Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Russell Nieli on what the Santa Barbara killer needed and didn't get (hint: it's not "therapy")

In the "Age of Feeling" in which we live, the reality of evil is obscured, and what were once correctly understood as vices are regarded as emotional problems---if they are regarded as problems at all. When the concepts of evil and vice disappear, people lose awareness of the need for repentance and reform; when evil and vice are redescribed as emotional problems, people are deceived into supposing that they can and should be managed by way of therapy. The culture of narcissism and the therapeutic culture are the two sides of one coin. The therapist usurps the role and authority of the priest, and the priest reimagines himself as a therapist.

Today at Public Discourse, my colleague and dear friend Russell Nieli, a Lecturer at Princeton and the author of (among other valuable writings) a superb book on Wittgenstein, offers a deeply thoughtful reflection on the tragic case of Elliot Rodger, the Santa Barbara killer:

"What [Elliot Rodger] needed was not a psychiatrist—he had been seeing therapists and psychiatrists for much of his life—but a preacher or a priest who could explain to him the self-destructive vice lurking within his soul, the importance of gratitude, the necessity of repentance, the evil of covetous envy, and most crucial of all, the importance of charity, humility, loving kindness, and trust in a higher power."

Read the entire essay here:



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