Catholic League Angry with Penn Jillette

JulianP's picture
Submitted by JulianP on Thu, 2006-05-18 20:26

I don't know if anybody saw this, but I missed it when it came around. And it was too funny not to post. Smiling

Here is a press release from The Catholic League:

April 12, 2006


On his April 5 CBS radio show, Penn Jillette commented on the rumor that Paris Hilton may play Mother Teresa in a movie. He said Mother Teresa "had this weird kink that I think was sexual" about seeing people suffer and die. He also said that "Paris Hilton is so far above Mother Teresa on the moral scale, she should not lower herself" to playing the saintly nun. After comparing Mother Teresa to Charles Manson, Jillette again said she "got her [sexual] kicks watching people suffer and die." He concluded by saying, "Paris Hilton. You're so much better than that. Don't take the gig. Keep making good wholesome porno films. Just do that. Do what you're cut out for. Don't lower yourself to playing Mother Teresa."

Subsequent to Jillette's remarks, John London, a radio talk-show host on KIFR/San Francisco (a CBS station that carries Jillette's show), said that he would offer "$5,000 to the person that kills Jillette" for his attack on Mother Teresa. He added that if Jillette "suffers, I'll make it $7,000." London, and his producer, Dennis Cruz, were then fired by the CBS management in New York.

Catholic League president Bill Donohue responded as follows:

"Last year, Penn Jillette referred to Mother Teresa on his Showtime TV show as 'Mother F---ing Teresa.' After I registered a complaint with Sumner Redstone, chairman of Viacom (which owns Showtime, as well as CBS), I was told about the merits of 'artistic freedom' and 'tolerance.' After Jillette's latest attack, it is clear that such excuses are wholly unacceptable. It is up to CBS Radio CEO Joel Hollander to fire him. His own record, which includes a vigorous defense of Howard Stern, is also in question. So this is an important moment for him as well.

"Contact Hollander at and demand that CBS dump Jillette immediately. What Jillette said is outside the parameters of irreverent humor—it's a malicious, obscene frontal assault on Mother Teresa and everything she stands for. And the culprit is a repeat offender, therefore meriting his termination."


Penn Jillette is a hero! Smiling Americans: email Joel Hollander and tell him to -NOT- fire Penn.

Hat-tip: B. Stabby

( categories: )

Rats are Wonderful Creatures, Adam

Bill Tingley's picture

Hi, Adam.

Feel free to call me “The Rat” if you like. It has, however, nothing to do with Christian humility. I can assure you that I think quite highly of myself. I’ve used the moniker for a long, long time, even going back to the time when I was a student of Objectivism. I enjoy the irony of the label. Most people malign the rat, but it is in fact an intelligent animal that is highly adaptive to whatever environment it finds itself in. It thrives making use of whatever is at hand. Its ubiquity fosters the familiarity that breeds contempt, yet it is that very ubiquity that is the hallmark of its success.

As for the illness you have, I wish you well and think I can say I understand. I have a disease which presently causes me only minor inconvenience but will probably worsen over time. The proponents of embryonic stem cell research and therapeutic cloning claim these technologies will provide the cure I need. That may be so (though I am very skeptical), but I will never take such a cure. That is because I would be reducing the lives of others to mere instrumentalities of my own. A human life begins at conception, and I will not sacrifice the life of another to the benefit of my own.

I’ll hazard the guess, Adam, that you disagree with me about what constitutes a human life. I will not attempt to persuade you that you are wrong. But why I believe what I do about the beginning of human life is not frivolous, irrational, or mystical. In light of the reasoned belief I hold, I am certainly true to Randian ethics to not support research that necessitates the sacrifice of human life even if such sacrifice would benefit me. Let me also say, that I do not think I am heroic in standing upon this principle. I do believe that other medical research, including the development of adult and umbilical cord stem cell therapies, holds a lot more promise to relieve me of my ailments in the near future. So, I don’t worry about having to reject what I deem an immoral cure. In comparison EST and cloning are dead ends, and it is unfortunate that abortion politics rather than sound science is driving so much money in that direction.

