Joseph Atwill, Never Agree to Disagree |517|

#2
I posted this on another forum, but I will repost here since it is more recent, and totally germane.

I agree with Atwill and Price and Matt (see below)... anyone who tries to explain away the in parallels-in-sequence doesn't sound credible IMO.
Well I will yield there are some interesting coincidences and/or similarities between Josephus and the Gospels, but as I've stated I find them far from definitive. One has to ask how 2000 years could have passed before anyone seemed to notice them until Atwill wrote his book in 2005. If they are so strong one would expect a number of people, including experts and academics, to have pick up on it before that. Yet unless I've missed something not a single person in history up to that point made the connections. So I really think this calls into question the strength of the parallels between Josephus and the Gospels. They are there if you strain hard enough, but also vague enough that one should certainly seek other corroborating evidence before his theory can be considered on solid ground.

That being said, I see you seem to have avoided my point about Tacitus' mention of the Christians being in Rome before the Flavians supposedly invented the religion whole-cloth in the 70's AD. If this is the case, it should be clear that it's entirely impossible for Atwill's theory to be true, so this is an important point. I see he addressed this in the interview for this forum, but I think his points are far from solving the dilemma. To explain, first let's look at Tacitus' writing:

Tacitus:

But all human efforts, all the lavish gifts of the emperor, and the propitiations of the gods, did not banish the sinister belief that the conflagration was the result of an order. Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called "Chrestians" by the populace.

Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilate, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their center and become popular.

Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind. Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired.

So he's referring to a Christ who suffered under Pontius Pilate during the reign of Tiberius, just like the Gospels say, so I think we can safely assume these are the first Christians of what would become modern Christianity. The second problem is how negatively he is portraying the Christians. In just a few short paragraphs, he refers to them or their religion as "hated for their abominations", "mischievous superstition", "evil" "hideous", "shameful", AND he's talking about how they are being tortured to death because of all this. If this is really some psy-op operation to get rebellious Jews to believe in this fabricated religion, how does this description encourage people to join this movement? I think it's safe to say Tacitus wasn't attempting to advance the fake religion, which means he was probably just describing what he thought was real history. As such, this pretty much destroys any chance that Atwill's theory is true, regardless of how convincing his parallels may be.

Other problems arise with the timelines given by Atwill when you try to put yourself in the place of a Jew living in the 70’s AD when the Josephus and the Flavians supposedly created the Christian religion whole-cloth. There is simply no way any sensible person living at that time would even begin to believe what was being fed to them regarding the hoax religion.

The Jews living in the 70’s AD would be reading about events that took place approximately four decades earlier, but they would have no reason to believe any of it because there would be no evidence to their direct observation that any of it ever happened. They would be able to know that there was never any enigmatic teacher named Jesus Christ going around and performing miracles and preaching to the masses. Same with the Apostles, they would be able to see there aren’t really any of his followers going around the empire trying to convert people as the texts they are being given say there should be. There should be churches with thousands of people in them that have existed for maybe decades, but none of that would exist because everything in the Gospels is a lie from the 70’s AD, and they would be able to see that.

Same with Paul and his epistles. He is supposedly writing to all these churches in all these cities, and he is telling them in his epistles he has come to them and instructed their leadership and encouraged them. But there are no churches for people to read his messages. Even if there were, they would be the first of the people there, and they would know there was never this Paul guy and he never came to them to teach them. Because Paul never existed and the Jews reading this stuff would be able to see this. But even worse is that because the churches are a hoax, there are no real people there to receive Paul’s messages, even if he did exist.

How would a Jew living in, say, Corinth feel if he was given a document from a guy named Paul addressed to a supposed church in the city, and telling them that he has been there and spoken there, but nobody has ever seen Paul and there is no church to be found in Corinth because the church is a completely fabricated invention of the very text the Jew is reading? Do you not see that thinking the Christian religion could have been founded this way makes literally no sense?

