Marx, Nietzsche, Sartre, and Foucault
All people learn from infancy to first of all transcend their fundamental anxieties about the empty nothing of nihilism in order to comprehend physical reality. Some few people then partially deconstruct their original beliefs and reconstruct new beliefs and become evangelists for that new belief. Evangelists desire to persuade people to believe a particular set of morals and ethics to give them purpose and meaning and reduce their suffering and misery.
The Roman Catholic Bishop Barron's talk to the Knights of Malta used works from four prominent atheist philosophers to represent the philosophical foundations of the current U.S. culture war. These four evangelists each partially deconstructed the religion archetypes of their upbringings and then reconstructed new archetypes about power. Their new archetypes spanned 128 years as The Communist Manifesto by Marx in 1848, Beyond Good and Evil by Nietzsche in 1886, Being and Nothingness by Sartre in 1953, and The History of Sexuality by Foucault in 1976. These works and their authors represent the foundation of the current culture of reconstructed identity and the power of its relativist individual morality focused on transcendence from individual instead of religious power. It is then the transcendence of individual power that provides morals, ethics, meaning, and purpose.
Christians like Barron argue that it is religious belief and not individual power that transcends anxiety about nihilism and so these four archetypes represent to Barron the dreaded four horseman of the apocalypse. The common theme among the horseman is the rejection of the prevailing religious morality and ethics that represent the power of a cultural elite. These new evangelists claim that the power elite simply contrive a morality and ethics just to oppress other identity groups like women and blacks or workers and so on. The horseman all argue that identity groups should all reject the elite morality and ethics and reconstruct their own morality and ethics with their individual power.
In fact, each of the horseman reconstruct a different morality and ethics instead of adopting the power elite's well-accepted archetypes of morality and ethics. For example, instead of the morality and ethics of the Judeo-Christian-Islam tradition, each individual has the free choice to reconstruct their own morality and ethics...from nothing but their nihilist anxiety. Of course, there are a large number of narratives of Western Civilization that provide a rich and common source of meaning, purpose, morals, and ethics.
Marx argued in 1848 that first of all wealth inequality was due to the ruling class tyranny of capital free markets. The ruling class minority takes their profit from the labor of the working class majority, who must then take power by force from the ruling class minority by force of revolution. Once the working class has power, a utopia will appear, but of course the working class will need to imprison or kill the ruling class to prevent their recurrence as a counter revolution.
Nietzche argued in 1886 that first of all God was dead and so all individuals must deconstruct religious morals and ethics. People should begin with an anxiety about the nothingness of nihilism and then reconstruct their own morality and ethics from the nothing of nihilism with their individual will to power as ubermensch. Of course, the streets will run red in blood as ubermensh will then conflict with and kill each other.
Sartre furthered Nietzsche's existential anxiety of nihilism in 1953 and begins the universe not with the creation of a transcendent God, but rather with the creation of a transcendent nihilism, which is again creation of something from nothing. As long as everyone is authentic to their existential selves, a utopia will appear for authentic people. Of course, authentic people will then need to imprison or kill those who are not authentic to themselves.
Foucault in 1976 concluded that the power elite used their power to simply invent a morality and ethics to oppress all identity groups. Since anything can come from nihilism, therefore, the power elite should use their power to create a utopia by using their power to imprison or kill other identity groups with less power.
These four horsemen of the apocalypse all offer four very different ways to transcend the bottomless anxiety of nihilism with the pleasure of a relative morality and ethics for an identity group in power. Bishop Barron argued instead that the pleasure of Catholic belief represents an absolute morality and ethics that comes from a belief in a Catholic God. Barron did not mention the many other factions of beliefs but says that it is the pleasure of a Judeo-Christian tradition like Catholicism that transcends the anxiety of nihilism with the pleasure of religious belief. In particular, Barron argues that there is pleasure in the intellectual tradition of the Catholic Church belief in God that has always effectively transcended nihilist anxieties. Although Catholics have imprisoned or killed other identity groups in the past, in order to create a utopia, Barron evidently does not believe that will happen again.
These four horseman all transcended their anxieties over nihilism with four different beliefs that each can replace all ancient religious moral and ethical beliefs. Barron does not address the even more diverse factions of the Judeo-Christian-Islamic morality and ethics and that diversity is a fertile ground for sowing our post modern culture's bottomless black holes of nihilist anxiety. The further diverse factions of Confucius, Buddhism, the Dao, and the Vedas further complicate any single claim of absolute morality and ethics like that of Barron's Catholicism.
People progress in life by the pleasure of discovering new people, new places, new foods, new drink, and even new beliefs. People also get pleasure in discovering new beliefs as archetypes since archetypes are necessary to transcend their anxieties about what they cannot ever know, which is the bottomless pit of nihilism. People need ways to transcend their anxieties about nihilism and what they cannot ever know, which is the primal fear of the bottomless pit of nihilism and is what we fear most of all.
Thus, all compassionate people, including the four horseman as well as Bishop Barron, want to reduce the suffering and misery of others. Each evangelizes a different way to transcend the injustice of people who suffer in misery, but who do not deserve their suffering and misery. However, they all argue that even compassionate people must first of all transcend their own anxieties about nihilism before they can ever hope to transcend the injustice of the suffering and misery of others.
The problem with all of these evangelizations is the danger of majority faction tyranny over minority factions. The problem is not with the factions per se but rather with the majority tyranny. In fact, the factions are what mitigate the problem of majority tyranny. When bad things happen to good people, those people face the injustice of misery and anxiety of suffering from those bad things. The precursors of such suffering from bad things are often simply unknowable and yet those people who suffer still get angry and lash out at and blame others as enemies for injustices that cause their suffering. Other compassionate people who see such suffering will also get angry and lash out at any perceived unjust enemy as the cause of even fundamentally unknowable precursors of suffering.
Thus, these four horseman are simply evangelists of four very different transcendent beliefs while Barron is an evangelist for his own Catholic belief. In fact, transcendent beliefs by definition do not have knowable precursors...including each of the horseman's transcendent beliefs. Although precursors exist in our causal reality, there are matter-action precursors that we cannot ever know as an inescapable axiom of the reality of quantum phase. People must have archetype beliefs that allow them to transcend unknowable precursors. For example, there are unknowable precursors for some of the injustices of suffering and misery by people who do not deserve to suffer or to be miserable.