Finally, I may not have made myself clear about the inevitability of suffering. What I meant is that none of us can escape the experience of physical and emotional pain. All of us suffer at some time or another. The question is how to respond to suffering. To me the answer is simple in principle: Identify the cause and fix it. For example, I put my hand on hot stove and a fierce pain shoots through me, so I yank my hand from the stove before I inflict severe injury upon myself. In that sense, suffering has a benefit to me. Without it I would not have known I was damaging my hand. Of course, identification of the cause of suffering, let alone what needs to be done to end it, is not always plain to see. So the question is how does one cope with the suffering in the meantime. Do you let it defeat you by drowning you in a well of despair? Or do you cultivate hope to strengthen yourself emotionally to endure until you can relieve yourself of the pain?

I will agree with you, Adam, that the pursuit of suffering for its own sake is perverse. I will also agree that if Mother Teresa ran a hospital that denied patients medicine to relieve pain (assuming the funds to purchase the medicine were available), she was at least misguided and possibly even cruel. However, the patient is still responsible for his choices. He is still receiving some care for which he bears no cost. Most important, no one is inflicting pain upon him; at worst, no one is relieving him of it.

On a final note, let me say that I have not drawn the conclusions you and others have about Mother Teresa because it appears that all of the accusations against her are drawn from a small number of writers who have an agenda against the Catholic Church. I’m not naïve. People have repeatedly committed evil in the name of the Church, and the Church has been reckless in policing it. I also think that the late pope should not have accelerated Mother Teresa’s journey to sainthood. Also, there is nothing improper in scrutinizing the good works that Mother Teresa claimed to have done. Secrecy in the financial affairs of her order, the Missionaries of Charity, is ill-advised, if for no other reason it gives scandal-mongers room to bandy about charges of fraud.

What it comes down to is that I believe justice requires an assessment of Mother Teresa on the basis of the whole person – i.e., her actual deeds and words not stripped of their context.

Regards, Bill

It's the Zeitgeist, Fred

Bill Tingley's picture

Hi, Fred.

I agree that every age has its zeitgeist consisting of milieu of ideas that people generally accept as true without much consideration. For example, today we are enduring the pervasive perversities of postmodernism, because it seems that most people cannot even muster the vocabulary to question postmodern assumptions. I also agree that the elevation of loyalty to the State (often in the form of nationalism) as a high virtue during the nineteenth century primed Europeans – as you say, quite succinctly, “intellectually disarmed” them – to acquiesce to the brutal ideologies of Communism and fascism.

But it is also a fact that Stalin and Hitler could not have wrought their evil without the Industrial Revolution. Yet the great men who invented and built the machinery of modern life cannot be reasonably be held responsible for the carnage of industrial warfare and totalitarian oppression that their ideas made possible. Indeed, I think that are just too many factors that cause a particular zeitgeist to form that no one person’s ideas can be identified as the prime culprit. That said, you won’t get any argument from me about the evil that Marx spewed and his responsibility for that evil. However, Stalin remains the greater criminal by far, because he is the one who murdered tens of millions – not Marx.

Another thing I suspect we agree upon is that anyone today, in light of the unprecedented death and destruction that collectivist ideologies have wrought upon the world during the 20th century, who continues to promote Marxism, especially in stealthy forms like environmentalism or multiculturism, is evil. At this late date, there is no excuse for not knowing how evil Marxism is.

As for Mother Teresa and the best way to help the poor, you and I have no disagreement that the best way to help the destitute is to help them become productive. Work is good for the soul. However, you first must be able to work. If you are a child, you need at least a modicum of education. If you are crippled or diseased, you need health care to function productively. If you are starving, you need a meal before you can focus upon earning a buck. Mother Teresa attended to these prerequisites to productivity and that only makes sense to me. She should have also taken a cue from Pope John Paul II’s encyclical “Centesimus Annus”, which taught that a just society expands the circle of productivity and exchange as the free market does? Perhaps. Maybe she did. Maybe not, because micro-loans weren’t her bag. The bottom line is that if Mother Teresa thought she had enough work on hands helping people obtain, as I call them, the prerequisites to productivity, I don’t think it’s a valid criticism that she didn’t also help the same people become entrepreneurs.

Regards, Bill

Ways of helping the poor

AdamReed's picture

Fred - you write, "the point about Mother Teresa isn't that there is anything necessarily wrong with helping the poor. The point is that it is an extremely minor and trivial way to help them and elevating people such as her diminishes the much more profound impact of industrial development and the great men who make it possible."