This is why you can’t fabricate from absolutely nothing a religion in the 70’s AD that should have been founded several decades earlier. It doesn’t make sense. People would be able to see there is no real church, there was no real founding Messiah, there are no real Apostles, there is no existing movement, nothing. They would be able to see this with their own eyes, and thus it’s simply absurd to think any significant number of people would have fallen into believing such a baseless idea. And it’s infinitely more absurd to think they would suffer painful deaths in defense of it as the historical record seems to indicate. In short, they would be able to look at the Gospel texts being given to them, which would serve as the basis of the religion, and know that they were not true. Is that not clear to you?

How do you envision this operation would have been implemented? Do you think it was just the 3 Flavian emperors and Josephus? It seems to me a lot more people would have to have been involved. You would need people to write the fake manuscripts to be delivered throughout the empire so that converts would have something to read in their meetings. You would need people to actually deliver the fake manuscripts throughout the empire. You would need people on the ground helping convince local Jews that the hoax religion is real. It seems like the number of people involved could easily have reached into the thousands.

And all these people would have to communicate with each other over large distances for multiple decades to respond to various developments and keep the hoax alive. The only way to do that back then was by letter, so one would perhaps expect at least some record of these communications would have survived and would have been found, but literally nothing of the sort has been discovered. So for this massive, empire-wide, decades-long operation being orchestrated from the highest levels of the Roman government, there is literally nothing outside of Joseph Atwill’s supposed “parallels” that serves as direct evidence of this vast conspiracy. The evidence is so scant that 2000 years passed before anyone suspected this may have happened. It seems pretty incredible that such would be the case, does any of this lack of hard evidence concern you?

so, I don't see any way to read the above as anything other than a psyop / social engineering project. the fact that it failed is kinda irrelevant. I mean, we have no reason to suspect that this Vespasian or josephus thought it would fail... it's just the way that history played out.
Well if it failed so badly don't you think it would have been prudent for them to admit to these rebellious Christians and prove to them that the whole thing they are resisting the Roman emperor over is a complete fraud? It wouldn't have been that hard to do, but there is no evidence anyone attempted to enlighten the Christians about the hoax nature of their religion. And maybe the reason for this is that Christianity is not, in fact, a Roman hoax.

We have manuscript evidence from Emperor Trajan, who took power just a couple years after the end of the Flavian dynasty, that his subordinates were to put Christians to death unless they would renounce Christianity and worship the emperor. According to the manuscript, real Christians would rather die than submit. So to him the true test of being a Christian is that they WON'T worship the emperor, exactly the opposite of what Atwill argues was supposedly the reason the Flavians created the religion in the first place.

AND if this really was a Roman hoax being orchestrated by the Roman royalty throughout the empire for decades, it is kind of incredible that the emperors who immediately succeeded the Flavians had absolutely no knowledge of this massive operation. Note that Josephus was still alive at this point, and wrote his Antiquities in 98AD, AFTER he would have had any motivation of supporting the Flavians as their dynasty had already come to an end. It's totally irrational to think history could have played out this way. When you look at the facts outside of the supposed parallels, nothing makes sense if Atwill's theory was really true.

To finish, I will say that I see this time and time again, that when someone questions Atwill’s theory, his proponents ALWAYS fall back to the parallels, which they claim are so strong and indisputable. Even if that point is granted, the problems come when ones tries to look outside the parallels for corroborating evidence. Unfortunately for Atwill, almost all of what is known about the historical record seems to contradict his theory, rendering the strength of the supposed parallels moot.

Beyond that, the methods apparently utilized by the Flavians are totally senseless. Why go about trying to convince the unruly Jews of the deity of the Roman emperors by creating this proxy religion that almost no one would connect to the Roman authorities? Why not use Josephus to just directly convince people that the Flavians are themselves the Messiah, instead of fabricating this massive myth that apparently had the opposite effect that was intended? It’s beyond absurd to think any of this would be a good idea.

