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Ode to Cpl. Carlton B. Jones

Mr. Ta-Nehisi Coates recently added a National Book Award to his MacArthur Foundation “genius” award given to him in gratitude for telling rich white folks what they want to hear: unlike all other former slaves and their descendants in the world and throughout history, being black is a “struggle” that “black bodies” cannot survive without their help and noblesse oblige. In his acceptance speech, he dedicated the award to his deceased friend Prince C. Jones, Jr. with whom he has much in common. They both lived a life of privilege with little struggle in life (except for the beatings that Mr. Coates received from his father that he then dished out to the other kids in the neighborhood and his teachers); received much family, emotional, material, and financial support from their extended family and numerous friends all of whom were college educated; received excellent educational opportunities from their parents and the American education system; and then received a free ride to college. Mr. Coates spent five years of that free ride engaging in sexual conquests and then having a child (but at least stayed and continues to live with the mother) but never graduating. Prince Jones ended seven years of that free ride not by finally graduating but by intentionally ramming his jeep — that his mommy bought for him — into what he knew to be an unmarked police car resulting in his being shot to death by the police officer in the car. Prince Jones left behind a baby mama and a daughter — another fatherless black family. Given that Mr. Jones was twice arrested for beating the mother of his child including once when she was 8 months pregnant, with the addition of the multi-million dollar civil settlement from the offending police department some good may come out of his death after all.

 

What the “journalist” Mr. Coates almost always leaves out of his story about his friend Mr. Prince Jones, that he left out of his book except in a one-line passing side comment, and that he left out and always leaves out except as a cursory side comment in all of his discussions about Mr. Jones, as the Washington Post was at least honest enough to admit, is: “Black Victim, Black Cop, Black County.” The officer that shot Mr. Jones, Cpl. Carlton B. Jones, was a “black body”, the term that Mr. Coates uses in his book to refer to himself, to his son, to Mr. Jones, and to others of his “tribe” or “race”, terms that he uses despite claiming that such terms are the product or source of racism (he cannot make up his mind which). Cpl. Jones worked for and was trained by the “black elite” of Prince George’s County. This is one of the many dishonest exclusions if not outright distortions of Mr. Coates’ polemics that caused me to write the book Between the World and Us and that caused me to continue on into this blog.

 

But, to whom should I dedicate this blog? At first, as an act of irony, I was going to dedicate it to Mr. Coates’ grandmother who “cleaned white folks’ houses” in the same way that my poor, immigrant, uneducated white mother did after coming to this country as a refugee from communist Yugoslavia and a life of peasant farming going back generations. After cleaning their houses while also cleaning tables at restaurants for a few years, my mother was able to get a night job as an office cleaning lady that eventually led to the attainment of the holy grail of working class work: a union job (cleaning offices as part of the SEIU). When I was a younger man that could cry, it would bring tears to my eyes when I thought of how little I saw her during my high school years. By the time I got home from school, she had already gone to work. When I got up in the morning, she was sleeping having not gotten home until 2 or 3AM from work. I still remember a few nights when I was awake in my bed and she would quietly open my door and peak in just to see me. To this day, I do not know why I did not say anything or greet her. It just did not seem to be the right thing to do at the time. God, if I had a time machine, I would change those moments. Her cleaning lady job put food on the table, paid the mortgage, and avoided welfare for us during the years that my father was disabled from his construction laborer job and only able to find part-time work when he found any. She was glad to have the job and was good at her job.

 

The same must be true for Mr. Coates’s grandmother. Her hard work resulted in great success: his whole family including his parents and his siblings, except for Mr. Coates, are college educated and well off and thus have succeeded in the American Dream that he ridicules (his siblings work as engineers, lawyers, and business owners as did his father and mother).

 

As is true of all social elite especially writers going all the way back to Aristotle, Mr. Coates looks down on the menial, physical work done by his grandmother as demeaning. It is good enough for the likes of the poor such as my mother but not for his “gem of purest ray serene” to “waste [her] sweetness on the desert air.” Pride in one’s work and respecting the work of others, including the hard physical work in which the vast majority of humanity has toiled and is toiling, is to be restricted to the creative work of such geniuses as Mr. Coates and is not to be granted working stiffs with no hope in the present but only in the future.

 

However, I rejected such irony because such dedication would not be fair to his grandmother. If his story about her is true, which I doubt given Mr. Coates’ tendency to distort reality, no doubt she appreciates and wants her privacy in the same way my mother does. Though being a cleaning lady supporting your family is honorable work that should be a source of strength, social support, and an individual sense of worth as all work should be, it really is miserable work.

 

No, my dedication should be and is to the forgotten soul in need of much empathy in the Prince Jones half-story told by Mr. Coates: Cpl. Carlton B. Jones. Mr. Coates as with the vast majority of pundits these days gets rich sitting in the stands watching the gladiators fight life’s battles and then criticizes their technique, tactics, and strategy — another one of the privileges of life in the United States granted to Mr. Coates. This is a privilege not given to workingmen and women, white or black. This was not a privilege given to Cpl. Jones.

 

As a workingman, Cpl. Jones joined both the Army Reserve and became a police officer because according to his deposition he was “inspired by the vision of racial harmony invoked by Martin Luther King, Jr.” As many a workingman did throughout United States history, he joined the military and gave the rest of society a blank check for his life to use as it saw fit to defend the Constitution of which Mr. Coates is always invoking its protection — though never willing to risk anything to protect it. Regardless of how naive this inspiration was, I admire the willingness to do it as I did and am grateful personally that he as a “black body” did so regardless of the overall or ultimate ethical nature of the military. Having grown up in a segregated working class neighborhood that defended itself against all it perceived to be a danger to the little its residents had, all strangers or outsiders both white and black ones, the military was my first opportunity to work with and become shipmates with a “black body.” He and all other “black bodies” who joined the military throughout the years and became trusted shipmates and comrades did and do much to reduce racism in this country, vastly more than either pretend intellectual elites such as Mr. Coates or pretend warriors such as the Malcolm X’s and Black Panthers of the world too busy concentrating on their struggles for personal power to be mates or comrades to anyone else. Though I am not a fan of police officers, I do understand and admire his inspiration to become a police officer to put the bad guys away and to fight for truth, justice, and the American way of life.

