Last Autumn I took a class called "Humanism and Mysticism" to finish all of my requirements for my Religious Studies minor. The class started out promising but the professor really had an ax to grind, especially concerning issues of race, although he did it cryptically (except for one occasion, but I'll do another blog on that latter), so many people in the class couldn't pick up his conservative white man biases (in fact, many thought he was a liberal since he was a band member in Sha Na Na and played in Woodstock).
At one point in December 2006 he began talking about Friedrich Nietzshce and his theory on the transvaluation of values and how Nietzshce used the transvaluation of values to attack Christianity (but we don't need to get into that right now). This is how his lecture went:
Basically he started talking about the Beautitudes and he was saying. "You know the Beautitudes. 'Blessed are the poor, blessed are the hungary, etc. Woe to you who are rich.'"
He than went on to say how this is bad thinking and how its not bad to be rich, it's bad to be poor and that nobody likes to be poor. Of course, one can take the context of Jesus' message as not blessing poverty but instead blessing the people in poverty because they endure hardships imposed on them from the outside, but we don't need to get into that now. With this he introduced a theory that Nietzsche had on religion.
Essentially (this is how the professor described it). Originally there was a "Master Class" and the "Hoi Polloi" (slaves, or, the masses). The Hoi Polloi are what make up around 70-90% of the society and the Master Class are the minority who control society and get educated. After awhile though a sect within the Master Class breaks away, they are too physically weak to rule by force and they don't have enough clout to rule politically, this sect is called the "Priestly Class." Essentially the Priestly Class guides the Hoi Polloi to revolt against the Master Class and to overthrow them. With this the Priestly Class takes its place over the Master Class. The professor than told us that the Priestly Class makes the Master Class "feel guilty" and "uses the strengths of the Master Class to make them fell guilty."
Our professor told us. "Now, unlike some," referring here (most likely) to Ethnic Studies professors and radical professors in general, "I'm not here to make you feel guilty. Oh, woe to you because your rich. NO! I'm not about that at all. How dare I."
For the professor, the Master Class is the normal ruling class in this society, i.e. white people (he talked much on how there is no racism anymore in my class), and the Priestly Class are the professors, specifically Ethnic Studies professors who make white people "feel guilty." For the professor, these Ethnic Studies professors use the "strengths" of whites to make them feel guilty. White people are on top due to hard work, they are in colleges because they study hard, they have riches because they worked hard, they live in nice neighborhoods because they were "smart enough" to move out when crime was rising and when suburbs opened up. The professor in my class saw these Ethnic Studies professors as unjustly making whites feel guilty for their position in society and he saw their position in society as justly earned.
He would constantly say in class. "I'm not here to make you feel guilty. Sex is good. Power is good. Money is good."
During class he would also compare and contrast Confucian values (by Confucian values I mean his version of Confucian values, so if it looks like I'm insulting Confucianism, I'm not, I'm just insulting the professor's version of Confucianism) with Taoist and Christian values. He would show us how Jesus made the rich "feel guilty" because Jesus came from the poor countryside, which looked at urban wealth as earned off the backs of the poor country folk and how wealth was opulent and sinful. He would also show us how in the Tao Te Ching where it would say that wealth was the "fall of man" and how it "diluted" man and distracted man from the Tao (or, the Way). He would always paint Taoism and Christianity in a negative light because of this. He said that the Priestly Class asked humanity to do things that were impossible (such as renounce wealth and turn the other check, etc.) so humanity would "feel guilty" and turn to the priests for help. He even quoted a passage from the Tao Te Ching (a passage on the evils of wealth and opulence) and said that. "This isn't right! This is what Osama preaches." Essentially, he was equated Taoism to radical Jihadist Whabism (the Christian Right, if you will, of the Muslim world).
With Confucianism, he would say, you have a good balance. Making money is good and one should make money (as long as it didn't conflict with the Tao) and one should gain power, since power was good (as long as it didn't conflict with the Tao).
Essentially, the professor was using the Confucian values (his Confucian values) of wealth and power to counter the Christian (as in the historical Jesus, not present day conservative Christianity) and Taoist values on wealth and power. He pervertedly took these Confucian values to support the system of white male supremacy in the United States. For him power is good; the white males in America have power; money is good; the white males in America have money; and to preach against these things was to make whites "feel guilty;" and making whites "feel guilty," according to the professor, is wrong; wrong because whites got to where they were based on hard work. He also would use the Asian Model Minority myth to prove that racism didn't exist and that all races could have wealth and power in America (see "Welfare Mothers" and "The Asians Have Landed!").
One time in class he said. "Asian American Studies professors always try to disprove the model minority. 'We have gang bangers! We do drugs! We're dumb too!' Bullshit, don't believe any of it." (I've taken three Asian American Studies classes and have yet to hear any professor say this).
Like most whites, my professor can't see that the wealth and power white society has built up is solely off of governmental policies that benefited whites and is off the labor and toil of people of color; whether it be slavery, Pilipino farm laborers in the 1920s and 1930s, Latino immigrants today (just to name a few). What my professor had done was to justify the existence of white male supremacy in America today by stating that there is no alternative and that we should continue to on our way and not change the system. And any attack on the system makes whites feel unduly "guilty" for being "strong."