Locked from the inside

flame-3348379

Years ago, Kate Paulk and I fell into watching a Greek Orthodox monk on youtube, because he did the most fascinating lectures on theology, on psychology (I believe he had been a psychologist in secular life, before professing) and on living a rewarding/fulfilled life.

I don’t remember the details anymore, though I did buy his book, which is — waves hand vaguely — somewhere in the library of Babylon downstairs.

But one thing stuck with me through the years, partly because it was so different from what I was raised believing: The doors of hell are locked from the inside.

I remember his image of G-d as a spurned lover who yet doesn’t give up, and keeps knocking at the door, and the fact that the damned, the truly damned can’t endure the light, and therefore lock themselves in.  For eternity.

It stuck with me because it’s a far cry from the Hieronymous Bosch kind of horror I grew up with.  And it’s both a repugnant idea (really, would you want Hitler to have a moment of clarity in all eternity, open the door, and let G-d in?  Stalin?  Mao? I know the author of the book that went something like “you’ll meet Hitler in heaven” made me recoil so hard I almost went backwards through a wall. Yes, I know, it could be said if they did that their worst punishment would be realizing what they did, and that afterwards they would be different creatures.  But the human mind recoils at it) and yet, there is something to it.

Here is where we depart from religion, because I’m neither going to make this blog a religious one, nor am I Greek Orthodox.

But there is something to the idea that the worst hell is one in which the person locks themselves in, from the inside.  One in which they can’t admit what they’ve done, and therefore must remain locked in the hell forever, because to admit they were wrong and did wrong things would be to cease being.  Their instinct of self-preservation keeps them mired in evil and unhappiness, rather than being able to open the door and set themselves free.

We’ve seen this with communism when it fell.  For a while communists (the open ones in Europe and the closed ones here) walked around as Umberto Ecco put it “like defrocked priests.”

And then suddenly, out of nowhere and with the same fervor with which they pushed communism, there was Politically Correct language, and environmentalism, and eventually the crazy social justice of dividing people in oppressors and oppressed according to external characteristics that sure, influence our lives, but are a factor among many, now that legally you can’t discriminate against color or place of origin.

Of course now, all that, that half baked stew of poisonous ideas that rape the language and meaning, mistake government ownership of land, and industry crippling regulations for stewardship, and have managed to turn men against women and women against men, is circling back around to communism.

It’s not a very coherent longing, and mostly it infects kids who have never learned true history, because their aging leftist teachers and professors had decided that it was capitalism which created all the ills in the world.

Some of these kids honestly think that “true communism” has never been tried (true, to the extent humans are not a communal species) and this time we’ll do it right (impossible. Still the wrong species.)

The older leftists, who long for socialism/communism and a pony “just like France has”… er, I mean single payer healthcare, do it partly because this justifies all their previous years of activism.  If they don’t admit they were EVER wrong, then they can continue thinking well of themselves.  And if they sell us on socialized everything, they can have everything for free in their old age.  (Most of them not only failed to have children, they failed to establish meaningful relationships that would help them.)

Sure, at some level they have to know history — they lived through it — and the cognitive dissonance must be amazing, but they just refuse to let themselves think of it, and that’s that.  It’s the same way westerners remained communists after the Stalin purges.

And that’s not taking in account how many converted after, because, you know, they wanted the tiger to eat them last. Something, also they can never admit to themselves, because that would mean breaking in two and admitting the miserable little piss-cowards they are.

The old USSR and its agit prop was very successful in penetrating the intellectual classes.  I understand so were Nazis before WWII.

That’s because, you know, intellectuals KNOW themselves to be brighter than the rest of the public (and are quite unable to believe a lot of manual professions require a form of “intelligence” [and dexterity] they lack) and are rarely compensated accordingly.  So at their heart they’re sure the world is an unfair place that denies them the prominence they should have.

This makes them easy prey to theories that have no contact with the real world, but which form a complete whole internally.  Like Communism.  Or National socialism.

So the intellectual classes having been conquered, leftism became equivalent to “smart.” In fact, this was so imprinted in the culture, that the third generation Marxists, chosen not for their intelligence or competence, but for their politics, and so daft that they can’t pour piss out of a boot with the instructions printed on the heel (one wonders how much of the stupidity is learned.  All that was required of them, ever, was mouthing the right platitudes.  Nothing that passed for rational thought) start screeching “stupid and uneducated” at anyone they disagree with, no matter how strange and unlikely that accusation is.

But the fact that equivalency is established means that for any of our bien pensants to admit they were wrong about Marxist societies would be the same as giving up their intellectual pretensions and admit they’re not particularly bright or innovative, and in fact, not better than those people they’ve been taught to despise.

So, they don’t.  They won’t.  They can’t.

And since Marxism is a sour religion, of envy and malice; of bringing down the other in an effort to elevate themselves, not admitting they are wrong requires them to hate all of the past, the country they live in, all of western civilization, all of the bourgeois virtues, all order, all happy people, all productive people and ultimately themselves.

They believe the Earth is irretrievably damaged, they believe the end is coming soon, they believe most members of their species need to die, they believe their own species — and therefore themselves — are a blight on the universe.  They believe humans are guilty for everything wrong ever, and that it would be better if none of us had ever existed.

Their misery and hatred pours out of themselves and destroys everything they touch and every field they have taken over.  There is no escape from the poisonous ideology that animates them, without changing so much they might as well be dead.  They can’t comprehend why the rest of the human race insists on being happy and productive, and so they hate them a bit more.

And everything is horrible, all the time.  Even their virtue signaling is a faint (if continuous) signal that barely drowns out the inner voice that tells them something is very wrong and there are cracks in their philosophy you could drive a mac truck through.  They mind-kill themselves rather than think wrong thoughts.  They hate everyone and themselves most of all. There is no escape.

It’s a small price to pay for not admitting they’re humans, like all others, and as capable of error, isn’t it?

The doors of hell are locked from the inside.

 

 

 

 

215 responses to “Locked from the inside

  1. In C S Lewis’s ‘The Great Divorce’, residents of Purgatory take a bus trip to Heaven to decide whether or not they want to stay there (in heaven)

    Most do not.

    • One of the enduring images Lewis uses in The Last Battle is of the dwarves inside the gates of Heaven, refusing to be taken in.

      • Mike Houst

        And they’re still there to this day, unless they’ve changed and Seen.

      • I was thinking of The Last Battle as well. What struck me more was how they could not even see what was right in their faces, and even tasting wonderful food was twisted in their minds. Wonderful writing.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      I really “liked” the person who was in Hell (IIRC it wasn’t Purgatory) and was extremely annoyed that a person she? knew on Earth was in Heaven.

      Apparently, the person in Heaven hasn’t that good of person on Earth and only became a Christian on his death-bed.

      The person in Hell didn’t think the person person should have gotten into Heaven so easily.

      Of course, “reading between the lines” it was obvious why the person was in Hell. 😉

      • IIRC, someone said something to the effect that it was Hell for those who went back, but those who chose to remain in Heaven could look back at it as Purgatory.

