There is a story that Josef Stalin, hearing mention of the Pope, asked dismissively ““How many divisions does the Pope have?” The quotation, if true, is compelling, because it perfectly illustrates the Leftist viewpoint that the only power is that which comes at the point of a gun. The notion of moral behavior and moral authority is utterly alien to the statist.
An interesting question, therefore is what happens to a figure of supposed moral authority who is the product of a statist society? JKB sent me the answer to that question, which is that the person recognizes that moral dimensions exist in a given situation, but is utterly incapable of believing that there is a way to use his authority to enforce that morality. The following quotation comes from a long, stream-of-consciousness description a British man of the cloth wrote about the riots in Salford:
My clothes stink of smoke and I want to weep with rage at a society that has disenfranchised so many for so long whilst brainwashing two/three generations of children to want, want, want! I can still hear the sheer joy in that lads voice, ‘X-boxes! iPhones! You can get whatever you want!’ All of his empty dreams being fulfilled – well temporarily anyway.
I also feel a kind of empty, shocked sorrow that I heard young children being taught to hate the police as they arrived, that parents would send them into dark, dangerous buildings to loot to feed their own greed, happy to teach them that stealing and looting and robbing and mindless waste and destruction are ‘funny’, because if I heard that once I heard it a thousand times tonight. ’I just think it’s funny!’
I saw the faces of police personnel, hardened with concentration for the task at hand, while people laughed at the potential damage they would inflict on somebody else’s wife, son, daughter, mother.
The trouble is, we do have a two tier society without a doubt, and while bankers have been allowed their bonuses having stitched us up every which way, we will continue to pay for this in more ways than one, and tonight is just one of them. With the cuts aimed primarily at the poor and the needy and the disenfranchised, things can only get worse.
And what will we do? Continue to promulgate the values that have created this deadly cocktail of haves and have-nots, faithless, hopeless people who have been taught that consumerism is a recreational right and all moral and religious education completely nonsensical? Surely THIS is nonsensical?! [Emphasis mine.]
I don’t doubt at all the despair or moral decency of the person who wrote that plaintive cry. What concerned JKB, and what concerns me, is his helplessness. Even as he carries on him the smoke from his burning country, and even though he is a man of the cloth, he sees the problem solely in statist terms. While he mentions the words “moral” and “religion,” he doesn’t seem to see either morality or religion as answers. Instead, the problem, in his mind, is the usual pap about “haves and have-nots,” with the answer being to use his moral authority, not to inculcate morality, but simply to decrease consumerism. Without inculcating values in people, though, the only way to decrease consumerism is the Stalinist way — at the point of the gun, and we’ve seen lately just how well that works.