HomeArticleForgiveness Is Overrated

Forgiveness Is Overrated

Journalist David Sirota has just published an excellent op-ed titled “America’s new aristocracy lives in an accountability-free zone”, which begins with the observation that “Enron executives were among the last politically connected criminals to face any serious consequences for institutionalized fraud.” Sirota goes on to remind readers how there was never any attempt by either mainstream political party to bring accountability to anyone responsible for monstrous offenses ranging from the disastrous invasion of Iraq to the ecocidal manipulations of fossil fuel plutocrats to the Wall Street plundering which led to the 2008 global financial crisis.

Sirota’s argument is solid: there is an aristocratic class which has successfully neutered all the institutional mechanisms which were meant to protect the powerless from the powerful. The government is bought and owned by the plutocrats and so is the media, as the continued forgiveness of unforgivable transgressions which those institutions have been bestowing upon the aristocracy clearly reflects. This means that the only thing left protecting the populace from the powerful is the populace itself.

A couple of years back I read a Shaun King article titled “Stop asking black victims of white violence if they forgive their victimizers”, about a bizarre trend in which the black survivors of police shootings and racially motivated terrorism were consistently finding themselves barraged with questions about forgiveness. King wrote about how “before her son, Philando, had even been buried, his body riddled with bullets from a Minnesota police officer, Valerie Castile was asked live on CNN if she forgave the man who shot him,” which is a truly demented thing to ask someone in such a situation. Why would a newscaster bring up forgiveness when a horrific injustice has just been inflicted and no measures of any kind have even been taken to rectify it?

In response to the latest wave of sex scandals in the Roman Catholic Church, “masses of forgiveness” were held in August as a way to help the faithful in “healing” their distrust of the institution which has upheld itself as the highest moral authority in the world for two thousand years. “I beg forgiveness for these sins and for the scandal and betrayal felt by so many others in God’s family,” said Pope Francis at a Marian shrine in Ireland in response to the degradation and abuse inflicted upon the people of that nation by trusted Church officials.

The concept of forgiveness is a recurring theme in any abusive relationship, and necessarily so, because without extensive value being placed upon that concept there wouldn’t be a relationship. You wouldn’t have a battered wife, you’d have a story about how a woman’s boyfriend hit her one time and she grabbed all her stuff and split. You wouldn’t have a brainwashed and exploited cult member, you’d have a story about how someone met a group of people and left when things got weird. You wouldn’t have a major world religion consistently embroiled in horrifying scandals, you’d have people dismissing that religion and placing their energy and attention elsewhere. You wouldn’t have a society that constantly allows itself to be manipulated into consenting to abuse and exploitation by an aristocratic class, you’d have a people’s uprising in which the vastly outnumbered elites are shrugged off and replaced with a system which benefits humanity.

Forgiveness is overrated. There are only two types of people who consistently promulgate the importance of forgiveness: abusers and their codependents. The abuse can range from pedophilia and battery to war and ecocide, and the codependency can range from a wife saying she fell down the stairs again to a newscaster demanding to know when the mother of a son just gunned down by police will forgive his murderer, but the formula remains the same in each instance.

Anyone who goes around around telling everyone else how important it is to forgive is either an abuser or one of their brainwashed Stockholm syndrome victims. Forgiveness is something you do for yourself, for your own benefit, when you are ready and only for freeing yourself from energetic entanglements. Those who have truly learned the value of authentic forgiveness don’t run around telling other people to forgive those who have wronged them, because they understand that you don’t need anyone else’s help or permission to forgive somebody, and you don’t even need anyone to change necessarily. If you really want to forgive someone so that you can move on and stop thinking about it, you can do so as long as they’re not doing the bad thing to you anymore. They don’t have to repent or admit to their wrongdoing or whatever; you can forgive them for being the thing they are just like you can forgive a man-eating bear for being a man-eating bear. If it would really benefit your inner peace and undo some mental chatter, you can zoom out and see that a human being’s behavior is patterned like the veins in a leaf, and that patterning rarely changes. You unknowingly walked into that person’s path as innocently as if you’d accidentally walked in front of a bus. Forgiving someone can just be letting go of the idea that they will change, or that they would’ve done anything different or would do anything different given the chance.