 

Unfortunately, as young idealists such as Cpl. Jones soon learn, it is not always clear who the bad guys are, and truth, justice, and the American way of life are not what Martin Luther King nor any other politician, white or black, makes them appear to be. As Clarence Darrow once said, “there is no justice in life, in or out of court.” As Mr. Coates’ journalism, books, and awards establish, truth is what those in power say is true — most of the time, in the world of the blind, the one-eyed man is not king but a danger to be eliminated. That aspect of the American way of life consisting of the High Noon image of a solitary peace officer standing up against the bad guys is an idealistic one but also a delusional one. As many a military veteran has learned and as Cpl. Jones learned the night that Prince Jones decided to ram him with his jeep, despite intense training, the facing of death and danger with rational reserve and then spitting in their faces sounds nice and looks cool on television, movies, and in the books by writers such as Mr. Coates who have never faced such a situation and most likely never will, but it is a completely different matter to face in reality. Facing what appears to be an attempt to kill by someone willing to kill is scary, especially the first time. If John Wayne or Russell Crowe faced Prince Jones on the night that Cpl. Jones did, perhaps they would have been able to transfer their screen persona into life and everyone would have survived completely unharmed. Based on my life experience, I doubt it. As many a man or woman in similar circumstances throughout history have done, Cpl. Jones got scared, could not think straight, and began to shoot wildly at his attacker. A mistake with which he must live for the rest of his life.

 

The undisputed fact about life is that if one tries to work, to do things in life, to actually fight the battle and problem that is life, one will make mistakes about which the critics such as Mr. Coates sitting in the stands watching can then critique, ridicule, write about, and be rewarded. However, my hat and dedication is to those in the arena fighting the battle that is life. Cpl. Jones seems to have disappeared from the county police department and I have not been able to locate him anywhere. No doubt, if he still is or ever was the idealist that his court deposition makes him appear to be, he is somewhere still suffering from the guilt of his mistake. He is doing so without the empathy of public sympathy but with the public humiliation of having his mistake constantly marketed and publicized by Mr. Coates so that he can sell books. Wherever he is, I wish him good hope. As a military veteran and thus as a warrior, he should not need and I hope he succeeds in dealing with his guilt without the publicity and public sympathy that Mr. Coates needs and craves. At least, as a fellow workingman, I hope that we are comrades in the never ending struggle with the powers-that-be that we are destined to lose — in this life at least.

Why does God hate the Poor: Does the Answer matter?

Does it really matter why God hates the poor? No one else seems to care. The vast majority of people have and always will spend their lives trying to survive and gain as much power as they can during their life — as they should do. So, why does the answer as to why God hates the poor matter to me and to some others?

In deciding whether God or I should do anything about this hatred of the poor by God, the answer to the first part of the question is easy. Because God gave me this life I never asked for, does God owe me any duty to do anything about how messed up this life is? Given our contemplation so far, the answer should be obvious: No. He is God and does whatever He wants to do consisting of acting by necessity. According to Christians, God did do something. He became human through His Son Jesus Christ. I will leave that response between you and Søren Kierkegaard and go on to the question of what my response or duty ought to be regarding God’s hate for the poor.

Why does the answer bother me so much? What, if anything should I do about this ontological truth that there were, are, and always will be the poor in life who will be the object of God’s hate? The answer does not matter to those God loves nor should it. Unfortunately, it does not matter to most of the poor. As worker’s rebellions varying from Spartacus to the French, Haitian, Russian, and many other revolutions have shown and as most of history in general has established, poor people given the chance are just as greedy, homicidal, hateful, power-hungry, and generally what we call evil as any rich and powerful person can be or are.

As Camus said: “The slave begins by demanding justice, and ends by wanting to wear a crown.” The undisputed fact of reality is that the poor, if given the chance, will seek the same power over me as the few powers-that-be already have over me. Christian saints claim to love others as an end in itself but that is bullshit. Take away the promise of the power of the Resurrection and they would be no different than anyone else.

So, why should I care about these poor as I defined them previously physically, materially, or spiritually? “F__k them,” should be my answer. I should just worry about myself and my own search for power so that I become a power-that-be; so that I become among the few beloved by God. This is the reality ignored by even the existentialist writers, from Camus to Dostoevsky, Kierkegaard, Herman Melville, and so on. They see the reality of what is but ignore the potential for much worse when reaching their conclusions of absurdity and hopelessness. They go to the edge of the abyss, look over, and then step back. That is why, in the end, despite their claims of despair, hopelessness, and absurdity, they always end with hope and avoid nihilism.

They start with phrases such as by Camus, “Everything is permitted. It is not an outburst of relief or of joy, but rather a bitter acknowledgement of a fact.” Or by Dostoevsky, “If there is no God, everything is permissible.” But after saying this, they back off. All of a sudden, they start writing about good and evil as if those terms have meaning outside of whatever random meaning an individual or the powers-that-be arbitrarily give to them. Why do they back off of it? Are they cowards? Is this all part of God’s playing with His hatred of the poor, to create false hope to hide His hatred of many of us?

The dead are dead. There is nothing that I can do to help them. Even if they were alive, they should really not mean much to me. Based on my life experience and reading of history, at any given time, considering both the reality and potential of human nature, 90% to 95% of humanity is divided into four kinds of humans: 1) those who would walk into gas chambers to die when ordered; 2) those who would do the ordering; 3) those who would do the killing; and 4) those who would clean up afterwards. The remaining 5% to 10% of humanity, at any given time might refuse all four.

Are those remaining the ones that are troubling me? Am I in that 5% to 10%? The problem with this percentile division or categorizing of humanity is that those who make up any of these categories at any given time are completely random. It varies from time to time, depending on the circumstances. So, today’s gas chamber victim may be tomorrow’s executioner. Today’s hero may be tomorrow’s coward. The same is true for me. This is all part of God’s hatred for the poor. Any one of us, depending on the circumstances, could fall into any one of these categories.

