Thou Shalt not Kill, but Murder is Fine
Therefore, the sixth commandment is there to remind all of us would-be murderers that you shouldn't do that. I don't know when or why it was ever erroneously translated as "thou shalt not kill," since killing has no no intrinsic moral consequence one way or the other. Ironically, leftist nihilists rarely cite the Ten Commandments, but you will often hear them cite "thou shalt not kill" in support of their nihilist policies. Interesting that they misinterpret the one commandment of which they approve.
And the reason they misinterpret this particular commandment is that it dovetails nicely with their deeply nihilistic and pacifist tendencies. For when you conflate murder and killing, you do two things: first, you minimize and even trivialize the horror of murder -- very similar to feminists who trivialize the horror of rape by equating it with any sex a woman regrets on the following day. But secondly, you convert the use of lethal violence against evil, which is a moral necessity, into something bad. Once again, you have overturned the moral order of the world.
Because we are free and we are aware of a transcendent moral order, our life consists (among other things) of choosing between good and evil. Here again, the nihilistic left undermines both poles of this elementary reality. First, they attenuate our ultimate freedom by the doctrine of "victims" and "root causes." Whenever someone chooses evil -- again, so long is he is not a conservative -- it is because they were victimized and oppressed, and were merely reacting to that.
Thus, when an evil murderer is being put to death, you will always see demonstrations and lamentations by the left that the government is murdering a helpless victim. But never once in my life have I ever seen this standard applied to a conservative, or even to a "corporate criminal," for that matter.
Let's assume, for the sake of argument, the delusional leftist belief that George Bush is an evil murderer who is sending Americans off to die because he wants his friends to have more oil. If this were true, then President Bush would definitely qualify as a psychopath, no question about it. But if he is a psychopath, then he is obviously a victim of mental illness. We cannot be angry with him -- much less hold him responsible or punish him. Rather, we must have compassion for him. We must understand him. What are the root causes of his psychopathy?
This is as fine an example of the incoherence at the heart of leftism that I can think of. It is incoherent because it is nihilistic to the core. It is not rooted in any intellectually or morally defensible first principles, but is entirely subjective, arbitrary, and convenient. For what is the first principle of the secular left? We have been reviewing the deep structure of their ideology in recent days, and it all goes back to there is no God and we are his prophets! But this first principle has many disturbing and dysfunctional ramifications, which include the impossibility of transcendent meaning, the absence of any vertical order in the cosmos, and the devaluation of wisdom embodied in tradition (tradition representing the extension or "prolongation" of the vertical into the horizontal).
Therefore, when a leftist tells you that truth does not exist and that various texts are simply forms of domination rooted in the will to power, believe him, for this is the nature of the dark principality he inhabits. This is why I would never argue with a leftist, because they are so deeply and fundamentally illogical. Why try to reason with someone who has rejected the possibility of objective truth a priori? He is simply going to use whatever strategy or technique at his disposal to win the debate, not to arrive at truth, which isn't possible for him anyway. Imagine "debating" an atheist. You cannot debate an atheist, since debate is not a valid means to know God. However, once you know and accept God, then rational debate is naturally valid within a theocentric reality. This is because things are not true because they are rational, but rational because they are true. Absent God, reason can "prove" most anything.
But man is a proud beast, and one of the reasons he is proud is because he has rejected God and inserted his own ego in God's place. This is a story as old as mankind, being that it is documented in the first few pages of Genesis. Speaking of which, I see that Christopher Hitchens has jumped on the old anti-intellectual atheist blandwagon with both feet. He has a new book entitled God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, which only goes to show you how Marxist nihilism poisons an obviosly above average brain. But brains are not intelligent if they do not know truth. Either that, or we have to think of a new word for all the things which intelligent people know, but which cannot possibly be true.
In other words, most of what has filled human heads down through the centuries has consisted of "untrue knowledge." I don't have to read Hitchens' book to know that he has applied this idea to religion, cataloguing all of the kooky and harmful things human beings have believed in the name of religion. But if you were so inclined, you could do the same thing with science, with sexuality, with economics, with medicine, or with anything humans get involved in. Human beings believe untruth because only human beings are able to understand truth, just as they commit evil because only they can do good. One would think that Hitchens -- who is, after all, an avowed misanthrope -- would understand this rudimentary fact. Human beings are not bad because of religion. Rather, religion is bad because of human beings. In an odd way, Hitchens has way too high an opinion of humans.
