16 August 2018

A Biblical Imperative

n.b. This is not my preferred — or an adequately scholarly — translation, but it's close enough for government work and available free online.

[…] The child will not share the guilt of the parent, nor will the parent share the guilt of the child. The righteousness of the righteous will be credited to them, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against them.

Ezekiel 18:20.

So much for the sins: They shall not be held against descendants. Accord Deuteronomy 24:16. (At least not here; many other verses in That Inimical Book hold otherwise, see, e.g., Exodus 20:5 and 34:7, Deuteronomy 5:9, Isaiah 14:21; cf., e.g., Matthew 18:21.) That is not our concern today, and certainly not regarding government or business or the arts or damned near anything else. Instead, we should flip the coin (that coin which embodies all that is Caesar's) and ask: When may we presume the merits of the fathers (or mothers, Loretta) in their sons or daughters (or daughters), let alone their sons-in-law?

I would ordinarily answer "never." But that would merely demonstrate that I am not fit to be a Daley, or Pendergast, or Kennedy… or a Rockefeller, or Paul, or Trump. That I am not fit to be an Amis, or Wainwright, or Sinatra, or Winslow. That I cannot be comfortable with the inherited wealth of a Pritzker or Walton or Redstone. To which I reply: That is, indeed, my bloody point — no one is, or at least should be.

Application of the above to the current government — and commerce and property ownership — in this nation at every level is left as an exercise in frustration for the voter in less than three months.

One of the dubious benefits of a classical education — aside, that is, from knowing when one might well have no more worlds to conquer — is having actually bloody read That Inimical Book from cover to cover, in multiple translations and including consideration of alternate/discredited textual components, as part of understanding both literary works and cultural imperatives. More than once, as a serious student of literature; it's nigh unto impossible to understand major figures in Western literature from Chaucer through Shakespeare to Faulkner and beyond (and that's just those writing in some form of English!) without doing so. But then, so many commentators and pundits and barfly-philosophers demonstrate that they haven't done so on a daily basis, even for much shorter foundational documents, that I shouldn't be surprised that being a nerd about things like this is so rare.

And here things get dubiously interesting: That last foundational document says nothing about nepotism but prohibits attainder — a contrast that I find quite disturbing and revealing in a document purportedly founded on rejecting any right of rulership through descent. (And the less said about the Adams Family the better.)