Atwill’s supporters are only focused on one piece of the puzzle, which is the parallels. The problem is that that piece of the puzzle doesn’t fit with everything else. It’s just there by itself, and all the other data is saying something different. In fact, when one looks at what is essentially known about history, the traditional Christian narrative about what took place in Judea at the beginning of the first century makes WAYYYYY more sense than what Atwill is proposing. Not necessarily all the stuff about Jesus being God and all that, but the idea that he and his followers were real people, interacting with other real people, and laying the foundations of a real movement that flourished well before the Flavians ever took power. That’s what the data seems to indicate.
 

Alex

Administrator
#3
I posted this on another forum, but I will repost here since it is more recent, and totally germane.
excellent... thx for reposting here.



Well I will yield there are some interesting coincidences and/or similarities between Josephus and the Gospels, but as I've stated I find them far from definitive. One has to ask how 2000 years could have passed before anyone seemed to notice them until Atwill wrote his book in 2005.
this is a super interesting point... because these parallels were acknowledged for hundreds of years within the christian community. they always just had a different spin. the spin was " look the bible is true because josephus is telling the same story."

modern biblical scholarship / apologetics moved away from this position because they saw the problematic contradictions... e.g. jesus prophesized about the fall of jerusalem look so great when you consider the possibility that the gospel writers had access to josephus. this isn't the problem when you have complete control of the narrative, but when you engage in " apologetics" this becomes a problem.


They are there if you strain hard enough, but also vague enough that one should certainly seek other corroborating evidence before his theory can be considered on solid ground.
again, I think they are pretty self-evident, but it's always going to be a matter of opinion. have you ever seen the movie and his breakdown of the parallels:

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GTG... more later.
 
#4
Atwill is right on the money, IMO, when he says that "to experience spirituality is best done through the Socratic method." This is the essence of I AM THAT by Nisargadatta Maharaj, which is a free PDF just like Caesar's Messiah. When we finish w/ questioning all the things that we ARE NOT, then we are left w/ the I AM. I in fact found that process so powerful that I had to disengage for a while b/c my ego, I'm assuming, found that realization entirely too threatening.
 
#5
Atwill is right on the money, IMO, when he says that "to experience spirituality is best done through the Socratic method." This is the essence of I AM THAT by Nisargadatta Maharaj, which is a free PDF just like Caesar's Messiah. When we finish w/ questioning all the things that we ARE NOT, then we are left w/ the I AM. I in fact found that process so powerful that I had to disengage for a while b/c my ego, I'm assuming, found that realization entirely too threatening.
How could I agree less?
This standpoint makes sense if you assume spirituality only exists in the human experience.
We have zero evidence of the substrate on which spirituality exists-apart from existential humanity.
The idea that the human experience is going to magically deduce human experience to something apart from human experience is self exculpatory.

Jokingly, the quickest way to deduce the human experience is to hold your breath.

IMO the “spirit” is non-local. Meaning I don't think it exists in this realm. We don’t “feel” it. We associate it.
 
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#6
At last, Alex has found a guest as equally conspiratorial as himself!
This may indeed be the end of all reasonable analysis!
Do conspiracies exist? Of course so.
Is therefore everything a conspiracy?
Absolutely not.
In there lies the chief problem. If you go looking for conspiracies you will find them, even if they don't exist.
Sometimes, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. The trick is not letting our distrust of authority push us so far that therefore everything is conspiracy and then we're in a rabbit hole we will never come out of.
 
#7
How could I agree less?
This standpoint makes sense if you assume spirituality only exists in the human experience.
We have zero evidence of the substrate on which spirituality exists-apart from existential humanity.
The idea that the human experience is going to magically deduce human experience to something apart from human experience is self exculpatory.

Jokingly, the quickest way to deduce the human experience is to hold your breath.

