‘So I would say yes, to love one another – as Jesus said – get vaccinated, get boosted.”
Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury (December 2021)
The command to “love thy neighbor” is not, as many nowadays suppose, a command to give thy neighbor’s house and chattel to total strangers. Nor is the command to “love one another” a command to sacrifice oneself to the Moloch of social utility and the Beelzebub of collective hedonism. Jesus was not playing John the Baptist to Jeremy Bentham, and, with all due respect to the Archbishop of Canterbury, his doctrine of love is not Bentham’s doctrine of “effective benevolence.”
Bentham’s doctrine of effective benevolence is often described with the formula, “the greatest good to the greatest number,” good being defined as felicity, happiness, or in Bentham’s words, “that which maximizes pleasure and minimizes pain.”* Bentham coined the word “deontology” as a name for the “science of morality,” or “knowing what is fit to be done of every occasion.” Bentham said “utility” is the key to all deontology, right action, or what is “fit to be done.”
“The principle . . . on which Deontology is grounded, is the principle of Utility; in other words, that every action is right or wrong—worthy or unworthy—deserving approbation or disapprobation, in proportion to its tendency to contribute to, or to diminish the amount of public happiness.”
It is by acting on this principle of utility (also called “effective benevolence”), and not, for instance, by the Parousia, that mankind will by its own mutual backscratching bring itself to “the millennium of accessible bliss.” This is the eschatology of Jeremy Bentham.
“When effective benevolence is brought into the realms of Deontology, when the greatest good, the universal happiness, is made the central point round which all action revolves, the golden era of moral science will commence.”
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Now I will venture to say that, when Jesus commanded his disciples to “love one another,” he was not commanding them to set about mutual backscratching so as to bring themselves, much less the mass of humanity, to “the millennium of accessible bliss.” Nor was he commanding them to do whatever the latest quack doctor tells them to do because it is “good for society,” or “the planet,” or “the wretched of the earth.” Nor was he commanding them to put a chicken in every pot, a car in every garage, a jacuzzi on every deck, and a rechargeable vibrator in every nightstand drawer.
All of this is evident to those of us who have not been backwards in our pursuit of scripture knowledge.
Those of us who have not been backwards in our pursuit of scripture knowledge know that Jesus said these words at the Last Supper, and that he described them as a “new commandment.” This means that the command to “love one another” is not a reiteration of the command to “love thy neighbor.” As I have said more than once in these virtual pages, neither command is a command to love every Tom, Dick and Harry, or even to throb with goodwill towards the mental abstraction of “humanity.” If Jesus had meant everybody, we may suppose he would have said everybody.
As it is, he said “your neighbor” and “one another.”
When he said “love one another,” Jesus clearly meant the disciples who were gathered round the table in that upper room celebrating the Passover feast. And what he meant is evident from what happened just before he said it. (Here is where a decent command of scripture knowledge comes in handy.). Just before he said “love one another” to his disciples, Jesus handed Judas the sop of bread and wine by which “Satan entered into him,” and then said to the traitor, “that thou doest, do quickly.”
The disciples did not at the time realize what they had just witnessed. Indeed, they wrongly supposed that Jesus had dispatched Judas to “give something to the poor.” Owing to this mistake, they may have further, and also wrongly, supposed that the “new commandment” to “love one another” was in fact a foreshadowing of Bentham’s deontological principle of utility, or effective benevolence. But in hindsight they later understood that “love one another” meant
Do not do what Judas just did!
It meant be loyal to one another, stick together, and do not be corrupted, as Judas was corrupted, by a carnal hankering for heaven on earth (or what Bentham would later call “the millennium of accessible bliss”).
If you have not been backwards in your pursuit of scripture knowledge, you know that Jesus did not expect this band of brothers to follow his “new commandment” with any great success. The love to which the disciples were enjoined was, as we have just seen, loyalty to one another, and having given this commandment, Jesus at once foretells the disloyalty of Peter. In other words, the substance of this “new commandment” is the loyalty that Peter would be break “before the cock crows.”
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The Archbishop of Canterbury is a fatuous fool, a disciple of Jeremy Bentham who puts scraps of scripture in the service of the Moloch of social utility and the Beelzebub of collective hedonism. The President of the United States serves the same gods, with equally fatuous appeals to a spurious patriotism.
“All these people who have not been vaccinated: You have an obligation to yourselves, to your families, and quite frankly—and I know I’ll get criticized for this—to your country.”
Joseph Biden, President of the United States (December 21, 2021)
To this sophistical turd, an American’s response should be, that any country that says I have an obligation to take an experimental vaccine to avert a fictional calamity is no longer my country. To understand why this is so, let me return briefly to the deontology of Jeremy Bentham, and to his utilitarian principle that there is a universal “obligation” for men and women to act, everywhere and always, in the manner that most augments “public happiness.”
Hidden in the clouds of perfume that surround this lofty ideal is the corollary that men and women are never—in no place and at no time—free to act on any principle other than social utility and collective hedonism. They must, everywhere and always, sacrifice themselves to Moloch and Beelzebub. This is not liberty or Christianity.
And, as it happens, this is exactly opposite to what Jesus meant when he commanded his disciples to “love one another.” For as those of you who have not been backwards in your pursuit of scripture knowledge know, he meant by these words:
Do not do what Judas just did!
Addendum: I have not here argued against vaccination, only against the proposition that vaccination is a religious, moral or patriotic duty. I think individuals should choose or refuse vaccination based on scientific evidence and their individual circumstances. I think individuals do have a moral and patriotic duty to self-quarantine if they begin to suffer symptoms, whether or not they are vaccinated, but this is true of any contagious disease. Thumbing your nose at the totalitarians doesn’t mean you are free to play Typhoid Mary.
*) Jeremy Bentham, Deontology; or, The Science of Morality (1834)