By: Gene Van Shaar
The Divine Comedy is an epic poem written by Dante Alighieri in the 14th century. In the first part, known as "Dante's Inferno," Dante is rescued by the spirit of the ancient Roman poet Virgil.Virgil proceeds to take Dante on a tour of hell which is represented as having nine descending rings. Each ring or circle represents a certain class of sin and associated suffering, with each inner or lower ring getting worse and worse. As he passes though the rings Dante observes the suffering of various historical characters including some of his enemies. There are rings for greed, lust, fraud, and violence with many subdivisions. Various forms of punishment are shown including, boiling, burning, dismemberment, and demonic torture. In the very deepest level of hell, bound in unyielding ice are those who betray their benefactors, the most famous inmate being the arch-traitor, Lucifer.
Let's consider why Dante might have cast "Benefactor Betrayal" as the greatest, most horrible evil of all. Possible benefactor entities include the following: friend, helper, supporter, sponsor, teacher, parent, sibling, spouse, protector, defender, advocate, leader, guardian angel, and redeemer. Betrayal occurs when one consciously turns against a person who has worked for his benefit. Betrayal can also consist of the intentional individual or collective turning away from principles that have created abeneficent economic, religious, or social system for some portion of humanity.
Betrayal is especially heinous if it damages a benefactor who has sacrificed much for the betrayer. For example, if a young man fatally abused his kind, loving, and sacrificial mother it would be a grave case of Benefactor Betrayal for which he could wind up in the ninth ring of Dante's Hell, if such a place existed.
Every benefactor has weaknesses, faults, and sins. Sadly, many have fallen into the trap of Benefactor Betrayal when they became aware of their benefactor's shortcomings. In fact, a favorite trick of those trying to get us to betray our benefactors is to point out imperfections. It's important to remember that faults and failings do not justify betrayal.
Reviewing the fate of a few outstanding historical benefactors reveals some significant insights and patterns. Some were directly betrayed during their lifetimes. Others faced substantial opposition to their beneficence, which often continued and intensified after their deaths.
Moses -- Moses led a nation out of captivity, conveyed to the world The Ten Commandments and the foundation of the Judeo-Christian tradition. He was betrayed by many of his followers, including his brother and sister, and would likely have been deposed or killed by those he was working to save, except for divine intervention.
Socrates -- "Socrates was a classical Greek philosopher credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy, and as being the first moral philosopher of the Western ethical tradition of thought." (Wikipedia) Some of those he was trying to help forced him to drink a fatal dose of hemlock.
Jesus Christ -- His teachings and example have probably had greater effect for good than any other person who ever lived.Many of his followers turned against him, he was betrayed by his beloved disciple Judas Iscariot and publicly executed as an enemy of church and state. Because of the premeditated, public, greedy nature of Judas’ betrayal against a person totally innocent of wrongdoing, and because the one he betrayed was an intimate and trusted friend, Judas Iscariot is perhaps the most famous and most detested traitor of all time.
Joan of Arc -- Sir Winston Churchill said, "Joan was a being so uplifted from the ordinary run of mankind that she finds no equal in a thousand years. She embodied the natural goodness and valour of the human race in unexampled perfection. Unconquerable courage, infinite compassion, the virtue of the simple, the wisdom of the just, shone forth in her." (Wikiquote)She was falsely accused, burned to death, and posthumously designated as a saint.
George Washington -- George Washington is one of the greatest benefactors who ever lived. Without George Washington the United States of America would have been doomed. His influence for good in the world can hardly be overstated. Benedict Arnold was a trusted general in the continental army serving under George Washington and became one of the most infamous traitors of all time. Benedict betrayed Washington and his country partly because felt slighted and partly in exchange for money and power. His betrayal was so complete that he actually led the British in a battle against those who had previously trusted him. (Benedict Arnold) His infamy eventually made his name synonymous with being a traitor. Though Benedict Arnold initially helped the American revolutionary army win some battles, in the end he chose the role of a traitor against one of the greatest men of all time rather than becoming a principled benefactor himself.
John Locke -- John Locke is one of the most influential political philosophers in world history. Ideas he advanced became building blocks for modern republics and social institutions. Some of the concepts he proclaimed are incorporated in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America. Locke insisted that all people have inherent natural rights, including life, liberty, and property. Lockean politics contrast sharply with the politics of tyranny and exploitation. His ideas have improved the lives and circumstances of much of humanity. In order to escape persecution, he had to flee England in 1679.
Thomas Jefferson -- In the Declaration of Independence Jefferson wrote: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed." This declaration of God-given rights has shaped the policies of nations and benefitted humanity on a massive scale. The people of America and of nations across the globe owe Thomas Jefferson a huge debt of gratitude for his beneficent influence. However, Jefferson had many enemies among the power-hungry partly because he lived by these words, “I have sworn on the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." He was widely denigrated during his lifetime andhas been openly vilified in recent years. The very people who now berate Jefferson are standing on his shoulders and are only able to shout out their traitorous words because of the freedomshe helped pass on to them.
Abraham Lincoln -- He led the nation through a civil war in which 600,000 were killed in order to abolish slavery. The following quote and many of his pearls of wisdom can be found via this link: "Our defense is in the preservation of the spirit which prizes liberty as a heritage of all men, in all lands, everywhere." He was assassinated.
Mahatma Gandhi -- He peacefully led the nation of India to independence and set an example of peaceful, powerful resistance to all the world. He taught many wonderful things including, "I look upon an increase in the power of the State with the greatest fear … it does the greatest harm to mankind by destroying individuality which lies at the heart of all progress” (Gandhi) He was assassinated.