Funny how even today, 900 years after Maimonides demonstrated that the best way to help a poor man is to fund a business that will give him a productive job, and with it the self-respect and independence that come from productive work, Christians still think that the best way is to build him a hospital to die in - without even analgesics to ease his pain - when he gets ill from one of the many diseases caused by staying poor.

Michael Dell employs 8600 people in India. Larry Ellison (Oracle) somewhere between 10,000 and 20,000. IBM 39,000. Together, that's around 60,000 workers; with their families, about a quarter million, who in the unlikely case they get sick (people with good jobs do not get sick anywhere as often as the really poor) can afford real medical care, including analgesics - instead of the unmedicated pain dealt to the poor in "Mother" Theresa's hospital down the road.

So, if you really want to throw some money at poverty in India, invest in Dell Computer, in Oracle, in IBM. The people of India will grow richer, and you will too. Harmony of interests and all that.

Working hard to keep suffering inevitable

AdamReed's picture


(Your picture suggests that "Rat" is how, in keeping with Christian notions of humility, you think of yourself and prefer to be addressed. Please correct me if I'm wrong.)

You write about "suffering that is inevitable in life," and claim that "there exists no set of facts to show that Mother Teresa, either through word or deed, had ever caused any person to suffer." Both are false.

I am 60 myears old, and I have been sick at times, even severely, but I have never suffered extremes of pain from these illnesses. Pain is not inevitable: it can be defeated with analgesics. There is ample evidence that "Mother" Theresa prohibits analgesics in her hospitals, so that her victims suffer in pain.

In my teens I was a child of refugees, and yet I never suffered the extremes of deprivation suffered by refugee families that had more children than they could support. Thanks to the availability of contraception and abortion, my parents did not have to choose between the suffering of chastity - and the greater suffering of having more children than they would have been able to provide for, and watching those children suffer the effects of deprivation. "Mother" Theresa has always worked hard to make children suffer by depriving their parents of the benefits of contraception and abortion.

As I age, it is becoming more and more likely that I will, eventually, suffer from organ failure - and that this suffering could have been totally avoidable, if it were not for the successful effort of "Mother" Theresa's church to delay the development of therapeutic cloning technologies.

Suffering is not inevitable. That is why "Mother" Theresa has, in fact, had to work so very hard to keep it that way. And by her efforts to keep it "inevitable," she has given the "gift" of suffering to many orders of magnitude more people than Charles Manson had given it to. Evade at your peril - you, too, might someday suffer totally unnecessary (and objectively meaningless) suffering, thanks to the "work" of "Mother" Theresa's Church.

Any of them, Fred

AdamReed's picture

Yes, I think that any of those three would be fine. Or, among our contemporaries, Michael Dell or Larry Ellison - but not anyone who sells censorship software to authoritarian governments, or helps them catch dissidents, etc, much less someone who in his time set up whole factories ready to make military machines for the worst murderers of their time.

Bill, you raise a number of

Fred Weiss's picture

Bill, you raise a number of interesting points. I'd just like to comment on a couple of them.

First, you think that there is a "lack of causation between one person’s idea and another person’s deed. Each and everyone of us, endowed with free will, is responsible for the ideas in his head and the actions he chooses to take."

Noting the causal link between the ideas which predominate in a culture and which therefore have the greatest influence in explaining that culture is not equivalent to denying free will. Yes, men have free will and are ultimately responsible for the ideas they embrace but at the same time very, very few men are philosophical innovators and the vast majority therefore merely absorb the prevailing ideas of their time.

Therefore, Stalin and Hitler didn't need to justify their brutality with something as far-fetched as "sunshine and lollipops" when they had Kant, Hegel, and Marx ready at hand - and cultures which had already been intellectually disarmed by them.

Second, the point about Mother Teresa isn't that there is anything necessarily wrong with helping the poor. The point is that it is an extremely minor and trivial way to help them and elevating people such as her diminishes the much more profound impact of industrial development and the great men who make it possible.

Adam, you say that the point

Fred Weiss's picture

Adam, you say that the point is elementary and that you didn't miss it.

If I had said Andrew Carnegie or George Westinghouse or Thomas Edison instead of Henry Ford would you still have jumped all over it?

I assume that you have no problem regarding any of these three - or men like them - as having contributed more to mankind than Mother Teresa.

Thanks, Joe ...

