Earlier this week, traveling back home from California and during a layover at Dallas/Fort Worth, I decided to draw some cash from an ATM near my departure gate. The company dispensing the cash was Chase Bank, a subsidiary of the multinational corporation, JP Morgan Chase. On the screen, in an affront to the millions of its customers who have not signed off on the “gay” agenda, the banking giant was promoting its support for those advocating the homosexual lifestyle with the three-word slogan “Just be You.”
I was angry that it was no longer possible to even withdraw money from a bank without being subjected to low-brow political propaganda by a banker teller (a machine, no less). The fact that the teller was not human but a robot which had been programmed to bleat propaganda to all the bank’s customers merely served to add to the insult. (All I’m trying to do is withdraw some cash from my account, for goodness sake!)
Later, as the initial anger subsided, I began thinking about the snappy slogan with which the robot had flashed me. “Just be You.” It was perfect. Perfect in the sense that it perfectly encapsulated the philosophy of radical relativism that Chase Bank was advocating.
The only thing that matters is “you,” which means “me.” It’s all about “me.” I just need to be me. Just be Me. It’s easy. So easy. As long as I don’t start to think too much about it. What is “me”, after all? Who am I? Am I a person? What is personhood? What does all this mean? What do I mean?
If I don’t know who I am, I can’t be me. This line of thought is getting me nowhere. Best to stop thinking about such things. I can just be me by, well, just being me. I am who I am because that’s who I want to be.
But who am I?
That darn question again!
I think, therefore I am.
But do I think? If I think too much I keep wondering who I am?
Who am I?
And if I don’t know who I am, how can I just be me?
To hell with thinking. I don’t think therefore I am. That’s better. No tricky questions. Now I can be just what I want to be. I am who I am, and I am who I want to be. Or what I want to be. I can simply invent myself. Ex nihilo. From nothing. I can be whomever I want to be. Or whatever I want to be. A boy? A girl? A goat? An umbrella? Why not? Who can stop me? The choices are limitless!
This “stuff,” which the radical relativists pass off as philosophy is nothing but sophistry, and a pretty soft and flaccid sophistry at that.
Let’s start again but this time let’s not refuse the challenge that reason demands.
“Just being me” means that what I want comes first. I’m number one. Numero uno. I come first. Everything else comes second. This egocentrism used to be called selfishness. Or, if we prefer the language of the theologian, it is called pride, the first and worst of all the sins. Sin number one. Numero uno!
If I come first and everyone else comes second, it means that everyone else can go to hell if they get in my way. I just want to be me and if what I want conflicts with what you think is best for me, or you, or the rest of society, you can go to hell too!
If everyone thinks in this way, or if enough people think in this way that it becomes the defining characteristic of society, we will be doomed to live in a culture without love and without justice. We will not have love because love is always putting ourselves second or third or fourth. Never first. Selflessness is the definition of love. Selfishness is love’s absence. And where there’s no love there’s no justice. When we will not help each other. When we are all treading each other underfoot to get what we want, we will have anarchy. The survival of the strongest at the expense of the weak. If you want such a society, “just be you.” If you want a just and loving society, “you be just.”
[Image Credit: Youtube | LeahMouse]
Joseph Pearce is Senior Contributor at The Imaginative Conservative. A native of England, Mr. Pearce is Director of Book Publishing at the Augustine Institute, editor of the St. Austin Review, editor of Faith & Culture, and series editor of the Ignatius Critical Editions. He is the author of numerous books, which include The Quest for Shakespeare, Tolkien: Man and Myth, The Unmasking of Oscar Wilde, C. S. Lewis and The Catholic Church, Literary Converts, Wisdom and Innocence: A Life of G.K. Chesterton, Solzhenitsyn: A Soul in Exile and Old Thunder: A Life of Hilaire Belloc.