Sneering At Virtue

Here is one of the most important lessons to teach yourself and your children: Wrongdoers detest those who don’t join in. That idea illuminates a clear picture of much behind-the-scenes maneuvering in business as well as in much of our political process.

More than one dedicated and idealistic candidate has won election promising to become a representative of the people. Finding his place in the corridors of power, he discovers to his dismay that many of his colleagues are there mostly to feather their own nests. What is more, he is quickly made to understand that if he holds himself aloof and refrains from participation in the plunder he will never receive invitations to the best parties. More seriously, he will be overlooked for committee appointments, hindering his ability to do what he promised to do in the first place. There are no easy ways to deal with this reality, leading many earnest and well-intentioned people to succumb to the enticements of power. It is very difficult to live with one’s virtue being mocked and used as a barrier to achievement.

In the private sector, there are also bad players who create a toxic culture of exploiting the company, other associates, or their customers. This puts the “good guy” in a very tricky situation because wrongdoers detest those who don’t join in. As an associate with integrity you can’t blend in. However, if you don’t do so, you will seldom be allowed to go about your business peacefully. Those up to their necks in the toxic culture will strive to undermine you. There is usually little option but to move departments or jobs. Living with those who sneer at one’s virtue is painful.

This is particularly hard for children in school, since they seldom have options for changing their social circles. The serious and moral student is often derailed by the taunts of his friends who loathe his taking the high road.

There is no simple solution or tidy little trick for coping with hatred of virtue. In the Bible, one prophet after another encountered the hostility of the population as he not only refrained from joining in the general decadence but railed against it. Not surprisingly the prophets’ lives were often imperiled by the virtue they preached.

Therefore, so says the Lord of Hosts concerning the men of Anathoth, who seek your (Jeremiah’s) life, saying, “If you do not prophesy in the name of the Lord, then you will not die by our hand.”
(Jeremiah 11:21)

This hatred of virtue is what lies behind two millennia of Jew hatred. Not to say that every Jew is virtuous, of course. But the substance of a basic moral code for humanity entered the world when God gave His message for mankind to Moses on Mt. Sinai. Many resent it. Were there no Abraham and no Moses, there’d be no shared description of morality. Anti-Semitism merely echoes the world’s dismay at God’s message.

People sometimes say that no Godly source of morality is needed since all humans have a deep internal sense of right and wrong. Would that it were so. If it were, Jean Jacques Rousseau’s ignorant theory of the noble savage would be true. Cannibalism would never have occurred in precolonial Africa. Hideous tortures inflicted by Indians, native to both North and South America upon their own kind would never have taken place. No, without God’s message of morality, a standard of morality wouldn’t exist. For many people, that would have been a preferable outcome. They (and often they are Jewish themselves) hate the Jews for originally bringing virtue into the world.

Inoculating your children can best be achieved by teaching them of this phenomenon. Whatever the threat, it is always diminished by familiarity. The unknown is far scarier than the known. Let them know long before they encounter it that it those who do wrong try and involve others while despising and disparaging those who don’t join in. There is no live-and-let-live when evil hates virtue.

The prototype for this eternal truth appears early in Genesis. Noah didn’t simply build an ark, he built it with his sons while facing threats and jeers from his wrong-doing neighbors. Tens of thousands have had their backbones strengthened by listening to our original audio CD, The Gathering Storm. We are now proud to release The Gathering Storm Video teaching so that you can watch as well as listen, complete with enhanced graphics and updated content. We all need to stand firmer and taller these days.

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The Gathering Storm:
Decoding the Secrets of Noah


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