Bill Tingley's picture

... for giving me your answer to the question I raised. I understand your point but disagree.

Jillette prides himself as a iconoclast who dares to say what others won't. In fact, he has little to say that is true which others haven't said more eloquently and effectively. So he grabs the spotlight with an adolescent vulgarity directed at high profile targets that he can shoehorn into his shtick that everything is an illusion.

I liked him better when he stuck to magic tricks.

Regards, Bill

A Long-Winded Wrap-Up

Bill Tingley's picture


I think this discussion about Jillette’s comparison of Mother Teresa to Charles Manson can be boiled down to a few points.

First, it is possible to both admire and despise a person. We do justice to a person by objectively acknowledging both what he has done that is remarkable and what is despicable. Adam provides an excellent example with Henry Ford. As a manufacturer I am astounded by his achievements in automaking. He was a genius who truly earned the fortune he amassed. But he was also an execrable human being who advocated anti-Semitism, racism, and eugenics. I can both admire and despise him without contradiction. Doing so is nothing more than justice.

Mother Teresa deserves no less. Even if you believe that she exulted in the suffering of those she was ministering to (she didn’t: she tried to give meaning to it or at worst rationalized what couldn’t be avoided), there remains the order she created which has helped the most helpless people in the world, primarily children, the crippled, and the diseased trapped in Third World hellholes. Nothing requires an Objectivist to validate her statements about the value of suffering to acknowledge the good and decent things she and her order have done for thousands and thousands of miserable people.

Second, the deed done is a greater evil than the idea behind it. Objectivists often decry Kant as the most evil man in history, because his ideas are purportedly responsible for the crimes of tyrants like Stalin and Hitler. Similarly, some here think Mother Teresa was more evil because of what she said than Charles Manson who actually tortured and murdered people. The primary problem with this sort of thinking is the lack of causation between one person’s idea and another person’s deed. Each and everyone of us, endowed with free will, is responsible for the ideas in his head and the actions he chooses to take.

Even if, for example, it could be shown that without Kant there would have been no Marxist or fascist ideologies for 20th-century tyrants to rationalize their crimes (and it can’t), Stalin and Hitler always had a choice as to which ideas they believed and whether or not to commit the crimes they did. To brand Kant as the most evil of all men because he was the long-dead enabler of tyrants is psychological nonsense. Since when did Objectivists fall in with the therapeutic culture? These thugs would have maimed, murdered, and tortured in the name of sunshine and lollipops if that were the only excuse at hand. When it comes to Mother Teresa, no one here can show how any of her ideas ever resulted in another person committing the evil that Manson did.

Third, there is the big problem of drawing judgments about Mother Teresa from selective quotations and isolated incidents. Consider that many have falsely judged Rand as a ruthless social Darwinist who believed that only the virtuous people are supermen, because they have formed opinions through willful ignorance of her work. I must say I see the same happening here regarding Mother Teresa, and I tell you this from the perspective of a former non-believer and student of Objectivism. I now understand that Christian doctrine is not founded upon Randian altruism and the Christian readiness to acknowledge the reality of suffering is not masochism but empowerment of the self to cope with the pain that will be inevitably encountered in life.

Therefore, returned to their proper contexts (i.e., Christian doctrine and the unrelenting suffering of those she helped), Mother Teresa’s statements about suffering simply do not advocate the evil you appear to think they do.

Finally, gentlemen, none of what I have had to say here is an attempt to persuade you to hail Mother Teresa as a hero or to think highly of her charitable works. I am certainly not saying you are wrong to have greater esteem for the businessmen, artists, scientists, soldiers, and maybe even the rare politician who have contributed to the wonders, wealth, and security of our age. I am saying that it is an injustice to damn a woman who has lessened the amount of suffering in this world (whatever your disagreements may be with the ideas that have motivated her to do so) as the likes of a vile mass murderer.

Regards, Bill

Capitalism, totalitarianisms, and technology

AdamReed's picture


You point is elementary, and no, I didn't miss it. What you don't get is that totalitarian systems abolish economic progress - except for parasitism on freer, more Capitalist economies. Had it not been for help from anti-Capitalist capitalists like Henry Ford, neither Stalin nor Hitler would have had the resources with which to maintain oppression at home or wage war abroad.

I recall that Ayn Rand - who started, remember, as a history major - also explained this somewhere, but no, I don't have the time right now to go look it up for you.