IMO the “spirit” is non-local. Meaning I don't think it exists in this realm. We don’t “feel” it. We associate it.
I understand the idea of questioning the reality of who or what we are as a process of ridding ourselves of those things that far too many ppl have mistakenly taken to be a fact. It's related to the idea of reification: treating an abstract concept as if it were a concrete reality, like normal. It's an eye-opening experience for some to learn that normal or average is a mathematical concept, nothing more. So questioning if you're a man leads to the realization that gender is a fluid or impermanent concept & therefore is not a 'real' or permanent, eternal state. Therefore, you as a man is illusionary & leads to suffering due to its delusional nature.
I definitely agree w/ "the 'spirit' is non-local. Meaning I don't think it exists in this realm..."
 
#8
So questioning if you're a man leads to the realization that gender is a fluid or impermanent concept & therefore is not a 'real' or permanent, eternal state
Hi Kim,
I dont think questioning alone can lead us to conclusions. Evidence is also required.
When i was a kid i knew another kid who genuienely believed he was part car. For example he wouldnt get in the sea 'in case his breaks got rusty'. He got over thinking he was a car but now that older is currently an airline pilot who loves driving cars :)
 
#9
Hi Kim,
I dont think questioning alone can lead us to conclusions. Evidence is also required.
When i was a kid i knew another kid who genuienely believed he was part car. For example he wouldnt get in the sea 'in case his breaks got rusty'. He got over thinking he was a car but now that older is currently an airline pilot who loves driving cars :)
Funny you should mention a friend who is an airline pilot. My oldest & dearest friend has a brother who's an American Airlines pilot who I think is semi-retired due to health issues. If he's flying at all, it's on a limited basis. I was visiting him & my other friend when he called in the garage. In all seriousness, he told me "I know everything." In the course of some more talking, he never mentioned joking or anything to dismiss the idea that he was anything but serious. I never use American Airlines after that.
I think the questioning is necessary simply to get ppl to realize what is permanent or real & what so many others take as solid when it's not even close. I have read time & again about how the recently dead are often put in surroundings that remind them of their last incarnation b/c this is a great way to ease them into the idea that their old life REALLY IS OVER. Male professionals are particularly comforted w/ an office or other setting that is very similar to the last one they had. So the questioning continues, apparently, on the other side as well.
I do agree that evidence is needed as well. Piles of that I have from personal experience, NDE science research, reincarnation/rebirth documentation of Doctors Stevenson, Tucker, & Mishlove, & so on. Thanks for the comment!
 
#10
At last, Alex has found a guest as equally conspiratorial as himself!
This may indeed be the end of all reasonable analysis!
Do conspiracies exist? Of course so.
Is therefore everything a conspiracy?
Absolutely not.
In there lies the chief problem. If you go looking for conspiracies you will find them, even if they don't exist.
Sometimes, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. The trick is not letting our distrust of authority push us so far that therefore everything is conspiracy and then we're in a rabbit hole we will never come out of.
***
I guess I "like" your post but what are you really saying? Trust authority? LOL, yeah that's a good one. How old are you? Have you traveled? I mean... I'm so sorry to tell you this if your mom didn't, but some police lie, judges can be bought, your neighbor WILL try to molest your kid, the church will lie, doctors will operate on you when you don't need that operation & some people don't just like to kill others they LOVE to kill people.

I mean, "I did not have sex with that woman, Monica" on national TV too. Are you still looking for those WMDs? Do you trust the media? Honey, we are under attack you'd better wake up. I'm sorry hon, really I am. But, there are some people who have no qualms about killing babies.

Oh the stories I could tell you would curl your hair.
 
#11
***
I guess I "like" your post but what are you really saying? Trust authority? LOL, yeah that's a good one. How old are you? Have you traveled? I mean... I'm so sorry to tell you this if your mom didn't, but some police lie, judges can be bought, your neighbor WILL try to molest your kid, the church will lie, doctors will operate on you when you don't need that operation & some people don't just like to kill others they LOVE to kill people.

I mean, "I did not have sex with that woman, Monica" on national TV too. Are you still looking for those WMDs? Do you trust the media? Honey, we are under attack you'd better wake up. I'm sorry hon, really I am. But, there are some people who have no qualms about killing babies.

