What is the devil’s favorite sin? According to Dominican Father Juan José Gallego, an exorcist from the Archdiocese of Barcelona in Catalonia, Spain, the sin the devil likes the most is pride. (What Is the Devil’s Favorite Sin? Pride, Says an Exorcist, Catholic News Agency, Aug. 25, 2015)
In his Commentary on Psalm 18/2, 15, St. Augustine records that pride turned Lucifer into Satan and banned him eternally from heaven. It causes the soul to rebel against God and wander off into the darkness. This vice is thus no slight evil:
"It makes those infected with it refuse to bow their necks to the yoke of Christ while they harness themselves all the more tightly to the bondage of sin."
The Decalogue shows that the beginning of idolatry is pride (preference for self over the Holy Trinity and neighbor). The will of the proud man is not in submission to the Trinity but self, thus having made an idol out of himself as millions of Americans from the White House to the back alleys have done, he assumes he possesses honor and rights. This is why preference for self leads to contempt for truth, law (i.e.,the Constitution), wisdom, norms, authority, standards, rules, institutions and other people and their families, property, and wealth. As a whole, Scripture combines pride with covetousness, greed, malice, hatred, and jealousy into a single concept (ressentiment) that is a manifestation of idolatry of self issuing in hatred of the Holy God and one's brother, which means that there can be no love whatsoever where there is envy (ressentiment) and hatred in one's heart.
Ressentiment is the passion which causes evil. It is the father of death,
"... the first entrance for sin, the root of wickedness, the birth of sorrow, the mother of misfortune, the basis of disobedience, the beginning of shame. Envy banishes us from paradise....Envy made Joseph a slave. Envy is the death-dealing sting, the hidden weapon, the sickness of nature, the bitter poison, the self-willed emaciation, the bitter dart, the nail of the soul, the fire in the heart, the flame burning on the inside..." (Life of Moses, Gregory of Nyssa, quoted in Death by Envy, Fr. George R.A. Aquaro, p. 74)
In his first edition dictionary, "The American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828" Noah Webster defines ressentiment, or what he simply identifies as envy as,
"...pain, uneasiness, mortification or discontent excited by the sight of another's superiority (often spiritual)or success, accompanied by some degree of hatred or malignity, often or usually with a desire or an effort to depreciate the person, and with pleasure at seeing him depressed; malice, malignity, invidiousness, ill will."
According to Webster, malice is,
"extreme enmity of heart; malevolence; a disposition to injure others...from mere personal gratification or from a spirit of revenge."
Malice is inseparable from the following:
1. Malevolence: having an evil disposition towards another or others; wishing evil to others....a malevolent heart rejoices in the misfortune of others
2. Malign: to regard with envy or malice; to treat with extreme enmity; to injure maliciously
3. Malignant: malicious; having extreme malevolence; bitter enmity; malice
In his seminal work, "Idols for Destruction: The Conflict of Christian Faith and American Culture," Herbert Schlossberg, a Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and leading scholar on the relationship between Christianity and the societies in which it has existed, writes that ressentiment begins with perceived injury occasioned by envy toward and covetousness of the spiritual and/or temporal possessions or qualities possessed by another person. If the perception is not either sublimated,
"...or assuaged by the doing of some injury to the object of the feeling, the result is a persistent mental condition, stemming from the repression of emotions that are not acceptable when openly expressed. The result is hatred and the impulse to spite and to say things that detract from the other's worth." (p. 51)
Malevolence, or what Schlossberg describes as Schadenfreude, is the rejoicing at another person's suffering, thus vengeance is the principle manifestation of ressentiment.