        Of the damned who rode the bus, I recall:
        -A foreman who was enraged by the fact that one of his employees, a drunkard and a murderer, had repented and made it into heaven.
        -A gold-digger who’d drained her husband dry and then had affairs with younger men, and who self-destructed while demanding that Heaven produce him so that she could keep on ‘paying him out’.
        -A pervert who hated his depraved carnal impulses so much that he let an angel kill that side of him.
        -A hustler who tried to take an apple from Heaven to have something real to kickstart commerce in Hell.
        -An angry old woman who couldn’t stop grumbling about everything.
        -A cleric who got promoted to high ecclesiastic office by publishing an atheist manifesto and who refused to believe that he’d been in Hell and was now visiting Heaven.
        -A cynical codger who wondered what it would be like when it started raining and the drops of water tore through all the shades visiting Heaven.
        -Someone who was too embarrassed by being a mere shade in Heaven to want to stay and be seen by all the Real People.
        -A tart who tried to flirt with the Real People and angels (described by Lewis as being as distasteful as a decayed corpse rising from the tomb and trying to flirt with one of the living).
        -A man who made himself miserable to blackmail everyone around him in life. His wife, who came to meet him, had been refined by the experience of caring for him into becoming a capital-S Saint, with enough grace in her little finger to fill all the universe with life and joy. (And he was so offended by the fact that his misery was a drop in the ocean compared to the joy of Heaven that he self-destructed over it.)
        -A painter who wanted to paint the Mountain after just a few minutes of looking at it, despite the futility of trying to express any truth of Heaven without first becoming part of it.

        • foxfirefancies

          I have a vicious temper when it finally fires off. The pervert, his lizard, and what became of it have contributed a *lot* to my self-control over the years.

    • Terry Sanders

      Niven and Pournelle lifted that idea for INFERNO. In the Forward to the sequel, they mentioned that recent theological developments, much to their surprise, suggested it might be a valid interpretation.

      (In the sequel, Hell is trying to adjust to post-Vatican II damnation. 🙂 )

    • Actually, I thought it was Hell, not Purgatory, but the point remains. I found it very interesting that the only one Lewis had overcome her pride and thus to pass into Heaven was the adulterer.

      • Terry Sanders

        “altimatewriting” above got that. If you went back, then it was Hell and always had been. If you stayed, then it was Purgatory, or the beginning of it.

        As tio penitents, remember the guy with the lizard.

      • I believe David Gilmour and Roger Waters made a pertinent comment on this matter:

        “So, so you think you can tell
        Heaven from hell”

    • I believe there is a play based on this, but it’s short, only about 20 minutes in length. Wish I could remember more about it, though.

      • Terry Sanders

        A bit longer than that. I saw it a year or two ago. Kind of oh-so-modern, with no set and odd chanting narrative, etc. But I guess that’s the only way to do something like THE GREAT DIVORCE on stage, on a budget, with a small cast (two men and a woman). And it did work–surprisingly well.

        The same outfit did an adaptation of THE SCEWTAPE LETTERS. (Both with the estate’s permission, of course.) I’d love to see that one.

    • I won’t go into the details of Latter-day doctrine, except to say that it’s unclear whether our assignments after judgment are final or not. I remember advice being given to the effect that it’s best to assume it’s final, so that you don’t cheat yourself of the best award possible after this life.

      I have convinced myself, though, that a just G-d wouldn’t make his judgments final — if you’re willing to repent, you would still have the opportunity to advance above that which you have achieved. However, I am also convinced that there’s going to be a lot of people for which the process will be very slow indeed, and many who will be content to stay where they are.

      It is also a Latter-day doctrine that whatever the judgments are, they are more of a mercy than a punishment — for if you have knowingly abused G-d’s laws, and refused to repent, you will be far more miserable to live in his presence, than to live in whatever judgment you have received.

      While I would be surprised if Hitler, Mao, Che, et al, somehow made it into heaven, I wouldn’t reject heaven as a result — G-d has provided the means for *all* of us to repent, so it should be possible for even the worst of us to repent. Having said that, I would also be *very* surprised if even one of these men made it into heaven!

  2. It’s been a half century or more since I delved deeply into such topics, but wasn’t sorting and shelving the Library of Babylon one of the twelve labors of Heracles?

    • No. But it should be. We need more shelves.

      • Christopher M. Chupik

        Same here. It’s an all-too common problem among bibliophiles.

        • In our house we have 3 separate and distinct ‘libraries’, and are working on a fourth.

          • *looks mournfully at the shelves*

            I consider it a great success that we MOSTLY have the books that are for the kids, or they might be interested in, mostly in the same place…and the books we don’t want torn up are mostly out of reach.

      • Mike Houst

        Boards and cement blocks work well in a pinch. Do need leak proof roof and walls, and be above the water table; especially during floods. Oh, and light too. Most of us don’t know Braille.

        • Did the cinder block and plank furniture for a while. I acquired the cinder blocks free from a grad student who had finally finished and moved on. Nearly killed my car. In any college town you can also find free furniture on the curb for the taking certain times of year. Did that, too.

          You want to be more careful nowadays though about used furniture of unknown provenance, as bedbugs have become a thing again.

          • Since it’s almost summer, there is a method for this– all stages die at 122* or higher, and you can get that by wrapping it in black plastic and setting it out in the sun

            Having a large sheet of black plastic to wrap it in as you load it might be wise.

            • Ooh, thanks for posting that.

              There was one awful time we had to do something like that for everything we owned that couldn’t be run through the clothes dryer – and everything that could go through the dryer, did. I don’t miss apartment living, especially when you live next to people who consider killing bedbugs to be against their religion. *shudder* Don’t miss those people, or that apartment.

              Sometimes we still run new purchases through the clothes dryer (clothes, plush toys, etc) before ‘bringing them into the house’.

      • I don’t more shelves. I need less people demanding open spaces instead of just paths among the stacks.

      • I need more shelves that are actually designed to bear the weight of books.

        • steve poling

          i cure this with small 1×4″ blocks sawn at exactly the height of the shelves (sans sag). Whenever I detect a shelf isn’t strong enough I place these blocks between the shelf and the one(s) beneath. Reducing span from 4 feet to two generally suffices.

    • I trust all here are familiar with Jorge Luis Borges, and his Library of Babel? Or at least Sir PterryPratchett, and the concept of L-Space?

      • I’m familiar with L-Space. In Real Analysis, there’s a certain concept of L^P spaces as well, and I have imagined a connection between the two concepts…

  3. Margaret Ball

    Darn it, David, you beat me to it again!

    Didn’t Lewis also, somewhere, define Hell as the inability to tolerate being in the presence of God?

    • Mike Houst

      I guess it depends on which story. If you can’t even SEE God, then tolerance of Presence is moot.

    • Interesting theological note– there are a lot of quite stern injunctions against describing Purgatory and Hell in too exact of terms, because we really don’t know. You can do it poetically, but you’ve got to be careful not to go too far into the this is what it is zone. The description we’ve got from the Bible for purgatory is fire and crucible based, and quite poetic at that. (If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames. Go figure, poetry for stuff that you can’t really describe-describe in vanilla human words.)