In some ways, being poor is a great excuse for going through life, once you reach maturity. Many advocates for the materially poor complain about the loss of opportunity. Among the poor, there may be a wasted Albert Einstein, Nelson Mandela, or whoever might exist, and we are wasting their potential. Well, also among the poor might exist a future Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler, or whoever. If these two, for example, had stayed poor and in poverty and died young, it might have been the best thing that ever happened to them and to the world. At least if you died as a victim of the gas chambers, you will be remembered with pity and kindness. That might not have been true if you had actually had a chance to live.

One’s status in life as hero or villain is purely random for the vast majority of humans. So, the poor themselves are not a reason to care about them. In his book, The Confessions, the so-called Church Father St. Augustine stated, argued, and essentially realized that even babies are either evil or have the potential for it. He exclaims to God, “No one is free from sin in Your sight, not even an infant, who’s span of early life is but a single day.” As St. Augustine explained, “What, then, was my sin at that age? Was it perhaps that I cried so greedily for those breasts?” That is, of his mother, for milk. “Certainly, if I behave like that now, greedy not for breasts, of course, but for food suitable to my age, I should provoke derision and be very properly rebuked. My behavior then was equally deserving of rebuke.” He complains that once he saw a mother with two babies, who, while trying to feed one, the other cried out of envy and jealousy for his turn at the trough. This is a tough view on life in a tough era in which some theologians, including St. Augustine, even argued and believed in the damnation of unbaptized babies. As a true power of this world and apparently of the next, St. Augustine accepted this condemnation of even babies as the price that he had to pay for eternal happiness for God. What a great human being he was.

It never occurred to him to rebel against such happiness and to rather accept damnation and hell with those babies. So, why should it bother a sinner such a me? And why does that rebellion occur to me as a viable option? In terms of the potential evil of humanity, of even babies, his contemplation was right. Why should he reject his happiness simply because some — maybe as little as 5% of those dead babies — could have been true saints of humanity if given the chance? The differentiation between the lives of those who fit into the 90% – 95% of humanity that I describe as random poor and those in the remaining 5% to 1% that are the powers-that-be are just as random.

The chosen few that have the power to decide for themselves into what percentile they will be, and furthermore, to what percentile the remainder of humanity will be, are chosen randomly. It is a random choice by God. As a random choice, it could have been me placed into any one of the four categories. It could have been me — depending on luck deciding whether I was a gas chamber victim, operator, rebel, or a St. Augustine — deciding into what category the remainder of humanity will be.

So, do I care and have empathy for the poor and hate the powerful as purely a selfish act — as an act of envy — because I am not among the powerful as St. Augustine was; if I had that power, would I not care in the same way that he did not care? Probably. Unlike the existentialists who in the end pretend their concerns are not based on their own self-love but are based on empathy and a concern for humanity, the truth is that their concern and my concern is mostly a selfish act of envy and jealousy as described or as alleged in the Parable of the Workers.

Well, so what if that’s the true motive of my concern? God’s power includes the ability to randomly decide whether He would give me life and what kind of life. He has randomly decided to allow his chosen few to control my life and most of human life. Why should I accept his randomness? He wants me to work all day for the same amount of money as those whom He chose to work in His vineyard for only an hour. Why should I accept that? There is no reason why I should accept it, just as there is no reason why not. By randomly rejecting God and His random choices, I am getting as close to being a god as a human can become. Without that, the only other option for being a god is making a choice to randomly make nothing out of something: killing life. Killing life, the only random act that is even more God-like but for some reason that I cannot choose.

 
I can try to do better than God’s random power. I cannot do better since I am not God but I can at least try to do it. I do not want to accept happiness based on the suffering of babies because by doing such — I say to myself — I would be accepting His arbitrary power over me. I reject His power. Tough talk. But, as we used to say in the Navy, I can talk the talk, but can I walk the walk?

On the Nature of “Deconstruction”

Anyone trying to argue these days on the concepts of race and class will inevitably run into practitioners of deconstruction as a means to analyze the text of arguments. It is a pseudo-philosophical fad that has taken over much of academia and the work of much of the humanities intelligentsia. It was developed by the French so-called philosopher Jacques Derrida. However, unless you have a lot of time on your hands, it is not worthwhile to read him for purposes of getting an understanding of deconstruction either as a methodology or a philosophy. Like many in continental philosophy, especially French existential and post-existential philosophy, Derrida has mastered the art of writing in a dense, convoluted, and nonsensical manner that allows uncritical readers to assume his writing must be profound and intelligent instead of nonsense (though, to be fair, the same can be said of some of present analytic philosophy such as much of its philosophy of mind and philosophy of language). The best way to understand deconstruction is to see it in action. As an example, I will deconstruct the first line of President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

 
From an analytic or logic-centric or logocentric perspective as it is derisively called by post-modernists, the first aspect that strikes me about this line is that it is false — it does not state what factually is or was. Our nation was not conceived in liberty nor dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Quite the opposite, the founders conceived our nation on violence upon others with the foundation belief that some are better or more capable to govern than others and they created a government based upon and designed to survive such a perspective on factual reality. Based on these conclusions, using the classical rules of logic and historical analysis, we can go on to discuss why the founders so conceived it and the ramifications of their reasons — that is what worked and what did not work to create a functioning nation. Further, unless we assume Lincoln was an idiot, we can contemplate why he would use an assertion he must have known to be false as a starting premise? This is a profound epistemic question. Is it the case — as many analytic philosophers in epistemology argue — that a false belief can be used to reach true knowledge? Of course, all of this contemplation requires an understanding of the extent to which a reader can give meaning to this text — which itself involves contemplation of the extent to which readers give meaning to text instead of those who wrote it and are no longer around such as Lincoln.