Ressentiment has its origin in the tendency to make comparisons between the attributes of another and one's own attributes such as wealth, popularity, appearance, intelligence, success, personality, position, gender (straight male, straight female), children, and friends, for example. Any perceived superior difference is enough to set the pathology in motion. Thus ressentiment whispers continually:
"I can forgive everything, but not that you are---that you are what you are----that I am not what you are---indeed that I am not you." (Envy: A Theory of Social Behavior, Helmut Schoeck, ibid, Schlossberg, p. 52)
The envied other's very existence is a reproach,
"When heaven with such parts blest him, have I not reason to detest him?" is a genuine and natural expression of the human mind. The man who writes as we cannot write, who speaks as we cannot speak, labors as we cannot labor, thrives as we cannot thrive, has accumulated on his person all the offenses of which man can be guilty. Down with him! Why cumbereth he the ground?" (Schoeck)
Ressentiment as Genocidal Progressive/Communist/Socialist Politics of Evil
"Political Ponerology" is the name given by Polish psychiatrist Andrzej M. £obaczewski to an interdisciplinary study of the founders (i.e., Karl Marx) and supporters of 20th century totalitarian political regimes. His study utilizes data from psychology, sociology, philosophy, and history to account for the propagation of man's inhumanity to man through such phenomena as terrorism, aggressive war, ethnic cleansing, ostracism, genocide, and despotism:
"As many as 7 million Ukrainians were starved in Soviet Socialist dictator Joseph Stalin's artificial, forced famine in Ukraine in 1932 and 1933. This is approximately the total population of Manitoba, Newfoundland, British Columbia, New Brunswick, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island." (Inky Mark, M. P. Dauphin – Swan River House of Commons 2 June 1998, Famine-Genocide in Ukraine 1932-1933)
"Moscow employed the famine as a political weapon against the Ukrainians in the years 1932-1933. The famine was in its entirety artificially induced and organized." (ibid, Investigation of Communist Takeover and Occupation of the Non-Russian Nations of the U.S.S.R p. 35)
"... On one side, millions of starving peasants, their bodies often swollen from lack of food; on the other, soldiers, members of the GPU carrying out the instructions of the dictatorship of the proletariat. They had gone over the country like a swarm of locusts and taken away everything edible; they had shot or exiled thousands of peasants, sometimes whole villages; they had reduced some of the most fertile land in the world to a melancholy desert." ( Malcolm Muggeridge, "War on the Peasants," Fortnightly Review, 1 May, 1933)
"Food is a weapon." (Maxim Litvinov, Soviet Commissar of Foreign Affairs)
According to the authors of "The Black Book of Communism," Communist and Socialist regimes did not just commit criminal acts but were criminal enterprises in their very essence:
"...all ruled lawlessly and without regard for human life (and) one particular feature of many Communist regimes (was) their use of famine as a weapon. The Bolsheviks had decided to eliminate...any challenge or resistance, even if passive, to their absolute power. This strategy applied not only to groups with opposing political views, but also to such social groups as the nobility, the middle class, the intelligentsia...the clergy...military officers and the police." (pp. xvii, 8-9)
Financed by Western Progressives, a coalition of God-hating, ressentiment fueled atheist pagan Jews (Bolsheviks) and atheist pagan Gentiles (Marxist Communists) systematically stole the personal property of Russians. Fueled by malevolence, they sexually perverted their children and conditioned them to hate the Trinity, Jesus Christ God Incarnate in particular, as well as their own parents, the Christian church and their homeland. They undermined and destroyed the traditional family, unleashed a holocaust of abortion, homosexualized culture, desecrated and blasphemed churches, crucified thousands of nuns and priests and in general, committed monstrous crimes against humanity which took the lives of more than sixty-million men, women, and children. For example:
"About 200,000 clergy, many crucified, scalped and otherwise tortured, were killed during the approximately 60 years of communist rule in the former Soviet Union, a Russian commission reported this week. In addition, another 500,000 religious figures were persecuted and 40,000 churches destroyed in the period from 1922 to 1980, the report said. Half the country's mosques and more than half the synagogues were also destroyed" Clergymen were crucified on churches' holy gates, shot, scalped [and] strangled," said Alexander Yakovlev, head of the Commission for the Rehabilitation of the Victims of Political Repression. The commission prepared the report for Russian President Boris Yeltsin. "I was especially shocked by accounts of priests turned into columns of ice in winter," Yakovlev said. "It was total cruelty." (paulbogdanor.com)
"Persecution and martyrdom of Christians under 20th century totalitarianism – mainly of Russian Orthodox Christians under Bolshevism – is by far the greatest crime in all of recorded history....Attempts at "killing the soul" started only months after the Revolution of 1917." Persecution and martyrdom was, "several times greater than the Holocaust in terms of innocent lives brutally destroyed. It has killed more Christians in a few decades than all other causes put together in all ages, with Islam a distant second as the cause of their death and suffering. And yet it still remains a largely unknown, often minimized, or scandalously glossed over crime." (New Martyrs of the East and Coming Trials in the West, Srdja Trifkovic, OrthodoxyToday.com)
Though Lobaczewski's study is a clinically accurate description of the nature of human evil it falls into the error of attributing evil to biological causes rather than the sin nature of man. Despite this failing, Political Ponerology is a shocking account of large scale evil super-heated by hatred of the Holy God and burning with ressentiment and will to power – or what Lobaczewski terms 'ponerogenic processes' that overtook modern Russia and have overtaken whole societies and nations since time immemorial.