    • Not sure if Lewis particularly touches on that, but it’s a standard bit of Christian theology. Sin cannot remain in the unveiled presence of the Holy God.

    • steve poling

      The hell of it is that the reprobate bears the image of G-d. Thus if s/he makes his/her bed in Hell, deity is in that sense with him/her. Eternal separation from G-d is in this sense separation from oneself.

  4. “They believe the Earth is irretrievably damaged, they believe the end is coming soon, they believe most members of their species need to die, they believe their own species — and therefore themselves — are a blight on the universe. They believe humans are guilty for everything wrong ever, and that it would be better if none of us had ever existed.”

    The obvious retort is, “Great, you go first. Lead by example!”

    • Note, that (Spoiler)

      this take is now the motivation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s motivation for Thanos in the current movie to rid the universe of half of all life – even though the powers of the 6 stones could easily fix everything that was wrong so far (the future, on the other hand, would still be unwritten).

      I wonder how many of those types realize that the change is actually showing how they are the ones in the wrong, by demanding a “greater good” that is evil beyond the pale.

      • I thought it was quite fascinating that the greatest villain of the MCU is a radical environmentalist. I didn’t expect such a thing to come out of Hollywood. Admittedly some earlier Marvel films (Winter Soldier and Civil War come to mind) have also been subversive in a comparable way. But I wonder how many of the people making the film have realized what it’s suggesting. . . .

        • I couldn’t help thinking that he *really* didn’t understand how most species adapt to reduced resources (via fertility drops).

        • Mike Houst

          Oh, it’s not Hollywood. That was Thanos’ methodology in the comics as well when that story arc came out.

          • Methodology yes. But motive was way weirder.

            • Um, guys? Dude is named Thanos. Even for comics* that is remarkably lacking in subtlety.

              All stated motivations are camouflage for the real reasons. Even Freud grokked that.

              *Okay, in an industry which has given us Dr. Doom, Darkseid, the Brotherhood of Dada, the Frightful Four, the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and G-d** alone knows how many others, “Thanos” just might possibly be considered subtle.

              **G-d and about forty-thousand nerds

              • All stated motivations are camouflage for the real reasons.

                I wonder what your motive is for saying that. 0:)

            • Patrick Chester

              In the comics, didn’t Thanos have a massive crush on Death (the humanoid personification of such, at least) and Death gave Thanos the task of killing half the Universe as one of those “impossible tasks” people give bad suitors to get them to go away?

              (Oddly enough both the Marvel and the DC comic universes depict Death as a pale brunette woman, though DC’s version was gothier.)

        • Christopher M. Chupik

          I imagine we’ll see plenty of tortured reasoning in the days to come as they try desperately to argue that Thanos is totes right-wing.

        • Patrick Chester

          Saw Black Panther today. The main villain was… a “woke” guy who wanted to use Wakandan tech to conquer the world and “protect” African-people, oh and make the “colonialists” pay for every bad thing they did.

          • Patrick Chester

            …aaaaaaaaaaand saw Infinity War. Yeah, he’s definitely a villain and I soooo want his ass kicked in the next film.

      • In the comics, Thanos is in love with the incarnation of Death. She (Death is often, but not always, depicted as a woman wearing a long hooded robe when it has a gender in the Marvel comic books) believes that there’s an imbalance in favor of life in the universe, and Thanos is trying to win her favor by wiping out half of all the living beings. For obvious reasons, Thanos’s relationship with Death would have been a bit difficult to bring over to the MCU. So they brought over his goal, but had to slightly modify his motivation.

        Fun Fact – In the comics, Thanos has a rival for Death’s affection by the name of Wade Wilson, aka Deadpool.

        • I have seen some speculation that his inamorata in the MCU has already been introduced and she is played by Cate Blanchett.

          Of course, Death takes many guises.

          I think we can be confident they won’t be drawing upon Discworld for one of them.

        • snelson134

          ” For obvious reasons, Thanos’s relationship with Death would have been a bit difficult to bring over to the MCU. ”

          Maybe not; Hela as shown in Thor: Ragnarok would probably do as a stand in.

        • Patrick Chester

          …and there’s some dreaded licensing issues that keeps Deadpool out of the MCU, though I suspect that really wouldn’t stop Deadpool if he put his mind into jumping in there.

    • And when they ‘realize’ all that, this is what it does to them:

      http://www.ebaumsworld.com/pictures/37-women-before-and-after-third-wave-feminism/85648010/

  5. As you suggest, if a Hitler or a Stalin could ever realize the enormity of what they had done and really repent, it would shatter them.

    If you meet Hitler in Heaven, either you will not recgnize him because what made him Hitler has been ground to powder or by some concatenation of consipiracy he is not actually guilty of what is laid at his door.

    Personally, I cannot imagine the latter.

    *break*

    I think one of the more important philosophers of the late 20th Century was our late lamented Sir Terry Pratchett. And that one of the most important books written was his HOGFATHER. We do need to practice believing in higher power, and Justice, and so forth. And the Left doesn’t. Oh, they claim they do, but what they actually believe in is ‘those peasants should do as we tell them, because we are their betters’.

    • The progressives DO believe in a higher power. Just not higher than themselves.

    • And what if Hitler was certifiably crazy, and his bad deeds mostly due to something like, I don’t know, brain tumor which affected his reasoning and grasp of reality?

      Not suggesting it might have been, that is just an interesting question in general. People who have sick minds – that kind of sickness they have not caused by any willful action but which has just happened to them, maybe bad genes, maybe something in their environment at some point, maybe a disease or accident which destroyed something in their brains – can do horrible things without really understanding what they are doing. Is it then a sin or not?

      • And psychopaths and such, people born without the ability to really relate to others as their callousness is due to physical abnormalities in their brains? Should they go to hell when they really can’t fully understand the significance of what they may do to others during their lives? Especially when it is not as extreme as killing others, but something like emotional abuse which they will probably do at least to some extent without even realizing they are doing it.

      • In Catholic theology, sin is understanding + action. (And you can’t get out of sin through redeemable ignorance—not enlightening someone can be sinful as well.) God knows the full depth of the human experience, so God would know how to calibrate for things like insanity (or depression; I’m on the side that suicide is not an automatic trip to Hell, because in some cases it’s like the disease wins out. But in an age before psychoanalysis and anti-depressives, “suicide sends you to Hell” is a pretty decent bandage to give the borderline types a reason to stay.)

        • not enlightening someone can be sinful as well

          My favorite spiritual act of mercy!

          ****

          I figure suicide sending you to hell is just like killing anybody else sends you to hell; there’s a lot more to it, but when you’re in the middle of a really tough situation, go with the simple and direct.

          • When I was in college, we did Dante’s Divine Comedy in English. One of the things the professor pointed out was that thieves were in a far lower circle of Hell than many other criminals, including murderers—and the theological reason for that is each and every Commandment is, at its root, the taking of something that is not yours to take. Worshiping other gods? Taking God’s rightful due. Coveting? Taking mental ownership of another’s property.

            That idea makes murder (or self-murder) the taking of a life that is not yours to take, but God’s. The reasoning I have about suicides not necessarily ending up in Hell is “God alone knows all” and knows how much the person was not in their right mind—or more specifically worded, how much control they had over their action.

