How our Christian heritage gave rise to a doctrine of radical equality
Congrats on the really, really interesting and excellently elaborated essay. It was a highly enjoyable read.
Point #4 is so accurate. Equality of inherent worth & dignity never meant denying individual distinctions for earliest Christians. The Apostle Paul uses the analogy of a body functioning in cohesive unity but acknowledging the distinct differences between a hand and a foot in performing distinct functions as part of a shared telos.
Because our hyper-capitalism attaches worth to output, our bizarro-world secular Christendom is focused (at least performatively) on equality of outcomes. Something as obvious as genetic heritability of intelligence is seen as heresy because it denies that each person can achieve equal outcomes. But historic Christianity denies accumulation of material wealth and possessions as a marker of higher worth. Worth is in inherent and God-given. Talents, responsibilities, "giftings", etc are not equally distributed.
Thank you for writing this out so clearly and thoroughly. Makes a ton of sense + clarifies my own intuitions.
As a followup, I'm curious about whether you have any writing where you elaborate on this, ideally from a similarly genealogical point of view:
> In my opinion the scientific enterprise is the greatest achievement of Western culture
Mainly because it strikes me as interesting how the early adherents of the scientific enterprise were also working from deeply Christian moral positions, which similarly became lost to time as science transformed into a secular enterprise. Would love to know more!
Are you familiar with this paper? It makes a very similar point to your article: https://journalofcontroversialideas.org/article/1/1/131
Such an excellent piece, the Master and OG Freigeist would be proud. Nothing like a nice geneaology of morality, it is an invigorating intellectual colonic.
It is truly one of the most fascinating aspects of our zeitgeist that as we get deeper into a supposedly atheistic post-Christian world and society, Christian morality only metastasizes and becomes more dominant and entrenched. And not even a mellow sort of 'love thy brother' Christianity but a full-on Calvinistic punitive kind.
Another of the interesting aspects of this for me as someone who's lived through the Social Justice hostile takeover of our intellectual and cultural life, and as an amateur Nietzschean, is how their whole victorious march through the institutions can also be seen as both a revolution in morality (everyone w a weaker moral commitment to "Equality" has been either routed or converted) and also as an example of an entire caste exerting their will to power.
There is so much to go into here, but I will just say that the ultimate goal of Soc Justice zealots (not to mention some of their Leftist forefathers like Marcuse) has always been to become a clerisy of philosopher kings, the moral and cultural guides and consciences of society (alienated intellectuals have a very deep need to be seen and recognized as superior, esp to the grubby Merchant class) and they have been wildly successful.
And one last Nietzschean point: as the Social Justice people are just like the rest of us and cannot step out of their own shadows and always to some extent remain strangers to themselves, I can't help but notice how showy and competitive these preachers of Equality can be. They went to the best schools, support the best candidates, their politics and worldview are vastly superior to all others, and lord have mercy on the person who gets between them and a promotion or any coveted position.
Like all the pious whited sepulchers throughout history who've sought to rule by proclaiming some type of common unity, they seem to believe in a form of Equality that at the same time recognizes their inherent superiority.
I guess Orwell put it best: "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."
Thanks again for the great piece!
"This is because the vision of the Elect only works if inequality and human suffering can be attributed to “society” rather than nature."
Hello Jean-Jacques Rousseau and his Second Discourse, in which natural man is asocial.
Arguing against the heritability of intelligence is arguing against evolution. Seeing that it’s the same group that argues against creationism only means needing more popcorn.
Using facts in arguments with ideologies is useless. They’re ideologues because they reject facts.
If intelligence is indeed heritable, why is it the case that my parents seem more more retarded than I am?
Truly excellent essay. With links to more interesting and informative things to read.
I am wrestling with these issues, though from more of a social dynamics direction.
“The fact that an overwhelming mountain of evidence unequivocally demonstrates that intelligence is measurable and heritable.....” I am sure this is true. That it matters on the ground in the living of life is debatable. The Christian problem is that there may be great equalities... among Christians. Feeling, as I do, that no monotheism is a decent or even interesting belief system to live by puts me beyond the pale. Not just unequal but evil. But worry not, I’m fine with that! Your other monotheisms are not. So good luck!