 
For deconstruction of this text however, the text is immaterial. It is not important to read or to try to understand the present of the text or what is present in the text in order to understand its true meaning but to see the contradictions created by what is the absence of text or what is absent in the text. It is here that a critical reader runs into the first problem with deconstruction: there are an infinite amount of actual and possible worlds, words, and concepts missing from the text, which do we pick from this infinity of absence or transcendental nothingness to give the text its supposedly true meaning? That is obvious: what is missing from the text are women, gays, blacks, transsexuals, and other oppressed who are omitted by the white male Lincoln as a result of the structural patriarchy of his logocentric whiteness reality. Why is this obvious? It is obvious because the humanities professor who teaches deconstruction says it is obvious.

 
This leads to other problems if you are corrupted by logocentric thinking. If the text is immaterial, then why even bother to read it? The first line might as well be Lincoln’s laundry list or say “our nation was founded upon apples and oranges” because what is absent from the text — or its transcendental nothingness as many of the worshipers of deconstruction call it — will be the same infinite set of possible world nothingness that must be transcended. Does not this mean that the truth of any text can mean whatever the person doing the deconstruction wants it to mean? Now you are getting it! No matter what you write, the truth of any given text will be same: whatever the person doing the deconstruction decides ought to be the truth of the text.

 
Contemplate how powerful the methodology of deconstruction is. It requires no logical thinking nor any rational skill other than being able to imagine what is not present in text — you do not even need to be able to read the text in any way but in a primitive or introductory sense. It is not limited by any reality that you can sense — not even by the sense reality of the words being deconstructed. Its infinity of options is limited only by the normative values of those doing the deconstruction.

 
It is based simply on argument by authority analogous to religious dogma: upon the authority of the intellectual teaching it in the same way divine law would be defined by God. If one professor indoctrinates deconstruction into a class of twenty students, we have twenty worshipers of deconstruction. If each teaches it to another twenty students and this goes on for years, you see how deconstruction has taken over the humanities academia and the intelligentsia. Its most powerful aspect is that it cannot be argued against logically or rationally: rejection of logic-centric or logocentric reasoning is its initial premise. It is argument from authority that can only be opposed by other authority. This is one reason why present political argument in the United States and much of the Western world has been reduced to virtue signaling and attacks on personal morality and ethics through the methodology of deconstruction. For example, it is irrelevant what the immigration policies of the United States should be pragmatically; what is important is how good or evil those advocating the policies are. Thus, any immigration policy proposed by President Trump is evil because he is evil, and any immigration policy proposed by President Obama was good because he is good even though the immigration policies are factually the same. Every written fact can be deconstructed down to an ethical or moral analysis of the writer of the decision or of those designating something to be a fact — the conclusion on the virtue of the writer decides the virtue of the decision.

 
What can workers do about this struggle for power among the elite and their intelligentsia? As usual, nothing much. As I wrote earlier, ethics is simply ruling class ideology. The efficiency of modern Technological Society allows the ruling class to argue among themselves for power regardless of whether their arguments pragmatically serve any purpose other than power. The founders of our nation at least had to win their war to found a nation. Such is no longer required of a ruling class. They can simply deconstruct our nation down to a constant struggle among hoi polloi in which it exists with no essence but the will to power of the ruling class. As I have written before and as Orwell wrote in 1984, “God is Power”. As the song goes:

I’ll move myself and my family aside If we happen to be left half alive

And the party on the left
Is now the party on the right
And the beards have all grown longer overnight


I’ll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around

Just like yesterday
Then I’ll get on my knees and pray
We don’t get fooled again
Don’t get fooled again, no no

The Who, “Won’t Get Fooled Again”

Why does God hate the Poor: The Answer

I have finally reached the point of being able to answer the question that I am asking: why does God hate the poor? I have defined the nature of the God of the ontological proof and contemplated the issues that come up when trying to understand why He hates the poor. I have either resolved those issues or defined them as necessary so that I can answer the question.

 
The answer as to why God hates the poor turns out to be very simple, and it goes right back to the ontological nature of the God of our contemplation as the reason there is something instead of nothing. He hates the poor because He can. He is the ultimate power and can do whatever He wants. In fact, since She acts by necessity, She must do whatever She wants. If you could choose your acts and had the power to do whatever you want, you would choose to exercise the power to do whatever you want. God acts by necessity, not from incompleteness requiring choice. He is what He is and can be.

 
It sounds as if we are getting into matters of which one cannot speak logically and wherefore one should be silent. Given the importance of this issue and the time spent on contemplating it, I want to keep in mind that logic is not the end-all tool for truth and illusion. The logical mind is creative and imaginative and can use fictional analogy as a means to reach truth and illusion when logic reaches its endpoint for either. Through logic’s creativity and imagination, I want to clarify my answer to the question I am asking by going back to the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard and my card-game analogy. The Parable is a good description of my answer to the question except for two facts: 1) it describes an agreement between God and the workers; 2) the Parable assumes free will.

 

The Parable justifies God’s hate of the workers who worked all day for him by saying they were offered a deal to work all day for a denarius, accepted the deal, got the deal, and therefore have nothing to complain about. That is not a true analogy of life, especially not for the workers of the world. God, the vineyard owner, not only creates the vineyard and similarly the cards of the game of life but also created the workers, players, pay, ante, vineyard, game, and the work needed to be done and knows better than anyone the hands or the work at the end of the day. He designed the pay scale and odds so that only a small percentage of people will win at the expense of many others, and He knows who the winners will be and who the losers will be. To say that the workers freely made an agreement, contract, deal, or whatever, or that they knew they were making a contract, deal, agreement, or whatever is an absurdity. It is outright deceit and dishonesty that shows theology and Christianity at its worst. If the workers had known that God would be paying the same amount to the workers who did nothing all day, they would have waited until then to accept an offer to work. The fact is that they did not know what He would do until He actually did what He did. They could not know it because He can randomly do whatever He wants, whenever He wants.

 

Free will to deal with God, if it exists, is reserved for those few with the power to enter into contracts with God, not for the poor who can not or have only an “I live or I die” choice to accept the power of God and His work in His vineyard.