Oh the stories I could tell you would curl your hair.
You ain't never lied! I've been reading The Intercept about all the evidence that the Guv-ment has been hiding, suppressing, & now finally has begun to release about the obvious funding of the 9/11 attacks in part by our ALLIES, the stinky Saudis. I've read George W. Boosh personally saw to it that Osama bin Laden's wife & family was hustled out the States after the attacks. I can't begin to tell you how much I detest G. Boosh. I followed that half-wit rich man's servant all through the 8 terrible years that asshole was President. One story the papers carried long ago was that Boosh was trying to take money from a fund for US soldiers tortured in the line of duty & give it to the Iraqis! HuffPost ran a story about a whining speech give by Boosh about the 9/11 attacks. I commented that I'd never, ever read or listen to anything that dog-offal eater ever says again.
 
#12
You ain't never lied! I've been reading The Intercept about all the evidence that the Guv-ment has been hiding, suppressing, & now finally has begun to release about the obvious funding of the 9/11 attacks in part by our ALLIES, the stinky Saudis. I've read George W. Boosh personally saw to it that Osama bin Laden's wife & family was hustled out the States after the attacks. I can't begin to tell you how much I detest G. Boosh. I followed that half-wit rich man's servant all through the 8 terrible years that asshole was President. One story the papers carried long ago was that Boosh was trying to take money from a fund for US soldiers tortured in the line of duty & give it to the Iraqis! HuffPost ran a story about a whining speech give by Boosh about the 9/11 attacks. I commented that I'd never, ever read or listen to anything that dog-offal eater ever says again.
***
and those are just his good points.
 
#13
***
I guess I "like" your post but what are you really saying? Trust authority? LOL, yeah that's a good one. How old are you? Have you traveled? I mean... I'm so sorry to tell you this if your mom didn't, but some police lie, judges can be bought, your neighbor WILL try to molest your kid, the church will lie, doctors will operate on you when you don't need that operation & some people don't just like to kill others they LOVE to kill people.

I mean, "I did not have sex with that woman, Monica" on national TV too. Are you still looking for those WMDs? Do you trust the media? Honey, we are under attack you'd better wake up. I'm sorry hon, really I am. But, there are some people who have no qualms about killing babies.

Oh the stories I could tell you would curl your hair.
I'm fifty-four. I've travelled and lived in Mexico for a couple of months, across all of the US (sans Hawaii and Alaska), England, Scotland, France, Germany Switzerland, Italy, and hitchhiked, biked, walked, drove, bussed, flown over, and now was on a train across all of Canada with the exception of the Territories. Does that help give me better credentials?

I don't believe I would EVER say "trust authority". I said "Trust but verify" for everything. Governments. Personal relationships. Corporations. Community members. Family members. It's the only way to live in the world and not hide in the basement with a shotgun in your hand.
Yes, all kinds of people CAN lie and DO lie. That doesn't mean EVERYONE does.

This is the same foul argument I try to dissuade my students from giving. The whole, "I respect people who earn my respect".
That's bullshit. It's a sure-fire way to make sure NO ONE respects anyone. You respect someone until they give you a reason NOT to, and then a reason TO DO SO again.

American paranoia is something I will never understand. It is not productive. It doesn't make the world a better place. It's a guide to an unhappy life and an early death through stress. On top of the fact that it's not rational.
J
 
#14
I'm fifty-four. I've travelled and lived in Mexico for a couple of months, across all of the US (sans Hawaii and Alaska), England, Scotland, France, Germany Switzerland, Italy, and hitchhiked, biked, walked, drove, bussed, flown over, and now was on a train across all of Canada with the exception of the Territories. Does that help give me better credentials?

I don't believe I would EVER say "trust authority". I said "Trust but verify" for everything. Governments. Personal relationships. Corporations. Community members. Family members. It's the only way to live in the world and not hide in the basement with a shotgun in your hand.
Yes, all kinds of people CAN lie and DO lie. That doesn't mean EVERYONE does.