Hitchens presumably adopts the anti-wisdom and anti-intellectual view that humans are not the problem but the solution (I say "presumably" because that is really your only option: God or man, the latter of which inevitably redounds to nihilism and to the abolition of man, no matter how much glibstick you slather on that metaphysical pig.)
Truly, godlessness poisons everything. Now, when I say this, I am naturally referring to God, not, for example, to the manmade psychotic projection embraced by our enemies. But to conflate these two Gods is no more valid than conflating phrenology and quantum physics. Phrenology was once considered a valid science, just as logical positivism and empiricism were once considered valid philosophies. But they aren't valid, something we can know because it is true. I suppose it doesn't go without saying that knowledge is only possible because we can know it, and that we can know it because truth exists, a priori.
Again, if truth doesn't exist -- as believed by the nihilistic left -- than we are back to power. Therefore, any atheist piggyfesto, no matter how well groomed, represents the exercise of raw power over its dominion of nothing. Behind the intelligence of such a person is simply the fist.
I thank God that America's founders were Christian men guided by transcendent truth, and not Marxist nihilists. Can you imagine? What kind of hell would we be living in today if our founders had been "demonically intelligent" leftists?
Homicide is one thing. But deicide -- that's a game for the few, the proud, the morons. Obviously, none of these deicidal maniacs has ever had a genuine encounter with God, so truly, "they know not what they do."
As I mentioned at the beginning of this series of posts on the ten commandments of nihilism, the first five actual commandments are vertical, in that they address man-to-God relations, while the second five are horizontal, governing man-to-man relations. Thus, there is a parallel between the first and the sixth commandments, as the sixth commandment -- thou shalt not murder -- is the first horizontal commandment. Therefore, there is an implicit resonance between I am your God, and you shall have no other Gods before me, and you shall not murder. But if you jettison the first commandment, you throw out the sixth with it, for then human beings no longer have any ultimate value. They are simply here for the use of more powerful human beings, as leftism teaches. You are not an individual who was created in God's image, and therefore capable of using your intellect to know truth and your liberty to choose good. Rather, you are a slave. You have no intrinsic dignity. You are here to serve the collective.
(Hey, we're almost there: Jonah Goldberg cites a survey from 1987, indicating that 45% of adult respondents thought that the phrase "from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs" -- a quote from Karl Marx -- was in the Constitution.)
And since the leftist lives in an inverted moral and intellectual universe, the horizontal displaces the vertical. Therefore, an inverted understanding of commandments 6 - 10 is at the foundation of leftism, beginning with you shall not kill instead of you shall not murder. Which is why godless regimes are responsible for the deaths of more human beings in the 20th century alone than all the religious wars combined. Abolish God and you abolish man, abolish man and murder is no different than killing. As always, bad religion drives out good, including the bad religion of atheism.
Sowell nails it, as usual.
Here is some of what I wrote about the sixth commandment last summer:
One routinely hears leftists argue that there is no difference between deaths that occur as a deliberate policy of Islamo-nazis vs. those that occur as a result if Israel defending itself from Islamo-nazis. One also routinely hears George Bush described by the left as a terrorist -- indeed, “the world’s biggest terrorist” -- which again simply highlights the broken moral compass that afflicts so much of the left.
The same broken moral compass is present in animal rights activists who equate the killing of animals with the murder of humans. One also hears leftists perversely invoke “thou shalt not kill” in order to try to prevent murderers from being put to death. But again, the commandment specifically forbids the deliberate taking of innocent human life, and no one is less innocent than a murderer. The “golden rule” maintains that we should treat others as we would have them treat us, and it is just so with capital punishment.
As Schuon writes, it is absurd to want to abolish the death penalty "on the grounds that one would not like to be in the condemned man’s place; to be in the place of the condemned man is at the same time to be the murderer; if the condemned man can earn our sympathy it is precisely by being able to recognize his crime and by desiring to pay for it with his life, thereby removing all antagonism between him and us.” In short, a murderer who is truly reformed and understands the infinite gravity of his crime will wish to be put to death. Only then is there even a basis for discussion.