Interesting, Adam. Really.

Fred Weiss's picture

Interesting, Adam. Really. But entirely irrelevant to the original point, which apparently you still do not grasp.

Ford may have given some support to Hitler - again, in this regard he was not all that unusual among notable Americans (look at Lindbergh, for example)- and he and/or his executives were apparently incredibly naive about the Soviets (again not unusual during that period - and it is worth noting that he made no money there).

But Henry Ford is not why Naziism gained or maintained power in Germany or communism in Russia. It is entirely incidental. To whatever extent he and other businessmen were complicit is inexcusable of course, but it is not the reason for it, not the fundamental reason - and goddamn it, Adam, you've been an Objectivist long enough that you should know that.

What made Naziism and communism possible was *ideas*. So before you go Googling for more irrelevant facts that miss the main point, maybe first you should re-read Ominous Parallels.

Look, Adam, you might as well damn modern industrial technology across the board to the extent that it contributed to the greater devastation of WW11. So, then if I say that modern industrial technology contributed more to the betterment of mankind than Christianity are you going to give me a litany of the military uses of that technology - and tell me to Google for how many millions have been killed by that technology???

Henry Ford, Stalin and Hitler

AdamReed's picture


"Trading" is an interesting euphemism for complicity in slave labor and in totalitarian wars. On Ford and Stalin, see here - especially the statement of one of Ford's executives, on returning to America, that in comparison with Soviet working practices, "Labor here is too damned free and too damned talkative." On Ford and Hitler, here is a small part of the picture; note that: "In 1938, Ford began manufacturing tracked vehicles for the transport of German troops, and other military equipment. Soon, it had ceased producing passenger vehicles, and was devoting its entire production capacity to the manufacture of military trucks. Military historians estimate that approximately 60% of the 3 ton tracked vehicles produced for the German army were manufactured by the Ford Werke A.G. company."

Both articles come up near the top of any relevant Google search. Fred, would it be too much to ask that you research your statements before you post? Google is your friend.

Furthermore, Adam, you

Fred Weiss's picture

Furthermore, Adam, you should know that no specific factory or factories, even those converted into military production were what fundamentally enabled the Nazis or Soviets. Without excusing them, Ford or anyone else, what made the Nazis and Soviets powerful, far more powerful than anything they could have achieved on their own, was our appeasement of them and to a considerable extent our embracing a very similar ideology in the West (which put us in no position to denounce theirs, not at least in fundamental terms).


Fred Weiss's picture

Adam, on what are you basing these rather extreme charges against Ford? I'm not denying them. I am just unaware of them and would like to know your source(Drunk. I was aware of his despicable anti-semitism but many of the industrialists of that period were anti-semitic and/or held other bad views. In this regard they were no different than the general population. Many other industrialists also traded with the Nazis, the Japanese, and the Soviets - just as many do now with the Arabs or the Chinese.

Regardless, Ford's contribution to the wealth of this country and its rising standard of living in the early part of the 20th Cent. is indisputable. Just as, despite his bad philosophy, is Bill Gates' now.

Whatever their errors, the comparison with Mother Teresa is still valid.

Henry Ford

AdamReed's picture

Why do some people think that having a good philosophy relieves them of looking at facts? While in general industrialists do good and mystics do evil, Henry Ford might be the worst specimen to make that case with. Ford was a major supporter and enabler of both Stalin and Hitler, providing them with whole factories that could be, and soon were, converted to military production in support of totalitarian control at home, and of wars abroad. My estimate is that Stalin was enabled to murder an additional 15 million victims, and Hitler an additional 10 million, by Henry Ford's help. That's way beyond "Mother" Theresa's wettest dreams, much less her actual "accomplishments."

Mystics of Muscle

Marcus's picture

Is this not comparing the "mystics of muscle" (Manson/ Statists) to "mystics of spirit" (Teresa/ Church)?

Those of "spirit" are far more destructive than those of "muscle", because "mystics of muscle" cannot survive without the licence given them by the "mystics of spirit".

However, both of them, are parasites and different sides of the same irrational and morally bankrupt coin.

Mick, I wouldn't want you to

Fred Weiss's picture

Mick, I wouldn't want you to ruin your unbroken record of making incredibly stupid comments on this board, so I'll revise what I said to:

"Henry Ford - despite his cockamamie anti-semitism - has done far, far more for mankind than Mother Teresa and all the saints combined."