        • It’s given me a reason to stay more times than I care to mention.

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            Same here.

          • It does come out in the NDEs I have read often enough too, that suicide is one of the worst mistakes you can do (there may be some exceptions, like maybe somebody who kills himself rather than get caught with important information during a war so that the enemy can not torture it out of him). So even if it will not send you to hell it’s definitely wrong, and something that will not let you get away from whatever the problem which drove you to it in the first place was. Also in reincarnation – you can’t run from the problems, one way or another you have to deal with them and then, and only then, you can get away from them.

            Frankly some of the reincarnation ideas seem worst in some way. That until you learn how to deal with it it will be something you have to encounter in a lifetime after lifetime, the same damn thing in every life you are born to, until you become tough enough to live through it. And where you are then between lives may not be all that nice either. Damn well would not want to get caught in that cycle.

            And the main thing for me: since that belief seems to come up in almost every religion and spiritual belief about afterlife that exists – that whatever may happen after you die the one thing suicide is not is a way to get away from anything, either you have to deal with it in one way or another anyway or you may have to face something worse – yep, will not and would not do it. Even if there was times when it seemed tempting that is what scared me away from those ideas. Because it comes up in almost every belief and idea of afterlife there is makes it a gamble I am not willing to take.

  6. I would rather be surprised by who I meet in Heaven than satisfied by who I meet in Hell.

    • Amen. I pray for mercy, not justice, from G-d.

      • As one radio hose admits every hour, he is doing better than he deserves.

        In fact I think that is the real secret of Sola fide (and why you just can’t say, “I believe” at the instant of death): faith alone means accepting and understanding in your gut as well as your mind that Justice condemns you, be you Hitler or one of the Saints, to Hell and that you escape it by accepting God’s mercy, having faith in his mercy.

        Stepping away from the theological I think that is a key part feature of a tolerant culture. If you truly accept your flaws are as damning as those of others it become easier to tempter your own wraith, against a neighbor or on a jury, with an appropriate mercy. In a fallen world you cannot be all forgiving as you lack the power of being all healing. You can, however, discern when to forgive and improve the fallen world instead of continuing its fall.

        It is easier to give mercy when you know you have received it.

    • Himself has a really good grasp of our weaknesses– I’ve never been mad enough at someone that I don’t hope they somehow make it to heaven. The “to heck with blame, fix it impulse manages to fix that.

      May His mercy on that aspect keep on, I’d rather not face a test I think I’d fail…..

      • foxfirefancies

        I have occasionally been made enough at someone to hope they made it to Heaven sooner than expected, but never enough to wish a change in destination.

        • Oooh, I’m going to have to steal that one. It’s a really nice, Irish sort of twist I enjoy. 🙂

        • My preference is “drop dead”. Who am I to judge where their spirit resides in eternity? OTOH, although short, it’s effectiveness has been lousy, 100% failure rate. But it is an indication to “walk away, or shut up, now.”

          • I lean toward “Bless their heart.”

            • “Bless their Heart” works when I am not super angry, & cutoff is not occurring. “Drop Dead” otherwise. OTOH, I can’t get angry enough for the latter. In general. If I am that angry, some point before then I will have decided … Not. Worth. My. Time/Attention.

  7. they believe their own species — and therefore themselves — are a blight on the universe.

    Well, they got the second half of that right.

    James Branch Cabell’s Jurgen, on his visit to Hell (in his eponymous novel) was subject to the complaints of the devils therein about the tortures demanded of them by the Damned, all of them in their pride proclaiming themselves great sinners and in need of great punishment. The devils, having more accurate perspective, thought all of their sins rather petty, requiring scarcely more than a slapped wrist. The damned had been little me of little importance and if only they could acknowledge that they could leave their damnation.

    Neil Gaiman lifted recycled Cabell’s image of hell for his Lucifer in Sandman.

    • And of course, being a huge fan of Cabell, RAH had another J initialed protagonist follow a path arguably inspired by Jurgen (at the subtitles hint).

  8. I’m content believing that there’s a place of mercy for the wicked, and Outer Darkness for those who go the extra distance.

    • There are Orthodox theologians who argue that one can receive grace after death if you accept it (unlock the doors) and among that subset of theologians there is a subsubset that believe all of humanity will be redeemed before the end of all things.

      Then you have people like me who have concluded “thief in the night” means “no believers remaining alive” due to reading a Russian theologian (but of course it would be because of a Russian).

      • There are Orthodox theologians who argue that one can receive grace after death if you accept it (unlock the doors) and among that subset of theologians there is a subsubset that believe all of humanity will be redeemed before the end of all things.

        Oooh, one of the live wire ones!

        I figure the circle can be squared by remembering that once they’re dead, they’re outside of time– so it’s not like you spend six years in hell and then get better, but explaining exactly how it works is like moving to the left or right to see “behind” a man in a painting. We’re the painting, and the ways of conveying “this is further back in the picture” aren’t really a good fit when you go into too much detail.

        • That’s not the version I’ve seen. What I’ve read distinguishes the sempiternal, which is time infinitely prolonged, with no beginning and no end, and the eternal, which is time as a single point of total awareness. God is infinite and thus eternal, but men and angels, even if granted unending life, are finite and thus sempiternal. It’s not in our nature to grasp everything at once, and we can’t be changed to make it so; if we could it would have to be by becoming God.

          • Wouldn’t that amount to trying to explain how a “pocket” of time works, in the place without time? We didn’t exist “for the whole time” God exists, but even that statement is trying to describe the idea of the 3rd dimension via 2D.

            • And ATH is officially making my head hurt…but a good hurt 🙂

              • It was really amazing how much of the scifi stuff I grew up playing around with came in really handy for theology– time travel? Non-human people? At what point does a person stop being themselves? Is it OK to use knowledge gained by immoral means, say torturing someone to death with medical experiments?
                2k years, minimum, of fiddling with that. 😀

                • Oh yes. I had a great time in philosophy in college. (Taught by Jesuits, who aren’t afraid to break your brain a little. Some colleges’ philosophy courses are closer to surveys than lessons in thinking.) If I’d known how close I was to a minor, I would have picked one up. And yes, SF helped me with the thinking. It also helped me with physics once we got to general relativity—I got all of the thought experiment daily quizzes right with that. (Daily single-question quizzes instead of taking roll—you got half credit simply for turning in a paper with your name on it. I think it’s a brilliant method for dealing with a class size above thirty.)

              • “Make it hurt so good.” — Runs. Fast.

        • There’s a schism somewhat like this in Buddhism, between the Hinayana and Mahayana schools, but it’s been decades since I studied the Sutras.

      • Then you have people like me who have concluded “thief in the night” means “no believers remaining alive” due to reading a Russian theologian

        Then the Church would not have lasted until the end, as promised.

        • Mary, lately I’ve been wondering a lot about that.

          • Do you not know what the scripture says about Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel? “Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have torn down your altars, and I alone am left, and they are seeking my life.” But what is God’s response to him? “I have left for myself seven thousand men who have not knelt to Baal.”