Ronald Reagan -- He is the one most credited with bringing about the breakup of the USSR, a regime which caused the death of at least 45 million people. He also helped rekindle freedom in the USA and famously said, "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same." (BrainyQuote) His political enemies tried to impeach him and assassination was almost successful.
I have often wished that I could have been there to rescue Joan of Arc. I have also wished that I could somehow pay back those who have sacrificed the most for me. Perhaps you have had similar feelings.
In addition to a host of historical benefactors whose influence continues to enrich our lives, all of us have had personal benefactors. Who are the benefactors in your life? How have they helped and blessed you? Can we all agree that Benefactor Betrayal is despicable? Would you do anything to intentionally harm any of your benefactors? How can you honor your benefactors?
Can you imagine what it would feel like to betray your personal benefactors? How would you respond to someone who tried to get you to betray your most beloved and trusted friends and heroes? How would you like to live in a country where the government required you to betray the values of your historical and personal benefactors? Could such a disastrous thing everhappen?
Consider this stunning example: In recent years, “The Economist provided the shocking statistic that 100 million baby girls had been aborted, killed after birth, abandoned or sold to child trafficking gangs … The government has decided that X should be done, and, therefore, X is good and shall be done. Any means by which X is achieved is, therefore, also good -- as long as the government says so." (Laura Hollis) This is a clear case of historical betrayal. The people of China have a long history of honoring family connections and eschewing the murder of children. However, in the name of population control, the leaders of China have betrayed those principles and forced their populace to do the same, leading to disastrous long-term outcomes for individuals, families, and the country at large.(Demographic Winter)
It's no secret that, "When Karl Marx envisioned regimes under socialism and communism … he believed they would destroy all the beliefs, traditions, and morals of the world as it was. He and other communists that followed believed their ideas superseded all others, and that in the brutal regimes that would follow to create these systems, the ends would justify the means … the socialist leaders believed 'the political system should permeate every section of public and private life,' to include 'ethics and mores, family, churches, schools, universities, community organizations, culture, and even human sentiment and aspirations.'" (Joshua Philipp) In other words, Marxian socialism and communism intends to commit historical betrayal on a massive scale, upending virtually all systems that previously helped to establish peace, progress, and prosperity.
The standard operating procedure of socialistic government is to tear down - betray -every person, practice, or philosophy, past and present that is not in accordance with socialist ideology and replace it with whatever the current despot desires. Current "democratic socialists" deceptively say that all this malevolenceapplies only to "totalitarian socialism," but the reality is that they are currently pushing for government control over virtually everything in accordance with their warped ideology, which has already been recognized as being founded on the betrayal of past and present benefactors. It's hard to imagine anything more moronic or evil.
Have the raging American socialists ever done anything beneficial? Have they lifted anyone out of poverty? Have they created any jobs? Have they improved healthcare? Obama's socialistic healthcare program has been an abject failure, and socialists are now telling us that the solution is more of the same. Have the communities and states controlled by socialists improved or are they getting worse? As a matter of fact, socialism destroys everything it touches, including families.
Did you notice that the world's greatest socialist leaders were missing from the list of historical benefactors? That’s because they were not benefactors, by any stretch of the imagination. The only things they really excelled at are murder (100 million and counting) and enslavement. Just to be fair, let's listen to a list of beneficial accomplishments of current American "democratic socialist" leaders. Oops. Crickets.
What about the most vilified man in America today? Here's a list of 289 of his beneficial accomplishments in just his first two years: Trump's 289. And now there's another year's worth of great things to be added on. Did you know he just won the trade war? You will search history in vain to find any political figure who has done so much good, in such a short time, in the face of so much opposition. Donald Trump is already one of the greatest benefactors in American history, and he is just getting started. How then is it possible that many are calling for his impeachment with some even trying to provoke his assassination?
A very sad part of history is repeating itself, but why? Certainly,there are a few who are traitorous, freedom-hating socialist ideologs. We could name names, but we won't, in the hope that even they will yet see the light. There are others who are sincerely fighting for what they perceive as social justice. They need to read my last article. However, there are many who have genuine concerns about Trump's possible faults or shortcomings. This is not surprising since at least 96% of Trump's press coverage is negative socialist propaganda. Here's just one example that went on for more than two years. They are trying to trick us into Benefactor Betrayal. The tactic at work every day in the media is to focus on President Trump’s perceived shortcomings and ignore the massive good he is doing as a benefactor to America and the people in it, and in turn, to theworld.
I earnestly hope that all those who are thinking about not supporting Donald Trump will consider the following: We are in the middle of a culture war, allied with a cadre of past and present benefactors on the side of truth, freedom, and prosperity. On the other side are socialists who seek to tear down all the good that has been bequeathed to us and replace it with ashes. If you're fighting a war to protect your freedom and family, do you quit and join the other side because your benefactor general has faults and imperfections? If your answer is yes, you may be a candidate for a trip to the depths of Dante's Inferno. Do not betray your benefactors simply because they are not perfect. Stand with them as they fight for your life, your prosperity, and your freedom.
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Copyright © 2019 by Gene Van Shaar
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Gene Van Shaar
Gene Van Shaar is a pro-Trump writer for Reed Cooper News. He is a retired educator. He has written several articles and books including Concise Harmony of the Four Gospels, Pillars of Truth and Freedom, My Life and Lessons, and Freedom and The Obama Debacle. He currently serves as president of the Clear Creek Institute.