This is the same foul argument I try to dissuade my students from giving. The whole, "I respect people who earn my respect".
That's bullshit. It's a sure-fire way to make sure NO ONE respects anyone. You respect someone until they give you a reason NOT to, and then a reason TO DO SO again.

American paranoia is something I will never understand. It is not productive. It doesn't make the world a better place. It's a guide to an unhappy life and an early death through stress. On top of the fact that it's not rational.
J
I agree w/ respecting ppl first. There's no quicker way to make enemies than to act like they're untrustworthy. Gov'ts are another story & the rich are not to be trusted from the beginning. There's something about having far more than the average person that warps them. Even in the Philippines where the vast majority are dirt poor, the rich are constantly out to show they're better than everyone else who's not. In my experience, the wealthy are the biggest thieves. Of course, not all the rich are corrupt or twisted, but as a general rule, I don't turn my back to them.
 
#15
I agree w/ respecting ppl first. There's no quicker way to make enemies than to act like they're untrustworthy. Gov'ts are another story & the rich are not to be trusted from the beginning. There's something about having far more than the average person that warps them. Even in the Philippines where the vast majority are dirt poor, the rich are constantly out to show they're better than everyone else who's not. In my experience, the wealthy are the biggest thieves. Of course, not all the rich are corrupt or twisted, but as a general rule, I don't turn my back to them.
I agree that we've got a lot of evidence that wealth changes people. That it definitively makes them less empathetic with others. That it makes them feel entitled. However, in Canada, the most relevant part of our constitution that's different from America's contrasts this way. The United States says "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" we counter with "peace, order, and good government".
There are benefits between both approaches. Ours tends to focus on making certain government is responsive to the people. That's been changing slowly with the corruptive influence of America's culture next door and people are less interested in being good citizens and calling their government to task, but I think the ideals are still worthy. If you don't trust government, then you have a civic duty to change it. The biggest problem with conservatism in the last forty years was that it believed the private sector was better. As my father says, the only difference between big government and big business, is government can be held to account a little better.
J
 
#16
I agree that we've got a lot of evidence that wealth changes people. That it definitively makes them less empathetic with others. That it makes them feel entitled. However, in Canada, the most relevant part of our constitution that's different from America's contrasts this way. The United States says "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" we counter with "peace, order, and good government".
There are benefits between both approaches. Ours tends to focus on making certain government is responsive to the people. That's been changing slowly with the corruptive influence of America's culture next door and people are less interested in being good citizens and calling their government to task, but I think the ideals are still worthy. If you don't trust government, then you have a civic duty to change it. The biggest problem with conservatism in the last forty years was that it believed the private sector was better. As my father says, the only difference between big government and big business, is government can be held to account a little better.
J
I certainly admire Canada's superior spending level on citizen services; the last thing I read said the US only puts 15% of the GDP into health care & so on while Canada's is over 50% as I remember it. Sadly, both countries have a horrible record w/ the abuse & exploitation of native American populations, which continues today w/ the exploitation of river & forest resources. On the positive side, a lot of westerners are waking up re: the rapidly increasing activation of Mother Nature's 'immune system.' I say it's never too late to force the changes needed on gov't & ppl, but the cure would probably be worse than the disease in the short run & tree-huggers oppose violence generally, so I'm doing the nature steward routine where I live & hope Cebu Island doesn't disappear beneath the waves anytime soon.
 
#17
Sadly, and I take no joy in saying this, but there has never been nor ever was a nation on this planet that hasn't abused, exploited, or murdered another group. I say this only to put things in perspective as many woke friends of mine seem to think history started in the last ten years.
I sure as heck hope your island doesn't disappear beneath the waves. The studies coming in are showing that Global Warming is getting worse NOT better, and we're seeing it here in Nova Scotia. We've had record heat bombs that have killed many citizens. The west of Canada and the US is becoming a desert. The east is becoming a flooded nightmare. And we're just beginning.
And imagine. Some people still disbelief in anthropomorphic climate change. It's stunning.
You'll believe humans create pollution. You'll believe they fish the ocean into a desert. But you can't believe for some reason that 7 billion people releasing toxins into the atmosphere through industrial and commercial waste can affect the climate.
Stunning.
J
 