 
That is why I am asking this question in the first place. The choice to work in a vineyard or not to work is an “I live or I die” choice for workers. If this is how Christian theology, or any theology, defines free will then maybe there is free will for workers but otherwise there is none. More likely, free will does not exist in making a choice to live or die but only in accepting or rebelling against your destiny and fate in life. There is no reason, justification, or any rational basis for God’s hatred of the poor — it is simply an exercise of pure power — and thus we can accept it on the same nihilistic basis or rebel against it through our own nihilism. God is the ultimate nihilist, but workers can at least be nihilists in our rejection of God’s nihilism when we finally know of it. As Spinoza argued, knowledge that we are not free is the ultimate freedom.

 
George Orwell ends 1984 with the character Winston ending his “self-willed exile from the loving breast” and accepts death not with rebellion but with tears realizing, “[i]t is all right. Everything was all right. The struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.” The Powers-that-be try to make power seem to be some kind of inhuman evil to be avoided. It is similar to those people with a lot of money saying money is not everything or does not buy you happiness. It is the essence of humanity to seek power but such search is seeking for God. This is true of all reality — organic or inorganic, matter or energy, or whatever fiction is used to describe and try to control reality. The search for power is the search for God, either to be with God or to become a god. And it cannot be avoided if we are living humans. If the New Testament ended at the crucifixion, there would be no Christianity and no Christian saints who reject all worldly power. It ends with the power of the Resurrection: The promise of unity with the ultimate Power of this and all worlds.

 
I have answered the question at issue, in large part but not completely. When I started this contemplation, part of my questioning was what do we do with the answer? Given God’s hatred of the poor, what do we the workers do about it, if anything? What should God be doing about it, if anything? In the presence of the indifference of the universe, what difference does the answer make? Paraphrasing Dostoevsky and Camus, should we accept the hope of a reward from God of happiness as compensation for a single moment of human suffering? Or, as the ultimate act of human power against the random power of God, should we spit in His face and reject God and thus become a god ourselves — not by being the reason for there being something instead of nothing as God is, but by being the reason for there being nothing instead of something. Nietzsche ridiculed that humans rather wish for nothing than not wish at all. What is the ultimate victory over the hate of the universe to our existence: to accept our fate and be free through the knowledge we are not free; to wish for nothing though we do not control satisfaction of the wish; or to stop the wishing?

 
This is not an ethical question that can be answered by society. Society, controlled by the Powers-that-be, will always choose the power of wishing. Essentially, the Powers will always choose to continue their Power over others in a search for power as an end in itself — this is how they find the God that loves them. Ethics is a set of rules created by those in power to stay in power. This remaining issue of what to do about the reason for God’s hatred of the poor is a moral question, to be answered by any individual who can ask it. This moral question has its own unique set of problems that I need to contemplate.

Why does God hate the Poor: Who Are the Hated Poor? Part II

According to Christians, by reference to such concepts as the Sermon on the Mount and the Beatitudes, they argue that their God of the Trinity through its Second Person Jesus Christ as human may have the option to hate but has always chosen and will always choose to love humanity because He is one of us. He needs the Third Person of the Trinity the Holy Spirit to act with the God of the ontological proof that I am contemplating. It may be that the entire concept of the Trinity was created by Christian Theologians to deal with the question of hate by the God of the ontological proof. This serves as a final exemplification of my concept of the poor in my question at issue.

 

As usual, Christian arguments — as with any religious, ethical, or moral argument — depend on a careful picking of dogma and, for Christianity, of biblical passages while ignoring others. Because it exemplifies God’s hate of the poor, one of my favorite biblical passages is Matthew 20:1-16 known as “The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard”. This Parable goes as follows:

For the Kingdom of Heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard.

About nine in the morning, He went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. He told them, “You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.” So they went.

 
He went out again about noon and about three in the afternoon and did the same thing. About five in the afternoon, He went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, “Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?” “Because no one has hired us,” they answered. He said to them, “You also go and work in my vineyard.”

 
When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, “Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.” The workers who were hired about five in the afternoon came and each received a denarius. So when those who came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. When they received it, they began to grumble against the landlord. “Those who were hired last worked only for one hour,” they said, “and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work in the heat of the day.”

 
But he answered one of them, “I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?”

 

In this Parable, the Jesus Christ Person of the Trinity admits to the hateful nature of God and sees no problem with it. God as the vineyard owner is being an unjust, unfair, and hateful boss to the workers who spent all day working hard for Him in the hot sun, but according to God, so what? It is His vineyard and His money. He can do whatever He wants with it — which is true. What is funny or sad about this Parable is that this portion of it admitting that even the New Testament God is unjust, unfair, and hateful is ignored by accusations of “envy” against the workers who simply wanted a fair distribution basis of equal pay for equal work for their wage slavery to the vineyard owner. Usually this Parable is taken as a lesson against envy: the workers who worked all day and expected to be paid based on the work done for their work were envious of those who got paid the same for doing less work.  This is envy?

 

Maybe they are envious, so what? They should be envious. Is it envy for the vineyard owner to want as much money or more money for his grapes than those of the other vineyard owners? No. Is it envy for the vineyard owner to try to maximize the profit of his vineyard so that it makes as much or more than the other vineyards? No. Is not envy, greed, and a will-to-power some of the necessary foundation motivations of capitalism, the best economic system that we have available at the present time? Is not envy such as is exhibited by the vineyard workers what gave workers in history the aggression to form unions and fight for a fair distribution of wages giving us such benefits as the 40 hour week and weekends (that we are gradually losing as we lose unions)? If it is envy to want equal pay for equal work, then I do not see how envy is much of a sin. Why does the Parable only lecture the poor about envy as a vice? It would be a waste to lecture the vineyard owner for owning more land than he and his family can work; civilized society would break down if such excessive ownership were to be a vice.

