Anyone who enters into a moral argument does so at the risk of being labeled a virtue signaler. I make no claim of virtue, nor am I an ethicist or Biblical Apologist. Most of my thoughts today are not my own but, come from the teachings of Fr. James V. Schull S. J. and Pope John Paul II. Both men are now deceased but were uncanny in their anticipation years in advance of the current siren claims of corporate sin and “wokeness”.
An understanding of the increasing void in morality and the need to fill that emptiness in the souls of people searching for meaning in their lives was prescient. Understanding that we are all made in the image of our Creator and that the “original sin” we all share is from the first sin when man turned away from his Creator is important to understand as we begin this discussion. The Abrahamic religions share this understanding of original sin. Original sin is not “corporate sin” as described by the practitioners of wokeness.
WOKEISM HAS BECOME A CREED—a religion unto itself. In today’s Wall Street Journal Vivek Ramaswamy a Hindu of Indian descent and the founder of a multi-billion biotech company opines that wokeism in the Western world has arisen in “response to the moral vacuum created by the ebbing of faith, patriotism and the identity we derive from hard work.” He continues: “Our collective insecurity has left us vulnerable to the blandishments and propaganda of the new political corporate elites.” The new wokeness has replaced the classic virtues. Notions like “equity, inclusion, and sustainability have replaced the GOLDEN RULE or Biblical teachings—’What you do unto the least of my brother you do unto me”. The cries of “I’m Woke” coming from the halls of government and corporate America and the academy and the confidence they have in their moral arguments reminds me of the story in Luke about the Pharisee and the tax collector that went to the temple. The Pharisee prayed of his goodness, the tax collector prayed “have mercy on me Lord” Who was the virtue signaler? Who is confident in their own self-righteousness? We should all pray to God “Have Mercy on me Lord” We are all sinners and wokeness doesn’t address our own individual sin.
Collective guilt means the sins of the father are visited on the sons. The classic reference can be found in Ezekiel 18. Sons are not to be punished for the sins of their fathers and fathers are not supposed to be punished for the sins of their sons. Collective guilt is calculated by blood, affinity or skin color and not by individual choice. Collective guilt is vindictive, it justifies hatred, and punishment for sins committed generations past. Pope John II wanted to cleanse the memory of collective guilt. Corporate guilt like corporate logic can only be applied contemporaneously. “What is true of the whole is not true of the part”—was that Plato or Aristotle? Slavery was our great sin, but it was the hearts of individual men and women who allowed it to fester, and it was the hearts of individual men and women who sacrificed— 600,00 men and women died in the Civil War including 40,000 Black men who gave their lives for liberty. People have died and sacrificed through Jim Crow and up until today. The battle for “liberty for all” will be unending.
I have spent the past several days watching several presentations by Dr. Ibrab X. Kendi on the internet. He is a prolific author of several books—I’ve only read one, and many articles, I’ve only read 2. During his online presentations and in what I have read so far there is a recurring theme—”All along we have been trying to change people when we really need to change policy” This is a communal approach to an ethical and moral problem. He has even advocated for a government department made up of unelected officials to review all State and Federal Policies and to review subsequent legislation at all levels of government. Talk about centralization of power. Coercion by the government replaces the conscience of the individual. It is far easier to bring in the Gestapo than it is to change the hearts and souls of people. It is also easier to pit one faction against a minority faction—the very opposite of what our end game should be.
The reason God judges us after we die is that He judges our hearts. Laws and governments judge our actions contemporaneously. Putting, a modern-day legal standard on the acts of generations past or in the future is at best presumptuous, and at worst sanctimonious and sacrilegious. By what standard are we to judge past generations? “Judge not lest thee be judged” Judge my actions, but not my heart. Do we really want future generations to judge the killing of 80 million baby boys and girls that have occurred in our country since ROE v WADE? Do we today in our logic of civic vengeance remove all the memory of our past—the good and the bad? Should we not follow Lincoln’s model based on the Beatitudes for reconstruction— (Mercy, Forgiveness, and Reconciliation)? Reparation—revenge—vengeance are all destructive— self-destructive.
Jesus specifically told us to render unto Caesar. WE are ultimately accountable individually to ourselves and to God, for our charity, for the love and respect we show each other. WE will obey laws that define our social and civic interaction with others. We will all be held accountable by God for what we harbor in our hearts and for the actions that follow.
Communal accountability—guilt by association, is a slippery slope. It pits groups against each other. It is self-destructive. It has never worked and in most cases, the favored groups have suffered the most when the promised march to utopia self-destructs.