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Rievaulx and the Christian ethic

I will defend the Christian ethic, although I am not a Christian and prefer pagan temples. Christ said, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself,” and that statement contains the whole Christian ethic, I think—it’s the Golden Rule, it was codified by Kant (“act with regard to your actions so that what you do could be considered as a universal rule, and consider the implications if it was). So “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” contains the whole Christian ethic.

I’ll start with Jung’s observation on this statement: most people don’t even love themselves—so how can they possibly love other people? Now, if you say “he really loves himself” that’s a criticism but what Jung means by love I take to be “unconditional acceptance”. Yet most people do not accept themselves “as they are” in an unconditional way; they are dissatisfied with what they are, and they deny what they are to themselves—so they are unconscious as to themselves (dominated by their shadow, in Jungian terms).

If you engage in serious self-examination you will find that you are petty, aggressive, vengeful, filled with violent sexual fantasies, resentful, and hateful. To love yourself means to accept that situation—as well as your noble characteristics—without condition; i.e. without remonstration (as Jung says, you do not call out, “raca, raca,” against yourself). I submit many people cannot achieve this state.

It follows that if people cannot love themselves, they cannot love their neighbour—and I take that in a literal sense, your next-door neighbour (do you unconditionally accept him as he is? I don’t—I think my neighbour is a malevolent cretin). So that is what the Christian ethic really demands. Now, it seems obvious to me that to extend the Christian ethic in a post-Christian way, in a liberal way, so that you must love the refugee from Mogadishu for no reason is an evasion.

It’s easy to look at a screen and think “I accept the immigrants in that boat in the Channel, I accept them as they are totally”. To do so is almost certainly an evasion—it evades the requirement to love yourself, then to extend your love to the man next door (who is not on a screen and bought an Alsatian to indirectly murder his wife’s cat because he didn’t have the balls to forbid his wife to have a cat in the first place).

To love your neighbour means to accept “he’s like that” without condition; and, in reality, you are the man who bought an Alsatian to kill your wife’s cat in a deniable way—because you almost certainly have not accepted that you want the cat dead, so you achieve your dark aims in an indirect way.

To “love refugees” means to see them as they are—so if they hack someone to death with a machete to defend the Prophet’s honour, you accept that is how they are. If you deny that is “real Islam”, you don’t love them—you don’t see them and accept them as they are (and liberal post-Christians never admit that is “real Islam” because they imagine immigrants are “nice people”, like them, because they are narcissists who have never examined what they really are—since to examine what you really are requires engagement with reality).

So for an American to love African-Americans it would mean to say: “I accept that blacks commit murders at a disproportionate level compared with whites and that black fathers abandon their children at a similarly disproportionate rate. Blacks also excel in certain athletic disciplines and in popular music. This is what blacks are like and I accept the actuality without condition.”

To make such a statement would be to love African-Americans, but I submit that few Americans would be found who would make such a statement in public, not least American Christians—who might say that love means to ignore the actuality and hope that things can get better; rather, I suggest that the above statement is the truly difficult statement, since it takes what is good and bad about American blacks and says that is how they are and will ever be—and that we accept that fact, what is good about them depends on what is bad about them (it’s in the blood). I think that’s a really hard statement—it’s not just to say “we think the best of you” or “hope for the best for you”, as many take “love” to be.

Hence I disagree that the Christian ethic necessarily implies national self-destruction. The Christian ethic demands: (a) self-examination so that you accept yourself as you are without condition (to love yourself); (b) once you love yourself to extend that love to your immediate neighbour (next door, family, colleague); (c) once you have achieved that, to extend that acceptance to the world. In reality, the people who go all the way to point (c) are saints.

At no point in the process can you lie and deny the actuality—nor should the process start with a man in another country you have never met (which is an easy evasion; it’s easy to “love” someone you never met), it starts with you (and most people never even love themselves, so they never even get to the immediate neighbour). Hence any virtue-signalling or “I love the world” sentiment is a refusal to accept the actuality in an unconditional way—and that means a refusal to love.

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