 
If Christians are going to argue the Trinity as a way to get God’s love back into the card game of reality, one must also have to admit that it may be the Trinity is the reason why the love of God was out of the card game in the first place. If God was really just one Being and reality is pantheistic with this Being, we would all by necessity know equally all of His love. Since He is not but includes supposedly a human Person, this human Person may be the means by which God stays out of the card game of life. Regardless, this is a side issue, and we’re definitely getting into areas whereof one cannot speak thereof one must be silent and getting away from my question of why God hates the poor. Again, He is God. He can do whatever He wants — as the Parable of the Workers admits. If He wanted, He could have started all the workers at the same time. He could have created shift work so all the workers worked the same amount of hours. He could have created some kind of pay system where everyone gets equal pay for equal work. As an all-powerful God, there are an infinite number of things He could have done. He did what He did, and does what God does. At least in our reality, He clearly hates the poor and treats some who live in this reality different, better or worse, than others. Whether there are possible worlds with different realities is a question beyond this blog.

 
I seem to have reached a point at which I should be finally able to answer the question. I have contemplated the ontological nature of God — Her relationship to justice, fairness, morality, ethics, good, evil, love and hate. Time for an answer.

Why does God hate the Poor: Who are the hated Poor? Part I

I need to step back a moment from the progression of this contemplation to clarify or define in some clear way who are the poor to whom I am referring so in case anyone reads these contemplations we are contemplating the same people. The only way I can make sure we have the same meaning of “the poor” is by exemplifying how I use that word and its usefulness to me. As I tried to clarify in other essays, though it is a good start to define the poor workers simply in terms of material poverty or as wage slaves, this is a very narrow view of reality. Many of the poor in the United States would be considered well-off materially in many other places in the world. Somewhere in the world, on average, every 15 seconds a child dies of preventable diseases including many resulting from malnutrition or contaminated food or water. Furthermore, qualitatively, as every historical study of the issue confirms, measuring relative to the material quantity or economies of their respective times or era, there is little material difference between the lives of workers stuck as wage slaves their whole lives in modern Technological Society and the lives of chattel slaves in past societies. It is still true as it has been true for much of the past millennia that 1% of the world still control approximately 80% of the world’s material wealth; we are all materially better off because the 100% is so much larger. There is still a lot of material and physical poverty in life but this concept of the poor is incomplete.

 

It is easy to start with a material definition of the poor, but it is a mistake to define or connote the poor solely in terms of material or physical poverty.  This type of definition relying completely on material poverty is not my definition nor is it the definition of Western theology when it says that we will always have the poor among us by which they mean both the materially poor and what they consider to be the spiritually poor. It is usually not even the definition used by atheists or other non-religious, at least not for those who have the empathy to go beyond their own delusional will-to-power to declare God dead so that they can replace Him with whatever new god they want to worship — because they lack the courage to rebel and reject God honestly. Good existential writers such as Kierkegaard, Camus, Dostoevsky, Herman Melville, and many other writers include among the poor those destined to have lives of powerless absurdity. Good existential writers are able to empathize with such a state of affairs. However, my concept of the poor is better brought out by considering how bad existential writers describe the lives of those who live in absurdity — bad existential writers such a Frederick Nietzsche and Jean-Paul Sartre and his girlfriend Simone de Beauvoir.

 
Consider the story of Nietzsche and the Turin horse. Supposedly toward the end of his life, Nietzsche was in Turin, Italy when he happened to see the driver of a horse drawn wagon whipping a horse to get it going. Nietzsche was so moved by this scene that he ran to the horse, hugged it around the neck, and started crying. His friends and family members had to physically force him from the horse; he had an emotional breakdown; and he then spent the remainder of his life in his mother’s apartment being cared after by his mother and his sister. The moral of this story according to the loving readers of Nietzsche is to establish what a sensitive person Nietzsche was and thus by implication show the subtlety and sensitivity of his writings and thus the subtlety and sensitivity of his loving readers. Yeah, right; why did not Nietzsche or his loving readers ever ask what happened to the horse and driver? Like Nietzsche, did they go on to spend the rest of their lives cared for by their mother? The movie Turin Horse by the Hungarian director Bela Tarr asks this question and his answer is they went to work and continued to work the rest of their lives. The driver and the workers are the poor of my question. Nietzsche and his loving ethically superior Dorian Gray worshipers are the rich.

 
Technological Society has replaced the horse by mechanical devices and thus has saved millions of horses from living a life of struggle serving humanity by denying them life since we no longer need horses. However, Technological Society did not do the same for the wagon driver; they are now Uber drivers and the struggle of life and class struggle continues as it must for history to continue.

 
Sartre in his Being and Nothingness describes inauthentic and authentic living as a dialectic of freedom. As an example of inauthentic or bad faith living, he describes a waiter who is “play acting” at being a waiter. He is not complaining the waiter is being too patronizing, phony, or fake such as being overly polite and flattering to get tips but is actually complaining that the waiter is being too good at being a waiter. According to Sartre, being a waiter is just a social construct. It is not really what anyone really is and one should not see their self-identity or identify as being a waiter. According to Sartre, identifying oneself as being a good waiter is an means to deny one’s freedom; it is a means to replace authentic self-identity with a social construct because one is afraid of the freedom to be whatever they want to be. Thus, finding meaning in life as a really good waiter is an inauthentic life.

 
For Sartre and for many of his existential followers, the waiter is denying his freedom by trying to become a social construct. What Sartre is actually exemplifying — as did his girlfriend Beauvoir — is “play acting” at being a philosopher. If the waiter had the luxury to do so, the waiter most likely would live authentically writing pretend philosophy books while sitting in cafes drinking wine with his other writer friends and his girlfriend ridiculing those who are trying to do their job of serving them as best they can. Problem is the waiter does not have that option, he must work for a living and see meaning in that work. The waiter is the poor; Sartre, his girlfriend, and their worshipers are God’s beloved.

 
As I contemplated in other essays, as Wittgenstein’s Private Language Argument brings out, there really is no such thing as self-identity defined by a private language of an individual person. Language is a social construct and thus once we leave areas of pragmatical truth such as science, all descriptions are social descriptions not private ones. The poor and the workers who are the poor in my question do not have a choice of “self-identity”; they are what society says they are. They can fight against their social identity and try to change it but it is a fight they will lose and must lose because they do not control the strategy, tactics, armament, or the field of battle. Society and those who rule it control those and must. The Powers are those who have the power to control what ought to be and what ought to be said about what ought to be. Sartre and others like him have the power to define the waiter as inauthentic, play acting, or whatever normative description they have the power to make; the waiter is stuck with what life gave him. The Powers construct their own social identity and then like Sartre look upon hoi polloi around them as cowards who lack the courage to live authentically after having defined what it means to live authentically.