            • The thing is, there’s no guarantee that the Church will be obvious to the world by that end. The Israelites were a tiny fraction of the people of the earth, and they’re still occasionally finding small groups of Old Believers who headed for the hills when the Soviets took over.

        • Yeah, it gets complicated. Perhaps “the last person to believe” has been born or the Word has been completely removed from the public square.

          Then again, the Church Triumphant is eternal. Were we promised the Church Militant would still exist when he returned?

          • I was going to say that. The church triumphant will be here.

            • ATH is one of the few non-religious places I can rely on people knowing what those phrase mean. I love that about it.

              • Amsel, Matthew

                For the curious Yid in the room – got an explanatory link?

                • Sure: https://infogalactic.com/info/Churches_Militant,_Penitent,_and_Triumphant

                  Quick version, The Church Militant is the Church on Earth in the here and now. The Church Triumphant is the Church in Heaven and on Earth after the Second Coming (or maybe only after the remaking of the world…we’re getting way out in Christian Eschatology when we talk about the Church Triumphant on Earth).

                • And for an added piece, a purpose of Liturgy/Mass is to unite the Church Militant with the Church Triumphant.

                  • steve poling

                    If you ever want to terrify a Liberal start talking about postmillenialism. Protestant eschatology is divided in three camps: amillenialism, premillenialism, and postmillenialism. Most fundamentalists of the Hal Lindsay “Late, Great Planet Earth” school hold to the last option. Post-mill is like universalism–it fits wishful thinking more than the facts in hand. It is relatively popular with the most Calvinistic of conservative Christians. Libs pick up on this and start spinning Handmaids Tail fantasies.

                    • And in “amillenialism” the prefix a- does not mean “not” but “in”. That is, that is the belief that the millennia started at Pentecost, and the “thousand years” is like the “thousand hills” in the Psalm — a figurative expression, meaning perfect completion.

                    • steve poling

                      hmmmm, a-musement means not-thinking, as do several other a-prefix words that work the same way. Maybe the a-millenialism means a not-literal-but-figurative millenium (that we’re now in).

                    • Oh, I grew up in a mix of Baptists and Presbyterian churches. I remember LGPE from the 70s.

                    • No, it means “in”

          • Were we promised the Church Militant would still exist when he returned?

            “We shall not all die.”

    • Mike Houst

      God, being infinite, and being merciful, can afford to wait forever for someone to finally change. Which seems to lend credence to the concept that we create our own Hell’s; and that it’s up to us to figure out how to get out of them, with God’s Grace of course.

      The joke in our family being that my grandmother’s name was Grace, and she’s in God’s hands now; so she’s God’s Grace.

  9. I’ll add that from a theoretical standpoint, Marxism is obsolete.

    In the pre-industrial era, many people owned their own livelihood. Worked for themselves. A farmer owned his land and livestock, a gunsmith owned his files and hammers, a weaver owned his loom. Not everybody, but enough.

    The Industrial Revolution brought with it powered tools beyond the means of the average worker to buy. An investor – a capital-ist – provided the capital to buy the tools and hired people to work them. But who owned the increase in production? The investor? The workers?

    Under normal conditions, they would negotiate. But some investors put some capital into buying influence…and preventing the workforce from organizing themselves. Which was where Marx came in with his blather…not recognizing that Communism had its own problems.

    Later, we saw the workers organize into unions…which played the political game themselves. As well as the organized crime game.

    But now? None of it matters. Because of the mutual fund, the growth of skill workers, and the lower cost of many tools. Mutual funds make it possible for the common man to be a capital-ist. Skill workers need fewer tools to ply their trades. And even the older manufacturing fields are being taken over by new tools. CNC and 3-D printing are now available to the small machine shop.

    Which means that the old Marxist nonsense is as obsolete as a horse-drawn carriage. We need to let the Leftists know it’s time to get out of the Victorian Era.

    • As a political and exonomic theory, Marxism was obsolete before Marx started writing it. The man had a grasp of economics and industry that could be bettered by a colony of cherrystone clams. He accepted, without (somfar as I can see) checking, that the industrial workers of his day were worse off then their agricultural forebears. Thismis not so. Yes, the indistrial workers of his era were ill-educated and malnourished. Thier forbears were pig ignorant and starving.

      But as a reliigion, Marxism is still relevant and therefre dangerous. It serves the purpose for which its adherants choose it; it justifies their fond belief that they should be running things.

      Granted, other religions have been used to the same end by their adherants. Christianity, at least, has core teachings that undermine that. Marxism does not.

      • But as a reliigion, Marxism is still relevant

        It justifies their desired actions and legitimizes punishment of their enemies. What more do some people ask of their Faith?

    • And companies whose’ employees hold stock in them – another wrinkle that Marx likely didn’t foresee, either

      • Marx’s fundamental failure, IMHO, was inability to understand capitalists would moderate their “exploitation” in their own self-interest. As a free market theorist (I refuse to use his word, and the C-word is a creation of Marx) I never saw it as exploitation or moderating it, but the market working.

        Perhaps why looking back I’m not surprised by it while Marxists had to invent “false consciousness” to explain its success.

        • So essentially, he made a strawman to knock over?

          I’ve noticed that every time someone tries to explain how exploitative and horrible a free market economy is they describe “abuses” that a free market wouldn’t support, that only a centralized authority could enforce (or a business by becoming the centralized authority.)

          • FlyingMike

            or a business by becoming the centralized authority

            See: Zuckerbook.

            Interesting, though, that they never then consider the abuses that such a centralized authority, with that level of power, could commit, pretty much unopposed.

          • I don’t think it was so much a strawman but a static view of people. I see it a lot on the left that only the leftist has agency and everyone is just caught in a pattern of reacting to their environment without the ability to think or change.

            • That’s definitely the attitude of “Americans” toward “Everyone Else.” Because if “Everyone Else” had agency, then everything wouldn’t be “America’s” fault.

              It’s the basic premise of “white privilege” too. Insisting that only white people have power is the exact same thing, bottom line, as insisting that no one else has agency.

            • That’s the argument of _What’s the Matter with Kansas_ in a nutshell. It irked me the first time I read it, and his stuff never got any better, IMHO.

              • “Voting against their best interests” is a phrase that never fails to annoy me. It assumes you know their best interests, and that their priorities are the same as yours.

                • At a guess, 90% of Congresscritters will tel you that voting for anyone but them is voting against your best interests.

                  Just as Harvey Weinstein advised so very many aspiring actresses that declining his attentions was acting against their best interests.

                  With very similar results.

        • His fundamental failure was working from feudalism as his premise. He was blinkered enough to not see there was any other organizing principle even in existence (like America).

          • Or the Hanseatic League, or the Imperial Free Cities, or… and that’s just in the German-speaking lands, let alone the US.

          • Because the fundamental guiding characteristic of a leftist is that he ought to be an aristocrat, with all associated powers and privileges.

            The identifying characteristic is the intense burning steeped-in-hate envy of anyone perceived as being an aristocrat, or anything like one.

            They really have a shockingly simplistic view of the world.

      • Oooh, the unions HATE employee-owned companies!