But there are many ways to murder a man without killing the body, and these also fall under the rubric of this commandment. One can even draw out the implications of the commandment, in that, if we are to refrain from the taking of innocent life, we are necessarily enjoined to promote, preserve and protect innocent life in all of its manifestations.
At bottom, what the commandment is emphasizing is that human life is sacred -- it is of infinite value; therefore, do everything you can to honor and protect it. Clearly, not all cultures do so. Some, as in so much of the Muslim world, worship death, not life. And this inversion is reflected throughout these sick cultures, in that they are “fruitless.” That is, they produce nothing but misery, both to themselves and to others. They produce nothing for the body, i.e., no medicines, no new ways to produce food; they produce nothing for the mind, i.e., no science, no translations of books, no freedom of inquiry; and they produce nothing for the spirit, i.e., only the spiritual shackles of their medieval death cult.
Most soul murders are undoubtedly committed by those who are already so spiritually damaged as to be functionally dead. These undead souls such as a Nasrallah, an Arafat, or an Amahdinejad, speak to us from “the other side,” from the shadow world that is created when the soul has been so damaged that it essentially exits the body, leaving only a grotesque human-animal in its place. But other demonic energies rush in to fill the void, so that the individual becomes a sort of “antihuman.” At their core, they are filled with unbearable envy toward the living, and the only way they can assuage this envy is to kill and kill plentifully. Life is a reminder of their own walking death, hence, “death to Israel,” that primordial symbol of life: l’chaim.
The undead also cannot help converting their children to their way of non-being. In ways both subtle and profound, they will interact with their children in a pathological manner, causing the children to internalize the same virus that afflicts their parents. Regardless, the virus always goes by the name of “love,” which simply further confuses the child. In the end, they will not be able to distinguish the difference between love and hate or truth and lies, any more than they can distinguish between life and death.
That depraved Muslim couple that was going to use their baby as a bomb surely love their child, except that the love flows out of death, not life. Likewise, the proud Palestinian parents who raise their children to be mass murderers undoubtedly love their children, as do the Muslim parents who murder their daughters for holding hands with a Christian boy. Death loves, albeit coldly, just as the person who doesn't believe in truth seeks to accumulate “knowledge.” Our universities are filled with lie-roasted academia nuts who know much. They too worship death -- the death of the intellect and its innate spiritual wisdom. Perish and publish is their morbid creed.
Oddly, just as life spreads and propagates, so too does death. In other words, death has a sort of life all its own -- just as disease isn’t the opposite of health, but a pathological form of living. The undead soul attempts to overcome and “transcend” his soul-death by killing, by substitute sacrifices. Human sacrifice is a way to “steal” the life essence of the victim in order to give the undead a spurious sense of life. This is why the hizb'moloch ecstatically scream "allahu ackbar" (the god of death is great!) as they chop off another head.
In this regard, the Izlambies are no different than Jeffrey Dahmer, who would attempt to have an orgasm at the exact moment his victim was dying, the idea being that the victim's life force would somehow pass into him. Islamists believe that by exterminating Israel, the life essence of Israel will pass into and revive their undead souls and cultures, but this is simply the most perverse of unconscious fantasies. If tiny Israel had never existed, the same massive death cult would have simply metastasized into the geographical area now called Israel. After all, Life recently departed from Gaza, but Death merely rushed in to occupy the void created.
Again, the implicit message of the sixth commandment is that we must promote Life in everything we do, not just limiting ourselves to innocent human life, but to the Good, the True and the Beautiful, for these are the principal manifestations of the uncorrupted, living soul. As I wrote in One Cosmos, “There is a culture of Life and a culture of death, and the cultural necropolis can only maintain itself by an increasingly brazen assault on Truth (as well as beauty and decency). It is therefore also a cult of hypnotic enslavement, for only the Truth can liberate us from this zone of illusion. In your day-to-day life, you must refrain from activities that advance the infrahuman tide of ugliness, barbarism, and falsehood in our endarkened world.”