 
Thanks to the material progress provided by science and technology, we are likely to reach a point in the foreseeable future where material and physical poverty will not exist. Everyone will have the basics necessary for materially and physically having a healthy individual life and perhaps with only robots instead of other humans as servants. This future will result from the past suffering of billions of dead souls — approximately 15 souls for each one of us presently living. Is such future happiness worth the price paid by those dead souls? As Camus and Dostoevsky specifically write, who would dare to assert that eternal happiness can compensate for a single moment of human suffering? The same question can be posed for human happiness in this life. These writers used the example of suffering babies and children and even of purely innocent beasts of burden such as donkeys, mules, and horses who from birth are destined to live lives of struggle for their human masters and then die a lonely death as the lonely animals they are. Dostoevsky’s description of a man beating a horse to death in Crime and Punishment and of the hunting dogs killing a child in his book The Brothers Karamazov are examples that are hard to forget. If these books are too long, try the short stories of George Orwell such A Hanging, Shooting an Elephant, and Makaresh dealing with real-life events that he witnessed. These fictions and stories pale in comparison to real-life tragedy such as the siege of Stalingrad. The Powers of this future will accept happiness based on such a price. More likely, just as social justice warriors do now, they will accept their happiness not upon unity with the past or with a sense of loyalty to their fifteen souls but upon a Dorian Gray sense of moral superiority condemning the past as if it was made up of human idiots and assuming they could have done much better.

 
Are the Powers-that-be willing to accept the massacre of innocents as the price to pay for their eternal happiness? Yes, they are. That is why they are the Powers-that-be. The Powers build their happiness upon the past even when condemning the past so as to control the future: to control what ought to be to make a world in their image. The poor are those that cannot accept such a deal or are not allowed to do so or not even given the choice to do so.

 
Do not get me wrong. I am not ridiculing such a future. Personally, the so-called dystopia of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World is a better world than we have now and better than most of the world that I have seen during my life. Given a choice between being materially rich but spiritually poor or being materially poor but spiritually rich, in my experience most people that have known physical poverty would choose being physically rich over spiritual richness. The reality of life is that money can buy love and happiness both in this life and in the next, but on its own love will only get you hate as the love/hate coin flips. However, this brave new world of the future for which my ancestors and I have fought and struggled to achieve, is it really worth what it took to get there? Does not seem worth it right now. The price for ending physical and material poverty seems to be workers who have lost the will to fight and are viewed as inauthentic waiters by those who also lost the will to fight but do not need to fight.

 
This is the substance of the problem and the nature of the definition of being poor and hated by God. God so hates the poor that the rules of the card game are set so that either the poor must endure the absurd meaninglessness of no physical and material power over their lives or endure the meaninglessness of a lack of a will to power for their lives while the chosen few Powers-that-be enjoy both material and normative power not only over their lives but over the lives of the poor. For most of humanity, it is either material poverty or spiritual poverty. It is one or the other. This is free will? This is worse than no choice at all. In the future, the poor will be defined not by material poverty but by a poverty of will; it will still be poverty.

 
God can do whatever He wants. She is doing it. So why does it bother me? Is it really envy that is my problem as the Bible says in the Parable of the Workers? Is it what Nietzsche called resentment: the herd’s envy of their betters? Should I just accept my fate in life? This is the final issue that I must face in defining and clarifying who are the poor in my question of why does God hate the poor.

 

Why Does God Hate the Poor: Can God Hate?

Now that I have ontologically defined love and hate and have considered the option of living without either, what about God? Does He love, hate, or exist in a passionless existence without either?

 

God by ontological definition is the reason there is something instead of nothing. So the element of existing and continuing to exist must be present. If He were to hate Himself, there would have to be another reason why there is something instead of nothing and that would be God. So we are back to the ontological proof of God’s existence. As discussed earlier, as an omnipresent, omniscient, complete being, She exists by necessity and thus is Her own meaning. Therefore, She does satisfy the three elements of love but only nominally in the same way that She has a will as we discussed earlier. He has to love Himself in the same way He has to will His existence. He nominally wills and loves. Just as God wills by necessity as a source of something instead of nothing not in a human sense of willing or wanting something we lack, God ontologically must love Herself because She must. God cannot hate Herself as humans can and do. This means that She cannot be passionless. Even if God does not hate, there will always be self-love in God. The more interesting question is can He hate others. He cannot hate Himself, but what about the something that He has created?

If we are all just thoughts in the mind of God, as some idealist and the pantheistic philosopher Spinosa and many Ancient and Eastern philosophies say we are then we should all share and know of the self-love that God has. In which case, I would not be asking the question that I am asking. However, I am asking it, and it is clear that God loving Himself is not a love present in all living things, at least not in humans. God’s self-love seems to be present in animals and in non-human life because they do not commit suicide nor suffer consciousness and perception of a meaningless existence. So in nature, the natural world and non-human life seem to be a reflection of God’s love and always have God’s self-love whereas humans on the other hand not only can lack it and contemplate suicide but actually lose it and commit suicide.

 
As I stated earlier, we can contemplate self-love rationally because our individual existence is the only knowledge we have. I know I exist simply by existing; what else exists rationally requires evidence or proof. When we go beyond existential attributes of our existence, we start contemplating matters “whereof one cannot speak thereof one must be silent” however we cannot because these are important matters. I will try to do the best I can without becoming fiction or pure aesthetics by not abandoning the three classical rules of logic: identity, non-contradiction, and the excluded middle. To say that we cannot speak of something is a contradiction because we are speaking about it. Thus logic to a limited extent is able to speak about that which it cannot speak but only to a very limited extent as we have been contemplating. However, if this ontological language violates these basic rules of logic, then just as for other logical statements, the language cannot be knowledge ontologically or otherwise and we are getting into aesthetics.