        • *deep sarcasm* Gee, I cannot imagine why … weren’t they all about the workers owning the means of production? *evil snickering*

          • It is probably not good for me, how much fun it was to get them spun up… ah well, if you take the pay to protest and generally be a jerk, the “cost” of someone arguing against the stuff your’e spouting shouldn’t be too high.

        • These days…I suspect the old school union leaders would have thought them a splendid idea.

          • Maybe the idealists. However long they survived….

            • No, the old union leaders were competent businessmen in their own right. Think Ronald Reagan.

              • The ones that showed up near my relatives were thugs, of the “unionize or people will start to disappear” variety, so I’ll have to take your word for it. (No, I don’t know how they got rid of them, only that they were quite unified in doing so.)

                Thinking back on what that timeline would’ve been, there’s a good chance they were either mob associated from one of the ports, or from Las Vegas.

          • I think modern day union bosses see the downside of employee-owned businesses, both as regards risk to employee wealth should the business not prosper and the risk to union power if the business does prosper.

            My years of observation of union bosses indicates they far prefer the “Heads we win/Tails you lose” arrangements commonly displayed in most government funded employee pension schemes.

            • We have always been of the “Support Unions” “Can’t Support Unions” …

              Our first jobs required union membership. But, it was an inshop one company union. Everyone, including the union leadership, did the same job, everyone worked. Leadership did not get paid an extra salary for taking union positions. Union leadership did get compensated for time taken for union duties & expenses; audited by union membership. Max membership was 280; currently it runs about 60 (timber industry).

              “Can’t support Unions” are the ones that are essentially political. Represent an industry (supposedly) but leadership & union employees don’t work the actual industry jobs; rarely do they actually support the individuals they are suppose to. Paid by the union, only. Dock worker & Teacher unions both are examples.

        • I saw some picketing Winco (an employee-owned company) once. Their sign said that Winco didn’t have unions. Well, yeah, the whole COMPANY is basically the union.

          • snelson134

            And apparently they are coming to Dallas.

            • Oooh, LUCKY!!!! I miss that store so dang much… besides the whole “I feel like doing the grocery shopping at 3AM” aspect, they have some very nice bulk deals, and the folks working there are generally NICE. Been to many different outlets and they’re all similarly awesome.

            • Winco or the protesters? I like Winco—the only caveat being that they’re cash/ATM card only. (It’s one way they keep their prices low; another is by not doing more than mailbox advertisements.)

              • snelson134

                Winco.

              • “Winco or the protesters? I like Winco—the only caveat being that they’re cash/ATM card only. (It’s one way they keep their prices low; another is by not doing more than mailbox advertisements.)”

                For some things yes, they are less. But not everything (not more, but not always less, or only penny or 2). Buying the same things at Winco VS Costco + Krogers (Fred Meyers here). The Winco bill is < $2.00 savings. I spend that much difference in gas. Plus FM allows CC usage.

                I used to shop the sales/coupons. But the run around cost invalidated the actual savings. FM will take the WinCo coupons/sale prices. I do miss the house we had up north, where WinCo while on the way home 90% of the time. But then that was also before one could use CC for grocery shopping anywhere.

                I do shop WinCo. But only if I'm in that area or hubby requests something "special" (or is whining about the lack of salt water taffy which WinCo carries in their bulk), then I also pick up the cereal I can't get anywhere else in town.

                • Winco is more convenient than Costco for me, especially for “daily” groceries. Anything bulk is definitely better at Costco.

  10. FlyingMike

    “There are two types of people: Those who divide people into two types, and those who don’t.”

    That being said…

    There are two types of post-Soviet western Marx true believers: First are the eternally faithful, who have not let their faith be shaken by the failure and dissolution of that great beacon of true New Sovietness on the Volga; and second, those whose faith was shattered, convincing them of the ultimate unworthiness of humanity, who have thus embraced the humanity-rightsizing population reduction and technological rejection at the heart of the greenie movement.

    I emphasize western Marxists: The silliness of dressing traditional Han Chinese Imperialism in Marxist raiments is self evident, and the regional feudal kingdoms (Cuba, Venezuela, Vietnam) who say the right things but implement old school hereditary government, are Marxist only in public pronouncements.

    • In the absence of an actual existential external threat it is much easier for the Marxists to proclaim their Truth and denounce heresies. People’s minds are not concentrated the way they were under the Soviet Union’s challenge … and even then there were many who decided the true threat came from not acceding to the Soviet interpretation of reality.

      It is because we are not forced to take Marxism seriously that it is able to make such inroads today.

    • The silliness of dressing traditional Han Chinese Imperialism in Marxist raiments is self evident
      ————————-

      Let’s just hope that it all doesn’t come crashing down the same way that the Han Dynasty did. I’ve been reading up on the Three Kingdoms era lately (in part due to my interest in the Dynasty Warriors games), and saw some casualty totals that someone rattled off. I can’t remember what they were off the top of my head, but the number of deaths were horrific, and the population at the end of the era (when Sima Zhou’s son proclaimed the Jin Dynasty) was vastly reduced in size compared to when it all started.

      The whole process – from the Yellow Turban Rebellion to the ascension of the Jin Dynasty took roughly 100 years.

  11. Even before Marxism had been utterly discredited politically with the collapse of the USSR it had found a second home in the social “sciences” among those who, in spite of all evidence, continue to revere Marx as a great social thinker, So Zombie Marxism shambles on, eating the brains of college students.

  12. Long(ish) and relevant:

    The Story Behind That Anti-Trump Textbook
    By Stanley Kurtz
    The most underappreciated political story of our time is the changing content of K-12 textbooks in history, civics, social studies, and related subjects. Yes, I said political story. Why are Millennials so receptive to socialism? Why are today’s Democrats dominated by identity politics? Why have movements on the political right shifted from a constitutional conservatism symbolized by the Boston Tea Party to a populist nationalism? All these changes, and more, are connected to what today’s history textbooks are, and are not, teaching. Yet we’ve barely noticed the link.

    Almost any Advanced Placement (AP) U.S. history textbook has more influence on American politics than 90 percent of the books reviewed in our leading newspapers and political magazines. Yet when was the last time you read a review of a high school history textbook? Never, I’ll bet. That’s partly because these thousand-page monstrosities are tough to read, and even tougher to judge for anyone but professional historians. And with growing academic specialization, even historians find it difficult to assess an entire text.

    [SNIP]

    Conservatives saw the tip of the enormous textbook iceberg earlier this April when a radio host tweeted out pictures a Minnesota student had sent her of an AP U.S. history (APUSH) textbook. The student had photographed pages of the not yet formally released update of James W. Fraser’s By the People, an APUSH textbook published by the international education giant Pearson. Those pages covered the 2016 election and the Black Lives Matter movement. …

    Essentially, Fraser’s updated text portrayed conservatives as bigots, Trump as mentally unstable, and the Black Lives Matter movement as a reasonable response to a police force acting like an “occupying army” in a “mostly African-American town.”

    It was hit job as history.