Mick, the vast majority of even relatively minor industrialists - also, despite whatever cockamamie views they may have had on other subjects - have done far, far more for mankind than Mother Teresa and all the saints combined.

I'd suggest you re-read your hero's book, The Russian Radical - or for that matter, anything he's written as a supposed Rand scholar - if I thought there was even a remote chance it would help you understand this point. But you know what, it's telling that it wouldn't. I'd be happy if any of Sciabarra's defenders would correct me on this.

Until then, so much for "dialectics" - or Sciabarra, generally - contributing to anyone's understanding of Objectivism. Mick Russell being Exhibit #1 (remember, he was the one who claimed that reading Russian Radical helped him to understand Objectivism).

Henry Ford

Mick Russell's picture

"You do understand I hope that any Henry Ford or Thomas Edison has done far, far more for mankind than Mother Teresa and all the saints combined."

Fred,I don't know about Thomas Edison, but we can all be thankful for Henry Ford's fight against International Jewry, and for "saving" many of his workers from eternal damnation.

Bill, I didn't equate Mother

Fred Weiss's picture

Bill, I didn't equate Mother Teresa to Charles Manson. That would seriously underestimate the evil that Mother Teresa represents and the amount of death and suffering which would result if her philosophy were fully and consistently embraced (and has in fact resulted to whatever extent it has been).

Few men strive to imitate Charles Manson. No one holds him up as a moral ideal. They do Mother Teresa. Thus, all it would take is a handful of otherwise great and productive men abandoning their pursuit of selfish profit - with the loss of the wealth they would create - to instead devote themselves to washing the feet of lepers and the loss to mankind would be incalculable.

You do understand I hope that any Henry Ford or Thomas Edison has done far, far more for mankind than Mother Teresa and all the saints combined.

MT = Mother Teresa (an altruist) ...

Ed's picture

"She said that suffering was a gift from God. She spent her life opposing the only known cure for poverty, which is the empowerment of women and the emancipation of them from a livestock version of compulsory reproduction.

And she was a friend to the worst of the rich, taking misappropriated money from the atrocious Duvalier family in Haiti (whose rule she praised in return) and from Charles Keating of the Lincoln Savings and Loan.

Where did that money, and all the other donations, go? The primitive hospice in Calcutta was as run down when she died as it always had been—she preferred California clinics when she got sick herself—and her order always refused to publish any audit.

But we have her own claim that she opened 500 convents in more than a hundred countries, all bearing the name of her own order. Excuse me, but this is modesty and humility? [break]

Many more people are poor and sick because of the life of MT: Even more will be poor and sick if her example is followed. She was a fanatic, a fundamentalist, and a fraud, and a church that officially protects those who violate the innocent has given us another clear sign of where it truly stands on moral and ethical questions."


"Man is a hero and worthy of worship."

The Question is About Jillette

Craig Ceely's picture

Bill, you wrote, "The question I raised, which no one has answered, is why Jillette is a hero for equating Mother Teresa to Charles Manson."

How about: Because Penn Jillette recognized Mother Teresa as exulting over the pain of the innocent, just as Manson did?

Hero might be a bit strong,

JoeM's picture

Hero might be a bit strong, but he's being celebrated for saying that the emperor has no clothes. (Or the nun has a bad habit?).

The Question is About Jillette

Bill Tingley's picture

Hi, Joe.

The question I raised, which no one has answered, is why Jillette is a hero for equating Mother Teresa to Charles Manson.

Regards, Bill

How is Mother Theresa the

JoeM's picture

How is Mother Theresa the hero she's believed to be? The Randian standard of virtue takes on the Pope harshly, why is Mother Theresa exempt? Ideas guide actions, and the ideas she spread were part of of the 2000 years of Christianity Rand sought to challenge.

Do you have a similar problem with Rand's skewering of the Pope and Kennedy?


Bill Tingley's picture

Hi, Adam.

Even though he's an unrepentant leftist, I enjoy reading Christopher Hitchens. (Indeed, I think he's been sound on the Iraq War.) However, I haven't bothered to read his work on Mother Teresa, because he is, to be blunt, a nutter regarding religion in general and Catholicism in particular. I can't trust what he has to say on the subject. So if Hitchens is the only source for this, I would place no confidence in it.