 
Since God must love Himself, if we are really just thoughts in the mind of God, this love should be evident in all of us. It clearly is not. The reality is and it is factually undisputed that God hates certain people, in particular the poor, and that this hate even extends to animals and other creations while He loves others. In reality, it is factually undisputed that He prefers certain lives to exist, to continue existing, and to have meaning and thus loves them while others He hates. So as much as I admire Spinosa, we have to reject his pantheistic view of reality.

 
It seems in my initial card game analogy is more accurate than it appeared to be at first. Somehow God, the reason there is something instead of nothing, set up the cards, card table, antes, and players; got the game started; and now is sitting back outside the game watching to see how it all ends though He knows how it all ends. God does love nominally. Furthermore, since reality establishes that He does hate, God does hate but not Himself. Somehow God was able to create something and then remain outside of the something created. How can He do this? On this question, we have truly reached an issue whereof one cannot speak thereof one must be silent.

 

However, the answer of how He does hate does not matter to a question of why He hates the poor. He can and does.

 
The concept of the Trinity just as polytheism — breaking up the reason there is something instead of nothing into many reasons — might have been created by Christian theologians and the rational mind of the religious as a way to get around this essentially amoral nature of God. God knows He is amoral as He knows everything. In order to reach an understanding with His human creations, God becomes human so on and so forth and this requires a Holy Spirit to mediate between the two. Does this Trinity and polytheism generally help us in any way on this issue of God’s hate of the poor? Not really, hate for the poor is still hate for the poor, but I want to discuss this option as a side issue for a moment before I continue with my questioning and contemplation.

Why Does God Hate the Poor: Can God Love? Part III

As a result of our contemplation of the question of why does God hate the poor, we have been able to define love and to define hate. Self-love is an act of the will by which it states I want to exist; I want to continue existing; and I hope for meaning in my existence. Once meaning is found, love is the pursuit of that meaning, and it can negate the first two elements. Once we have self-love, we can love others or things: that is we want them to exist; to continue existing; and to have meaning in life. Hate is the opposite of love. Hate is an act of the will stating that someone or something should not exist; should not continue existing; and should not have meaning in life. In order to love others or things, one must first have self-love because our existence is the only certain existential knowledge, but self-love does not necessarily entail love of others or things. One can love oneself yet hate.

 
Does this result mean that living with love or hate are the only options for human life? Pull out one of the three elements of love and we no longer have love neither self-love nor love of others, but we do have something. We can continue to exist without love. The same is true for the elements of hate. Something of this existence can be seen in the character of Meursault in Albert Camus’s story The Stranger. This character has given up hope for meaning in life and, therefore, does not love either himself or others. At certain points of the story, he has given up on the second element of wanting to continue to exist and lives in the moment of existence. Thus, he is not bothered by the death of his mother nor by a murder he committed without thought and without hate nor about his own impending death. He does not have self-hate nor hatred of others. He does not go beyond the moment. He has neither love nor hate. He lives a life without passion we would say. It is an existence without passion. Many theologians say that such human existence is not possible: that he is the lukewarm of the New Testament. As Jesus said in the New Testament, “So then because you are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will spit you out of my mouth.”

 

It may be true that a Christian life without passion is not possible, but it is certainly possible for life overall. It is probably the way animals look at life, without love or hate of it, that is without passion. As long as Meursault is conscious and approves of his momentary existence — that is he is conscious and perceives what is necessary to live physically — he can continue to exist this loveless and hateless life. Such an existence in fact may make him closer to our God of the ontological proof than any loving or hateful human being would be. He has his own existence and is satisfied with it. This type of existence is what God is: Her existence is Her meaning. I have defined God as the reason there is something instead of nothing, but it may be that He is nothing more than that. The universe definitely exists in this way without need of meaning and without need of passion. By just existing with an indifference to all and to all he does, Meursault is more in one with the universe and more in one with the wholeness of the one or the oneness of the whole or whatever it is the Buddhists say than anyone who loves or hates. The problem with Meursault existing solely in the moment without passion of any kind is that his life cannot lead to love, morality, good, justice, or any normative statements. At the same time, however, it cannot lead to hate, immorality, evil, or injustice. Furthermore, this indifference has its own eternity:

Death is not an event in life: we do not live to experience death. If we take eternity to mean not infinite temporal duration but timelessness, then eternal life belongs to those who live in the present. Our life has no end in the way in which our visual field has no limits. — Ludwig Wittgenstein at §6.4311 of Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus

 

Concepts such as morality and ethics only come into existence when we accept the second element of love by wanting to continue to exist, and thus we need to create social norms to give us power to protect our existence. Living in the moment, one would not need ethics. One would not need morality. One does not need love. One does really need anything except one’s own existence and the physical means to maintain it. There may still be the will to power, but that is an issue for another day. Both love and hate have three required elements. Pull any of these out and you no longer have love or hate. But, there is something. There is a passionless existence; it is an existence consisting solely of the individual and the will to exist. A passionless existence without love or hate is still an option for human existence.

 
But is it an option for God? In which one of these states does God exist: love, hate, or indifference? I have framed the question at hand as one of God hating the poor but if it turns out He cannot hate the poor because he does not hate, it seems that I may be asking a meaningless question. I do not think so. The facts of reality establish that God hates the poor regardless of what my ontological reasoning may imply because this may be a matter of which we cannot speak rationally. I will have to contemplate this issue further. For now, on the issue of humans living a life of indifference, I end with a quote from Buffy the Vampire Slayer made by Angelus during the time he lacked a soul:

Passion. It lies in all of us. Sleeping. Waiting. And though unwanted, unbidden, it will stir, open its jaws and howl.
It speaks to us, guides us. Passion rules us all, and we obey. What other choice do we have? Passion is the source of our finest moments, the joy of love, the clarity of hatred, and the ecstasy of grief. It hurts sometimes more than we can bear. If we could live without passion, maybe we’d know some kind of peace, but we would be hollow empty rooms, shuttered and dead. Without passion, we’d be truly dead.