    [SNIP]

    American Ed Schools are famously infatuated with Brazilian Marxist Paulo Freire’s 1970 book, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, and Fraser has been a leader in that movement. Fraser and a group of American educators worked closely with Freire in the mid-1990s to publish Mentoring the Mentor: A Critical Dialogue with Paulo Freire. Fraser’s contribution to that volume shows him to be a faithful acolyte of his mentor Freire. Both men seek a pedagogy capable of inspiring the overthrow of capitalist hegemony and its replacement by a classless society.

    Like Freire, Fraser draws on the wisdom of Marxist heroes like Che Guevara. Yet as an historian of education, Fraser also invokes his extensive knowledge of textbooks. His most striking claim is that the textbooks used under Eastern European Communism were excellent in substance, even if their lessons were hammered home too harshly by teachers: “…in their critique of capitalism and imperialism, in their sophisticated approach to anti-Semitism, Fascism, and revolutionary struggle — [Eastern European communist textbooks] represented a very liberating view of the world…But sadly the pedagogy was as repressive as the content was liberating.”

    This is a stunning claim. Fraser believes that if only Eastern Europeans had taught communism in a less authoritarian manner, a public freed from the Soviet yoke might not have rejected communism for capitalism. That is, Fraser sees the turn to capitalism by Eastern Europe as an avoidable “tragedy” caused by the unnecessarily harsh teaching methods of communist schools.

    This is deluded. The content of Eastern European textbooks was every bit as authoritarian as communist pedagogy. Those textbooks, for example, included poems inspiring children to report even their best friends to the authorities for violations of party dictates. Those textbooks taught that no one is allowed to have “purely personal cares and difficulties in a socialist collective,” and denounced Germans who tried to escape over the Berlin Wall. East German textbooks instilled hatred for the “capitalist and imperialist” United States, which was painted in nightmare colors. Or is this the content Fraser considers “liberating”?

    Fraser argues that “regimes of the right, including those in the United States and other so-called democracies” are every bit as authoritarian as communists, in their attempts to force capitalism on students. How curious, then, that Fraser and his Ed School comrades have so far escaped America’s Gulag.

    [SNIP]

    If Fraser scorns America as a “so-called democracy” and continually denounces conservatives, he has a soft-spot for radicals of every sort. His 2004 book, History of Hope, rummages through America’s past looking for models of hope amidst what Fraser sees as the general gloom of U. S. history. Fraser lauds the 19th century utopian movements that dispensed with monogamy and private property. He celebrates ethnic Mexicans in the American Southwest who refused to accept the results of the Mexican-American war even generations later, praising their violent resistance to “Anglo-American aggression.” Fraser even applauds traditional Mexico’s communal conception of property as a hopeful alternative to America’s acceptance of capitalism. Naturally, Fraser hails America’s first great socialist leader, Eugene V. Debs. He commends the various liberation movements of the 1960s, lauds Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Coalition, and even praises the anarchists whose violent demonstrations in Seattle in 1999 shut down a meeting of the World Trade Organization. Those violent demonstrators, forerunners of Occupy Wall Street, were fiercely condemned by mainstream liberals at the time.

    So does Fraser’s AP U.S. history textbook, By the People, reflect the egregious political biases of his popular and academic work? Not according to his publisher, Pearson, which said when challenged on the anti-Trump additions: “[This textbook] was developed by an expert author and underwent rigorous peer review to ensure academic integrity…[it] aims to promote debate and critical thinking by presenting multiple sides.” The claim that a thoroughly politicized and almost uniformly leftist history profession would nix this textbook via peer review is laughable. When it comes to political bias, today’s academics are peers, all right.

    RTWT

    • *feels queasy*

    • Those textbooks taught that no one is allowed to have “purely personal cares and difficulties in a socialist collective,”

      I have long wondered if the hard core leftist refusal to enjoy things because someone else was still suffering was just logical outcome or actually taught dogma.

      Now I know.

      • Heh, reminds me of the one Cash song I really hate, even though it’s technically rather good. “Man in black.” I can remember loving it, but… mostly I just want to yell “oh, come off it, you poser.” We don’t need a man in black, we need people actually doing something.

        • While there is some poser in it I can’t get too mad about it. There is value in the symbol to remind us about the work to be done. If that was an example of all of Cash’s work I’d be more worried. Given he has plenty about doing the work I’ll give him a pass.

          • On the whole, yeah, but it still hits my “oh quit talking and go do something if it’s all that bad” buttons. 😀

            I might, just possibly, be a little cranky and tired of folks who make grand stands and expect to be rewarded for their symbolism.

      • Sounds like Puritanism.

        • Sounds like what we are taught Puritanism is. Just like we are taught people who used bundling and would put a man in the stocks for refusing his wife sex were prudes.

          It does not sound like the real thing.

          • Eh, the “prude” thing always made sense to me, but that’s just because I grew up more exposed to how they use it- someone is a “prude” if they don’t loudly support the awesomeness of public display of every obscene thing that catches the name-caller’s fancy.

            They had decency, so they’re “prudes.”

            • Fair enough.

              However, these days, just as not agreeing with one leftist thing means you are far right, not endorsing any and all sexual variations at any and all times is being a prude (which means the majority of S&M, gay, and swinger communities are prudes, but hey, omelette).

  13. We are near 200th anniversary of Marx’s birthday so we can expect many asinine articles about how clever he was.

    Marxism is popular with maladjusted people who seem keen on punishing others, which makes them feel better about themselves.

    • Marx, as packaged for those who don’t/won’t read his original works, is simple, clear-cut, and provides black and white answers to all of life’s problems. Marx, if someone actually reads him and keeps in mind the definitions he’s using, had one decently useful idea and the rest shows a blithe ignorance of humanity and human nature, as well as an infatuation with the sight of his own words. Granted, German tends to be prolix just by the nature of the language, but ye gads and little fishes… That man needed an editor.

      • That useful idea being that historians need to consider economics and economic relationships when we write history. At the time, that was somewhat new in the field.

        • I was wondering what you thought Marx’s one useful idea was. I agree, considering economic relationships is good idea for historians.

          If historians were less left wing, they could use Adam Smith and his division of labour, how butchers and bakers are self interested because they want to support their own families as well as provide for others.

      • simple, clear-cut, and provides black and white answers to all of life’s problems.

        The great appeal of The System…..

      • I can’t really blame people for not actually reading his works as I have and he was the worst write I’ve ever read.

      • What is with the NY Times? They did series last autumn about the glories of communism and now they shilling for Marx again.

      • I wonder whether the Times practices what it preaches? (No, not really – it’s just a rhetorical device) It would be interesting to see if they pay all reporters the same rate (after all, they’re all reporting, right?) and limits the CEO’s pay to seven times what they pay the janitors? Is there a “wage gap” between male and female employees performing essentially equivalent work?

        As a publicly held corporation that information should be readily available.

        • There’s a fabulous demonstration of that in visual form:

          • Golly, it seems only one or two decades ago that the NY Times was publishing doting articles about retirement homes for retired radicals. Sure, they were communist agitators in their youths but now they were only organizing the nursing home staff.

            Sorry, long ago so no linkage.

    • And how CORRECT.

