Sunday, April 5, 2015

The Pope and Nietzsche: An Easter Dialogue.


With cameo appearances by John Maynard Keynes, Rush Limbaugh, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, and yours truly.

Here’s Pope Francis explaining why his social concerns (inequality, poverty, lack of solidarity, hunger in the world, the suffering of children) do not make of him a Marxist:
(With Spanish accent, in humbly conciliatory tone) “There is nothing in the Exhortation [‘Evangelii Gaudium’] that cannot be found in the social Doctrine of the Church. (…) I was not, I repeat, speaking from a technical point of view but according to the Church’s social doctrine. This does not mean being a Marxist.” (link)
Here’s Friedrich Nietzsche, prophet of those who "are the quality in life and surely carry the seeds of all human advancement", explaining why he’s unmoved by the Pope’s words:
(German accent, shouting rabidly) “Whom do I hate most heartily among the rabbles of today? The rabble of Socialists, the apostles to the Chandala, who undermine the workingman’s instincts, his pleasure, his feeling of contentment with his petty existence -- who make him envious and teach him revenge … Wrong never lies in unequal rights; it lies in the assertion of 'equal' rights … What is bad? But I have already answered: all that proceeds from weakness, from envy, from revenge. The anarchist and the Christian have the same ancestry.” (“The Antichrist”, page 58)
Here’s John Maynard Keynes:
(English aristocratic accent, smirking contemptuously) “In one respect Communism but follows other famous religions. It exalts the common man and makes him everything. ()
“We hate Communism so much, regarded as a religion, that we exaggerate its economic inefficiency; and we are so much impressed by its economic inefficiency that we underestimate it as a religion.” (“A Short View of Russia”, link)
Rush Limbaugh:
(In barely coherent Yank English) “But, regardless, what this is -- somebody has either written this for him or gotten to him. This is just pure Marxism coming out of the mouth of the Pope.” (link)
Yours truly, in second-hand Aussie accent: Holy Father, let's try and see the bright side of this. At least Limbaugh doesn't hate you.

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Given the example of  Óscar Romero (among a great many others) and in spite of the above, readers may, nevertheless, think it prudent for Pope Francis to make it clear his distance with Marxism. The opposition to Marxism, they could add, is due to its association with the Soviet Union.

Perhaps Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels would have understood the concern. But, they would have been skeptical about that solution. Marx and Engels writing in the winter of 1847-1848 (70 years before the Russian Revolution):
"Where is the party in opposition that has not been decried as communistic by its opponents in power? Where is the opposition that has not hurled back the branding reproach of communism, against the more advanced opposition parties, as well as against its reactionary adversaries?" ("The Communist Manifesto", Preface)

There's little point in dialogue when the other side is deaf to one's voice (this goes to you too, Robert).

Perhaps you should try the advice of David Ruccio and Robert Paul Wolff: first you need to decide on which side you are on and let the chips fall where they may. It won't stop the abuse, but at least you could sleep soundly at night.

UPDATE:
27/05/2015. Predictably, a young and psychopathic ignoramus would eventually parrot the same crap Keynes and Nietzsche penned before him, as proof of his (it's a male, trust me on that) erudition:
"Marxism and Catholicism. My first thoughts are we are seeing two denominations of the same failed religion, with both reflecting blind faith over rationality and reason. History hasn’t been kind to either over the last century or two has it?" (26 May 2015 at 2:57 pm, check the comments thread)
See also here.

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