Marx, Nietzsche, Sartre, and Foucault
Bishop Barron's talk to the Knights of Malta used works from these four prominent atheist philosophers to represent the philosophical foundations of the current U.S. culture war. All people must first of all transcend the fundamental anxiety about nihilism before they can ever hope to understand the nature of physical reality. The archetypes of these four authors are 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. In the span of 128 years these four books and authors represent the foundation of the current culture of identity and and its relativist individual morality. For Christians like Barron, it is religious belief that transcends anxiety about nihilism and so these four archetypes represent the dreaded four horseman of the apocalypse.
The common theme among the horseman is the rejection of the morality and ethics that represent the power of a cultural elite. According to nihilism, elite in power simply contrive a morality and ethics mainly to oppress other identity groups. The horseman all argue that those identity groups should reject that morality and ethics of the elite and just invent their own morality and ethics. In fact, each of the horseman propose 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 derive their own morality and ethics...from nothing but their anxieties about nihilism...
Marx argued in 1848 that first of all wealth inequality was due to the ruling class imposing its capital free market and taking their profit from the labor of the working class, who must then take power by force from the ruling class.
Nietzche argued in 1886 that first of all God was dead and so all individuals begin with an anxiety about the nothingness of nihilism and then determine their own morality and ethics from the nothing of nihilism with their individual will to power as ubermensch.
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.
Foucault in 1976 then finally concluded that that since nihilism can create anything, the power elite simply invented a morality and ethics and used it to oppress all identity groups, including the power elite.
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 each identity group. Bishop Barron argued instead that the pleasure of Catholic belief is an absolute morality and ethics that comes with a belief in God. It is then the pleasure of a Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition 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.
These four horseman transcend their anxieties over nihilism with four different moral and ethical beliefs that each can replace all religious moral and ethical beliefs. Barron does not address the even more diverse 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 diversity of Confucist, Taoist, Buddhist, and Hinduist religious traditions 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 ways to survive and believe. People also get pleasure in discovering new beliefs or archetypes to transcend their anxieties about what they cannot ever know, the bottomless pit of nihilism. People need ways to transcend their anxieties about nihilism, which is the primal fear of nothing at all, and is the fear that we fear most of all.
When bad things happen to good people, those people face the injustice of misery and anxiety of that suffering and misery from bad things. The precursors of such suffering from bad things are often simply unknowable and yet those people suffering 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 simply represent four very different transcendent beliefs different from the many different religious transcendent beliefs. In fact, transcendent beliefs by definition do not have knowable precursors...including each of the horseman's transcendent beliefs. Although precursors exist in our casual 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.
Thus, all compassionate people, including the four horseman as well as Bishop Barron, want to reduce the suffering and misery of others. Each of the horseman proposes a different way to transcend the injustice of suffering and misery of people who do not deserve their suffering and misery. However, all of them argue that even compassionate people must first of all transcend their anxieties about nihilism before they can ever hope to transcend the injustice of the suffering and misery of others.