  14. And now I’m seeing some “climate change” wank running around with a thermometer on a necklace, and a placard that reads “THE END IS NIGH!”

  15. Joe in PNG

    God’s grace is so powerful and great that even a Hitler could be pardoned by it.
    However, there is what some theologians call “judicial hardening”, where one rejects God’s call to grace and deliberately chooses malice and evil, and God basically says “Fine. I’ll stop wasting your time.”

  16. Re Communism—Arthur Koestler, himself a former Communist, wrote the following:

    “A closed system has three peculiarities. Firstly, it claims to represent a truth of universal validity, capable of explaining all phenomena, and to have a cure for all that ails man. In the second place, it is a system which cannot be refuted by evidence, because all potentially damaging data are automatically processed and reinterpreted to make them fit the expected pattern. The processing is done by sophisticated methods of casuistry, centered on axioms of great emotive power, and indifferent to the rules of common logic; it is a kind of Wonderland croquet, played with mobile hoops. In the third place, it is a system which invalidates criticism by shifting the argument to the subjective motivation of the critic, and deducing his motivation from the axioms of the system itself. The orthodox Freudian school in its early stages approximated a closed system; if you argued that for such and such reasons you doubted the existence of the so-called castration complex, the Freudian’s prompt answer was that your argument betrayed an unconscious resistance indicating that you yourself have a castration complex; you were caught in a vicious circle. Similarly, if you argued with a Stalinist that to make a pact with Hitler was not a nice thing to do he would explain that your bourgeois class-consciousness made you unable to understand the dialectics of history…In short, the closed system excludes the possibility of objective argument by two related proceedings: (a) facts are deprived of their value as evidence by scholastic processing; (b) objections are invalidated by shifting the argument to the personal motive behind the objection. This procedure is legitimate according to the closed system’s rules of the game which, however absurd they seem to the outsider, have a great coherence and inner consistency.

    The atmosphere inside the closed system is highly charged; it is an emotional hothouse…The trained, “closed-minded” theologian, psychoanalyst, or Marxist can at any time make mincemeat of his “open-minded” adversary and thus prove the superiority of his system to the world and to himself.”

  17. Link to the Greek Orthdox guy’s vid?

  18. There is no escape.
    Or Huis Clos, by Sartre (English title “No Exit”, though that’s not what the French means [“Behind Closed Doors” – lawdy, now I have a country song in my head…]).
    I am becoming more convinced that Sartre was correct in saying “Hell is other people” when you’re an SJW. Look at the “leftist autophagy”. Imagine spending all of eternity locked in with a bunch of SJWs, where the peak intersectionality is constantly shifting, and one moment you’re on top and the next you’re up against the wall. But, in hell, you are just tormented, not killed, so you get right back in the mix and eventually back on top, only to be thrown under the bus (maybe the one from Lewis’ The Great Divorce?) once again.
    It matches with Milton’s view of constant clawing over others to try and reach the top just to get a breath of less fetid air, only to be pulled back under by your fellow denizens.

    The amazing part is the SJWs have implemented it right here on Earth.

  19. Oddly enough I’m working on a story where the setting is, the fairy tale villains won.

    You know what? They still aren’t happy.

    • Of course not. From my observations of miscellaneous bullies and those who use coercive and manipulative tactics, I’ve frequently wanted to tell them “You’re not going to get what you want that way. That isn’t how it works.” Even if they get the form of compliance, it won’t satisfy them.

  20. Funny that “May 1” has been associated with a political philosophy based on saying “one may not” or “One must.”

    Remembrance of May Days Past
    By Sarah Hoyt
    I woke up this morning and realized it was May Day — and was unutterably relieved things have changed from the May Days of my childhood.

    May Day was a holiday — no work/school — being International Worker’s Day. I remember dreary days with nothing on the TV but the might of the USSR and its satellites, in fantastic display.

    Troops and groups of workers, flying red flags paraded before podiums ornamented with red paraphernalia, a seemingly invincible might, a proud and unquestionably enthusiastic multitude of workers and soldiers, of farmers and peasants. It seemed the whole world was submerged in red for the occasion, and our own local idiots would demonstrate and commit acts of senseless violence, which was the reason I resorted to the TV. Mom wouldn’t let me go out.

    (I believe people in Seattle and other US enclaves afflicted by the Marxist bug still make themselves a nuisance on May Day. As in Portugal at that time, this is mostly the sport of students and “intellectuals” not of anyone who has ever done an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay.)

    Usually, the unctuous and respectful narration in Portuguese said things along the lines of “look upon this parade and despair.” “Now we see the blah blah missile, an improvement on the whatever missile and a symbol of Soviet industry and science.”

    Or it could be the new tractors or the new tanks that were thus described, and always, always, in the narration, was the assumption that the numbers coming out of the USSR were real, and that it was a model of creativity, influence, and efficiency. The May Day displays convinced everyone — more or less — that the future was inevitably communist. How could the disorganized, muddled, flailing efforts of capitalists match it? Didn’t we know how often we worked at cross purposes? Look at all the Soviet workers united! And look at how proud Soviet workers and soldiers were!

    This was the seventies, and in 20 years all that might, all that “efficiency” and all that pride would be revealed for what they were: a hollow shell, a projection of force abroad, a shout of defiance from a dying, sclerotic regime, upon which the dead hand of the past and the even deader hand of Marx weighed like the agonies of death.

    However, the scene setting was fantastic. And because no contrary words made it out of the totalitarian hell that was the USSR, the world believed it.

    Meanwhile the US, with its moon landings, its large and wasteful cars, its loud-and-proud tourists abroad, was treated as a braggart, and it was assumed that the good things we saw were exaggerated, while the bad things that the US’s own press said about the country, the bad things that Jimmy Carter himself often said in speeches (“malaise” and getting used to lower expectations, etc.) was the absolute truth. The US often got compared to Rome in the decadence of the Empire (whose structure was more similar to the USSR but never mind.)

    Even for someone like me, who was, at best, skeptical of communism, it was impossible, looking at the coordinated displays on one side, and the almost uncaring attitude on the other to avoid the certainty the USSR would win this match. …

  21. steve poling

    You seem to be channelling Jordan Peterson’s metaphorical interpretation of Hell as Soviet Gulag. Kudos.

    I have another metaphor for you. The locked gates of Hell are ultimately futile. Our Savior tells us the gates of hell will not stand against his Church. Pope John Paul II schooled the Soviets. Likewise, we have nothing to fear of the SJWs we shall flatten beneath the gates we knock down.

    Dr. Peterson is a prophet of our age. He is the one-eyed man in the kingdom of the blind. Yet, we need to transcend his pessimism. Our Savior has promised victory and is empowered to keep that promise. Fear not.

  22. It makes me harken back to a version of the “Harrowing of Hell’ Miracle play I once read back in college.

    Satan is chortling to Death about how he’s finally done it, finally killed God (in the form of Jesus at Golgotha) and that now he’s going to be stuck down in the muck and mire with them.

    Death blanches, grabs him by his shirt, and shouts, “You imbecile?! You let him in?!”

    And then Jesus kicks the gates of hell down from the inside.