#18
I agree w/ respecting ppl first. There's no quicker way to make enemies than to act like they're untrustworthy. Gov'ts are another story & the rich are not to be trusted from the beginning. There's something about having far more than the average person that warps them. Even in the Philippines where the vast majority are dirt poor, the rich are constantly out to show they're better than everyone else who's not. In my experience, the wealthy are the biggest thieves. Of course, not all the rich are corrupt or twisted, but as a general rule, I don't turn my back to them.
While there are myriad examples of wealthy who are unempathetic or even down right bad actors, the nagging question is assigning people to the good or bad side of the aisle. Even in your post you contradict yourself on this point (bold above).

This seems somewhat similar to a discussion I'm having with LS in another thread. Who is the arbiter of good actors vs bad actors? On what objective criteria are we to judge those with wealth? What is the threshold of "rich"? What evidence suggests that people beneath this threshold are deserving of the proverbial benefit of the doubt while those above are not? Is the good acting factory worker who wins a lottery suddenly a bad acting member of the secret elite?

I get the generalization, but the devil seems to be in the details.
 
#19
"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds."- Ralph Waldo Emerson.
We need to be very careful about making sweepings statements. I can say that generally I don't trust rich people, but rich individuals I can trust and verify. Government tends to be more of a faceless hoard problem than wealthy. I can talk about my wealthy friend or my rich friend, and I don't mean ALL the rich. When I talk about the government, it's not usually that I'm speaking about a single individual unless they are the HEAD of it.
For example, when I say, the government screwed me. You would naturally ask, "Who? Municipal, State/Provincial or Federal? Was it Trudeau himself, or the Mayor?"
It's not so much of a contradiction but rather a problem with the understanding of the terms.
Similarly, I just read where people who used to support Bernie Sanders won't anymore because of his love for Joe Biden.
I get that, but that also gets us nowhere. I follow policies not personalities. So if Bernie does something I like, I'll praise him. If he doesn't do something I like, I'll push him.
J
 
#20
While there are myriad examples of wealthy who are unempathetic or even down right bad actors, the nagging question is assigning people to the good or bad side of the aisle. Even in your post you contradict yourself on this point (bold above).

This seems somewhat similar to a discussion I'm having with LS in another thread. Who is the arbiter of good actors vs bad actors? On what objective criteria are we to judge those with wealth? What is the threshold of "rich"? What evidence suggests that people beneath this threshold are deserving of the proverbial benefit of the doubt while those above are not? Is the good acting factory worker who wins a lottery suddenly a bad acting member of the secret elite?

I get the generalization, but the devil seems to be in the details.
Yes, it is a knotty problem. It's a form of 'economic racism' I suppose, but I really don't go out of my way condemning all wealthy ppl. As you adroitly pointed out, who sets the criteria for who is & who isn't? I'm just a lot more careful to get receipts & count my change around them. There was a Ponzi scheme going on in Bogo that the greedy just couldn't pass up & quite few lost their shirts, especially this one cousin of my wife who's known for dirty dealing (appropriate in his case), but the guy who was behind it was a very wealthy man. I thought who had started it up had to be b/c of the amount of promised interest he was handing out until it collapsed.
There was an example of that rich, bad, poor, maybe okay, here, too. This comparatively wealthy police colonel's concubine told me that her man had told her the "rich are better ppl." I had a good laugh b/c I became an overnight millionaire (in pesos) when I moved to Cebu Island; I'm sure my wife would attest to the fact I didn't change into a better person overnight as well.
My longest-known & best friend in Texas has a brother whose quite well off. Flew airliners for American Airlines after 20 years in the Air Force. I referred to him as rich & he acted surprised & said, "Me rich? I'm not rich!" I don't know all his income ( I know he has 3 rent houses ), but he told his brother his monthly check from A.A. is over $16,000. That's 4 times my monthly check at the highest paying point in my teaching career!
 
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