But let's say it were true, for the sake of argument. Providing a person life-saving surgery without all the comforts of Western medicine still isn't comparable to the evil of the heinous murders committed by Manson. Therefore, I remain at a loss to see how Jillette is a hero for making the comparison -- certainly not by the Randian standard of virtue.

Regards, Bill

P.S. I should mention I am not a fan of the Catholic League. As a Catholic I have no desire to be deemed of victim of all the idiotic statements many prominent people make about my religion.

Marnee ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Thanks for the hat-tip, but credit should really go to Robert White, whose article I was citing in the Politically Incorrect Show editorial Scoop was citing in the link you were citing. Smiling Robert has now posted his original, very fine article here in full. See above.


Without anaesthesia

AdamReed's picture

Bill the Rat,

Have you read Hitchens' documentation in "The Missionary Position?" How does "Mother" Theresa's prohibition against the use of anaesthetics in her hospitals fit with your apologia?

Facts Do Matter

Bill Tingley's picture

Hi, Fred.

The problem with your denunciation of Mother Teresa is that it is predicated upon statements taken out of two critical contexts. First, the teachings of the Catholic church (which has extensive instruction about how people should deal with suffering that it is inevitable in life -- even for hyper-rational Randian heros). Second, coping with the reality of widespread, intense daily suffering (a situation, thank goodness, utterly alien to most Westerners like us).

Furthermore, it ignores that she lived a productive life doing what was her passion. She single-handedly built a large and effective emergency relief organization that is often the first and sometimes only help available where disasters occur in the Third World.

Finally, there exists no set of facts to show that Mother Teresa, either through word or deed, had ever caused any person to suffer.

So Mother Teresa relieved people of their suffering, unlike Manson who deliberately and cruelly inflicted it with delight. Mother Teresa was a creator (even if you don't think highly of her works) and Manson was a destroyer. These facts do matter. They do not permit a comparison of the two. Likewise, the Objectivist virtue of justice guides one against doing so.

Regards, Bill

"Linz expalined it all once

Fred Weiss's picture

"Linz expalined it all once already: The Diabolical Works of Mother Theresa"

Nice, Linz. Or should I say, KASS. Smiling

Christopher Hitchens has also done a nice job over the years skewering her, though he lacks the Objectivist perspective to really do it in fundamentals.

Linz expalins it all

Marnee's picture

Hey, don't ya know, Linz expalined it all once already:

The Diabolical Works of Mother Theresa

I'm just sayin'.

Far Worse

Fred Weiss's picture

Oh, I think Mother Teresa was *far worse* than Charles Manson. Manson can be recognized for what he was - a lunatic killer - and no one has any trouble identifying the nature of his evil.

Mother Teresa on the other hand both elevated and came to symbolize "caring for the poor" as the highest moral calling. She in fact became in our era the icon of total self-sacrifice as the moral ideal.

India, thankfully, is now perhaps beginning to recognize that the *real* solution to poverty is not washing the feet of lepers but economic prosperity - which of course can only be achieved by capitalism, i.e. the pursuit of profit and personal happiness (the exact opposite of Mother Teresa).

A Randian Hero?

Bill Tingley's picture


I must admit that you have me at a loss. How is it heroic, especially in terms of Objectivist virtue, to equate a woman who committed her life to charitable works to a villian who committed heinous multiple murders?

While Rand deemed charity a minor virtue at best and perhaps would not have sung the praises of Mother Teresa, I doubt that she would have trivialized the evil of a man like Manson by comparing the acts of the two. Indeed, she would have thought it irrational to do so. Hardly the stuff of heroes.

Regards, Bill

Love Penn Jilette love "Bull

Landon Erp's picture

Love Penn Jilette love "Bull Shit."

I'm just wishing season 3 would come out on dvd.


Inking is sexy.

Love Penn Jilette love "Bull

Landon Erp's picture

Love Penn Jilette love "Bull Shit."

I'm just wishing season 3 would come out on dvd.


Inking is sexy.

Old School

Neil Parille's picture

Call me old fashioned, but I think there is a certain virtue in not offending people.

Bull Sh!t

I for one am a big fan of P&T's show on Showtime called "Bull Shit". If you haven't watched it I recommend highly. I pay extra just to get the shows on on-demand via my digital cable. 

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