Most of us in Western cultures are familiar with the Seven Deadly Sins: Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy, and Pride. These Cardinal Vices were enumerated by the early Christian church as a way to educate and instruct followers concerning man’s tendency to sin. I believe we must add an eighth Deadly Sin to that list – Guiltism.
Guiltism is a mindset or belief system that espouses that an individual or group is inherently “evil” because they are possessed of some innate benefit that they did not earn and must be ashamed of. At guiltism’s core is the mandate that since someone or some group has privilege, they must pay reparations to all others who do not possess that privilege. Failure to pay without complaint absolves all others who harm the privileged person or group from some or all responsibility for their actions.
This is an insidious and pernicious belief structure. Guiltism it is on both the idea of collective guilt, which is guilt attributed to someone who has some sort of relationship – familial or societal – with someone else who perpetrated some transgression, and upon the idea any privilege automatically incurs an individual or group the burden of guilt and the need to offer both apology and recompense to diverse strangers.
Guiltism is an extremely damaging “sin”, possibly worse than the original seven combined. It corrupts the Seven Contrary Virtues: chastity, abstinence, liberality, diligence, patience, kindness, and humility.
- Guiltism corrupts Chastity by causing a beautiful person to hate their own bodies – an unearned privilege, which detracts from successful integration of sexuality within the person and thus the inner unity of a human person in his or her bodily and spiritual being.
- Guiltism denies Abstinence because the virtue of abstinence is intended to be a conscious act, freely chosen to enhance life, and guiltism twists this into repressive self-denial.
- Guiltism counters Liberality by denying any act of charity. Guiltism would claim that any charitable act was actually nothing more than rendering partial payment due.
- Guiltism perverts Diligence. Diligence requires that a human being freely to direct himself to conform to the good promised by God and attested by moral conscience. Guiltism both adds a goad, which precludes the person’s freedom of action and supplants the purpose of a vocation to divine beatitude with the assuagement of guilt and reduction of personal tribulation.
- Guiltism defies Patience by forcing a person to defy the existence of a divine plan and divine wisdom in favor of acting at their own pace to correct perceived injustices.
- Guiltism refuses Kindness by making all good acts towards others who carry this burden of adopted guilt an exacerbation of their condition, and any good act to the less privileged being recompense as opposed to kindness.
- Guiltism contravenes Humility by causing a person to aggrandize themselves and their self perception of their power and influence. To carry guilt implies the belief that one had the power to enact either harm or good.
Guiltism is by far the most deadly and corruptive of “sins.” It’s corrosive effects upon the human soul are unequaled in Man.