obligations or duties other than expressing the same set of sensibilities and opinions which only create duties for those outside the elect.

    It is why they are unfazed by accusations of plagiarism; it is all but required.

    Right.

    If everyone is forced to think the same thing, than what exactly is plagiarism?

    You have to keep up the pretense of actual scholarship. So while a BS study that is just a wordy opinion piece intended to recast something as being consistent with the narrative with even less of a claim of originality than a joke passed on by your bartender, putting it in a footnote and not lifting it in large part while saying the same thing offers the illusion of scholarship.

    What He said.

    • #12
  13. Globalitarian Misanthropist Coolidge
    Globalitarian Misanthropist
    @Flicker

    Very well put; that white liberal guilt for past injustices is used as a club to beat people into compliance in thought and action, but white liberal guilt doesn’t apply to that disaster that white liberals’ policies are currently causing.

    To quote a black Trump supporter: Don’t look back; you’ll trip.

    • #13
  14. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Old Bathos: The beauty of the white liberal moral universe is that there are no gods, an emperor nor any substantive personal moral obligations.  The ultimate authority is the opinion of the people who also recite the narrative.  A semblance of affirmation, salvation, forgiveness, justification, and sanctity are available through mere membership in the collective, membership obtained by mere recitation of the narrative.  There are no moral obligations or duties other than expressing the same set of sensibilities and opinions which only create duties for those outside the elect.  The narrative uses words and phrases that sound vaguely moral but really impose no personal duties or inconveniences as do the tenets of conventional religions that have an actual deity and more substantive behavioral criteria.

    The virtue, once signaled, is unassailable. Inviolate. They are better than all those who fail to do likewise, and can bask in the warm glow of their superiority. Until the winds of woke change. Then they need to clamber aboard the bandwagon du jour, or be left in the dust with the rest of the contemptibles.

    • #14
  15. Ed G. Member
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    Percival (View Comment):

    Old Bathos: The beauty of the white liberal moral universe is that there are no gods, an emperor nor any substantive personal moral obligations. The ultimate authority is the opinion of the people who also recite the narrative. A semblance of affirmation, salvation, forgiveness, justification, and sanctity are available through mere membership in the collective, membership obtained by mere recitation of the narrative. There are no moral obligations or duties other than expressing the same set of sensibilities and opinions which only create duties for those outside the elect. The narrative uses words and phrases that sound vaguely moral but really impose no personal duties or inconveniences as do the tenets of conventional religions that have an actual deity and more substantive behavioral criteria.

    The virtue, once signaled, is unassailable. Inviolate. They are better than all those who fail to do likewise, and can bask in the warm glow of their superiority. Until the winds of woke change. Then they need to clamber aboard the bandwagon du jour, or be left in the dust with the rest of the contemptibles.

    Unfortunately people who think like this don’t just live on the left. Anyone who conceives of themselves as in the moderate middle, independent, not one of those people – obviously virtuous, pragmatic, in the right. These people are all over.

    Me? I follow the Dennis Prager way, I’m out for understanding if we can’t find agreement.

    • #15
  16. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    Old Bathos: There are no moral obligations or duties other than expressing the same set of sensibilities and opinions which only create duties for those outside the elect.

    This. A thousand times this. “Woke” morality makes no demands upon wokesters, only upon the objects of their disapproval. This is very convenient for narcissists and psychopaths. This is also key to why the left is so hostile to genuine Christianity and Judaism, which make serious demands for self-reflection and self-control: Much more fun to give oneself license while telling others what to do.

    • #16
  17. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Paul Stinchfield (View Comment):

    Old Bathos: There are no moral obligations or duties other than expressing the same set of sensibilities and opinions which only create duties for those outside the elect.

    This. A thousand times this. “Woke” morality makes no demands upon wokesters, only upon the objects of their disapproval. This is very convenient for narcissists and psychopaths. This is also key to why the left is so hostile to genuine Christianity and Judaism, which make serious demands for self-reflection and self-control: Much more fun to give oneself license while telling others what to do.

    An Asian guy I know of converted to Christianity because he noticed that the Christians in Hong Kong,  Japan and particularly in Guangzhou where kind and charitable to poor people. 

    In Guangzhou, the Christians were very poor (by Hong Kong and Japan standards)  but they sacrificed the most to help poor people in their community. Don’t know what that means exactly but I find it interesting.

    • #17
  18. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Paul Stinchfield (View Comment):

    Old Bathos: There are no moral obligations or duties other than expressing the same set of sensibilities and opinions which only create duties for those outside the elect.

    This. A thousand times this. “Woke” morality makes no demands upon wokesters, only upon the objects of their disapproval. This is very convenient for narcissists and psychopaths. This is also key to why the left is so hostile to genuine Christianity and Judaism, which make serious demands for self-reflection and self-control: Much more fun to give oneself license while telling others what to do.

    An Asian guy I know of converted to Christianity because he noticed that the Christians in Hong Kong, Japan and particularly in Guangzhou where kind and charitable to poor people.

    In Guangzhou, the Christians were very poor (by Hong Kong and Japan standards) but they sacrificed the most to help poor people in their community. Don’t know what that means exactly but I find it interesting.

    And the old pagan religions were generally contemptuous of the poor and the weak.

    • #18
  19. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    It is plagiarism if a white male does it. Otherwise, it is citation justice.

    That is good, very good.  With your permissionm, it is going in my list of quotes.  How do you want to be cited? 

    • #19
  20. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Paul Stinchfield (View Comment):

    Old Bathos: There are no moral obligations or duties other than expressing the same set of sensibilities and opinions which only create duties for those outside the elect.

    This. A thousand times this. “Woke” morality makes no demands upon wokesters, only upon the objects of their disapproval. This is very convenient for narcissists and psychopaths. This is also key to why the left is so hostile to genuine Christianity and Judaism, which make serious demands for self-reflection and self-control: Much more fun to give oneself license while telling others what to do.

    An Asian guy I know of converted to Christianity because he noticed that the Christians in Hong Kong, Japan and particularly in Guangzhou where kind and charitable to poor people.

    In Guangzhou, the Christians were very poor (by Hong Kong and Japan standards) but they sacrificed the most to help poor people in their community. Don’t know what that means exactly but I find it interesting.

    That was certainly true in the first century.  

    • #20
  21. Old Bathos Member
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    DaveSchmidt (View Comment):

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    It is plagiarism if a white male does it. Otherwise, it is citation justice.

    That is good, very good. With your permissionm, it is going in my list of quotes. How do you want to be cited?

    Ironically, I plagiarized that. I saw it somewhere else on Twitter.  Can’t remember.  It was a meme using Harvard Pres Gay’s picture.

    • #21
  22. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    DaveSchmidt (View Comment):

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    It is plagiarism if a white male does it. Otherwise, it is citation justice.

    That is good, very good. With your permissionm, it is going in my list of quotes. How do you want to be cited?

    Ironically, I plagiarized that. I saw it somewhere else on Twitter. Can’t remember. It was a meme using Harvard Pres Gay’s picture.

    Thanks for the lead.  

    • #22
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