Saying One Thing, Doing Another: The Way of Our Elites

…and there’s nothing new about it.  Consider this, from Philo Judaeus’ The Worse Plotting Against the Better, XXI, written about the time Our Lord was on the earth:

But it is the nature of sophists to have for enemies the faculties which are in them, while their language is at variance with their thoughts and their thoughts with their language, and while neither is in the least degree consistent with the other. At all events, they wear out our ears, arguing that justice is a great bond of society, that temperance is a profitable thing, that continence is a virtuous thing, that piety is a most useful thing, and, of each other virtue, that it is a most wholesome and saving quality. And, on the other hand, that injustice is a quality with which we ought to have no truce, that intemperance is a diseased habit, that impiety is scandalous, and so going through every kind of wickedness, that each sort is most pernicious. And, nevertheless, they never cease showing by their conduct that their real opinion is the reverse of their language. But, when they extol prudence and temperance and justice and piety, they then show that they are, above all measure, foolish, and intemperate, and unjust, and impious; in short, that they are throwing into confusion and overturning all divine and human regulations and principles

If there’s one thing we should be learning from the Wikileaks revelations, it’s that our elites don’t operate any different now than from the sophists of Philo’s day.  And that’s something that this blog has hammered on for a long time.  The fact that Christians can so blithely think they can “move up” and have an impact in this society without entangling themselves in this kind of thing is a major failure of the church.

4 Replies to “Saying One Thing, Doing Another: The Way of Our Elites”

  1. On the other hand, when I read last year at the beginning of the campaign that Trump’s base was forming from the lower middle class, I knew à la the 30’s that fascism/authoritarianism weren’t far behind.

    No class has a monopoly on vice. But society is “the only object of idolatry.”

    I agree that the Church has done a bad job of recognizing Satan as “the prince of this world” and explaining who the “powers and principalities” of worldliness are. But that actually strikes me as a kind of a middle class “niceness.”


    I might compare them to a man who should study the tempers and desires of a mighty strong beast who is fed by him–he would learn how to approach and handle him, also at what times and from what causes he is dangerous or the reverse, and what is the meaning of his several cries, and by what sounds, when another utters them, he is soothed or infuriated; and you may suppose further, that when, by continually attending upon him, he has become perfect in all this, he calls his knowledge wisdom, and makes of it a system or art, which he proceeds to teach, although he has no real notion of what he means by the principles or passions of which he is speaking, but calls this honourable and that dishonourable, or good or evil, or just or unjust, all in accordance with the tastes and tempers of the great brute. Good he pronounces to be that in which the beast delights and evil to be that which he dislikes…


    1. I think that the dispossessed being led by a billionaire is purely American. The Europeans wouldn’t do it that way; about the only exception I can think of is Friedrich Engels, and he didn’t lead much of anything in his lifetime. Given the progressive breakdown in the rule of law–or more precisely the perceived need of same–the outcome of all this is highly problematic. We are in uncharted waters.

      The Church didn’t do what they did out of “niceness;” they did it to go along with the aspirational nature of their congregants. That’s a major reason Christianity is in trouble; it’s no longer the “way up” in this country, and the Church is left in the lurch.


  2. Uncharted indeed.

    Niceness, conformity, mediocrity, fear, material aspirations–none of it is really Christian. If the invisible true Church has to divest itself of those things, well narrow is the path.


    1. There’s a great free online etymology dictionary that is helpful to see how language has changed over time (revealing goal oriented patterns).

      I invite you to search the word “nice”. Yes, the way that leads to life is narrow – it’s arms wide and as my children say, “you can’t enter holding hands, only one at a time”.


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