Ressentiment has played a part in human dynamics ever since the Evil One persuaded the envy-bitten Cain to murder his brother Abel, Judas to betray Jesus Christ and the Pharisees to crucify Him, and Saul to suddenly throw his spear at David in a murderous attempt at pinning him to a wall. (1 Sam. 18:11) In fact, the envy-bitten Saul tried three times to kill David with a javelin (1 Sam. 18:10-11, 19: 9-10) and to bring about David's death by the Philistines. (1 Sam. 18:25)
After ancient Greece had been overtaken by a malevolent spirit of ressentiment, as is happening very quickly in America, an egalitarian, collectivist, or leveling impulse served to help relieve a malicious, envy-torn culture by leveling all men down to the lowest common denominator. Ressentiment, or political correctness enforced by hate crime laws in modern terminology, was enforced by character destruction and the threat of ostracism:
"...one had to watch not only the malevolent actions of envious friends and enemies, but the very real threat of ostracism by the democratic community. Philanthropy had much less to do with (love of man) as it had with....avoiding other people's phthonos of one's success." (Death by Envy, p. 14)
Today increasing numbers of Americans at every level of society, on both left and right, Christian and non-Christian, are controlled by their passions unfettered from the restraint of transcendent immutable Truth and Moral Law. Adding to the problem are morally relative, culturally relevant church models attended by thousands of Americans that cater to felt-needs and self-indulgent emotional feel-goodism (2 Tim. 4: 1-220). Thus America is "a nation ruled by its passions," said Reb Bradley, author of "Born Liberal Raised Right." This is why heinous acts,
"...of casual disregard for life, unheard of fifty years ago, have become a familiar item on the evening news; students killing classmates, children murdering their playmates....these gruesome crimes are merely symptomatic of a breakdown of moral fiber..." (ibid, pp. 2-3)
Worse, ressentiment oozes from the pores of America's God-hating, self-worshipping ruling class, and in particular, our pro-cross dressing, pro-sodomy, pro-abortion, pro-every-dysfunctional-idea lending itself to the misery, impoverishment, degradation, humiliation and suffering of middle class Americans. President Obama's barely leashed malice underlies his publicly stated belief that DNA doesn't make people male or female but it does make white people racist. These malice-laced claims were described by our equally malignant media as 'bold' rather than malice fueled ill-will:
"CNN reported that Obama, during an appearance on a comedy show, said “the legacy of slavery, Jim Crow, discrimination” exists in institutions and casts “a long shadow and that’s still part of our DNA that’s passed on.” The host, comedian Marc Maron, has been a guest on MSNBC, the failing left-wing cable channel." ("Obama Logic? Racism is Genetic, Gender is a Choice, Cliff Kincaid, gopusa.com, June 23, 2015
When ressentiment has finally saturated a society's entire ruling class and its' privileged special rights groups (barbarians), and opposition from morally convicted people has been crushed as is underway even now, then we are dealing with what Lobaczewski calls Macrosocial Evil or a "macrosocial ponerologic phenomenon." (p. 121)
The most frightening aspect of America's descent into moral imbecility, idolatry, heresy, barbarism, ressentiment and lawlessness is that our society is being overtaken by "ponerological processes." Through the White House, State Department and other federal agencies, legislatures, media, Hollywood, courts, academia, pentagon, seminaries and even pulpits, the spirit of malice-fueled ressentiment is encompassing our society, suppressing and demonizing orthodox Christians, faithful Jews and other morally informed people, and overspreading our nation with a "macrosocial ponerologic phenomenon." This will lead inevitably to a tyranny of evil, persecution and martyrdom:
"The New Martyrs' example and their legacy is precious, because in this, 21st century, it will be the turn of Western Christians to experience martyrdom. In Western Europe they will be persecuted by the unholy alliance between the postmodern, Christophobic velvet totalitarianism of the therapeutic hyper-state, and a resurgent Islam which already accounts for a quarter of all newborns in France. In the United States they will be persecuted for refusing to accept the destruction of the moral foundation of the society, currently epitomized by abortion, by "gay marriage," and by the ever-expanding speech and thought codes. Instead of being thrown to the lions or sent to Siberia, the resisters will be subjected – by some monstrous mechanism devised by an ever more activist judiciary – to the mandatory "sexual diversity orientation sessions," or feminist-led pro-abortionist "right-to-choose education workshops," or "immigrant rights sensitivity training," after which the continuing refusal to recant will lead to compulsory "therapy" and forced medication. This scenario is not farfetched on either side of the Atlantic. Western Christians should be prepared for martyrdom." (ibid, Srdja Trifkovic)
In his 1974 essay, "Repentance and Self-Limitation in the Life of Nations," ex-atheist Alexander Solzhenitsyn warns that the only way out for an idolatrous, ressentiment-filled people is repentance,
"and the search for our own errors and sins. We must stop blaming everyone else (and) claiming that we alone are in the right. Repentance is the first bit of firm ground underfoot, the only one from which we can go forward not to fresh hatreds but to concord. Repentance is the only starting ground for spiritual growth. "
Having begun the work of repentance, we will then be able to carry our Christ's command to,
"Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.(Matthew 5:44-45)"
Without wholesale repentance and a turning back to our Lord, the wrath of God will fall upon this proud, ressentiment-fueled nation:
"The wrath of God is a fearsome and terrifying thing. Only those who have been covered by the blood of Christ, shed for us on the cross, can be assured that God’s wrath will never fall on them. “Since we have now been justified by His blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through Him!” (Romans 5:9)." (What is the biblical understanding of the wrath of God? gotquestions)