Once you’ve seen that though, you don’t let them back in your life, and you certainly don’t let them go on running the world. Man-eating bear be man-eating bear, man. You don’t let a man-eating bear hang around long enough to eat another one of your children, and you don’t let a neocon hang around long enough to destroy another middle-eastern country. You know what they do, you’ve seen what they are, and you don’t let them do it anymore. Being lulled into a state of inertia with hypnotic entreaties about forgiveness and how we’re all kinda fucked up and we all make mistakes and we’re all the same is just another psychologically abusive manipulation performed by the abusers and their codependents. Some people in the highest echelons of power right now have facilitated the most extraordinary barbaric crimes on a scale that even the worst serial killer in his most horrifying fantasies could barely bring himself to imagine. Our greatest mistake as a species right now is forgiving them.

One major way that sociopaths differ from normal people is that they don’t think about things in terms of feeling bad or feeling good about doing something, they just think about the consequences. If you don’t feel guilt, you don’t worry about feeling guilty. It literally doesn’t factor into your decision-making process. “Oh, I won’t do that again because I sure do feel bad about that million people I helped kill” is not a thought that ever goes through their head. If the consequences of Iraq were a buttload of profit and a regular spot on CNN with absolutely no downside whatsoever, no uncomfortable trip to the Hague, no endless prison sentence, no stripping of wealth, status and power, then of course they want to do it again and again and again and again and again. They will do it until they are stopped.

So America’s new aristocracy must be stopped, and the only way they can be stopped is to be held to account, right here, on earth, as soon as humanly possible. Allowing them to go on for even one more day is acknowledging that there are no consequences for evil, and when there are no consequences for evil, evil will reign.

And that’s where we are right now. Evil reigns, but it’s a simple matter of restoring justice to the earth by the people taking their power back and standing in judgement of these pricks and making sure they do not do this again. Passing judgement on someone is an idea that makes good people feel uneasy, and that’s deliberate. From the Pope down, we’ve been anesthetized with this mind-virus that in order to be good people we just put our head down, work hard, die poor, and let God do the judging. How convenient for power is that story? A little too convenient. Sold to us by the same people who rape children and sit on a throne of stolen riches.

I don’t buy it anymore, and neither should you.


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Latest comments

  • I’m not trying to excuse the so-called “American aristocracy” (whatever that means, I’m neither American nor aristocratic), however you seem to confuse “foregiveness” with “forgetfulness”.

    But isn’t the real issue that wiping a slate clean for someone who caused you harm is just denying that the harm was bad in the first place?

    And in fact, I have seen forgiveness is possible without forgetting nor exonerating, nor excusing what harm the other party has done.

    On the other hand, the person who’s at fault quite often doesn’t care whether you forgive or not. In this context, not forgiving is akin to drinking a poison and waiting for the other one to die…

  • I love your writing. You show passion and intelligence, bringing to light many, many things that need to be brought out of darkness. Sometimes I disagree with you, and here, about forgiveness, I feel is one of them. In the article you basically said, it seemed to me, that if I didn’t agree with you it is because I am an abuser or duped by abusers. Maybe that’s true. I certainly am not perfect, but I know I’m human and make mistakes, sometimes ones that I haven’t learned how not to repeat yet, such as when I get frustrated and angry with my partner I say mean things, like resorting to name-calling. I also come from a family that has unfortunately shown some very unsavory acts, such as murder and molestation. I must as a family-member who has known these people intimately, that I can’t help but still love them. It’s impossible for me not to. Maybe that’s a sign of Stockholm Syndrome, but personally I like to think of myself as seeing the whole person, major flaws and all. My 1st father, my biological father murdered my mom. I could say what a piece of shit. I could. But it would be a lie. That’s not all he was, what he did. I refuse to see him as only a murderer. I, through this strange closeness to the worst of human nature, consider myself having been given a great blessing through all the curses. I am able to see the good through the bad. I was raised by my father’s family, not my mom’s. I wasn’t fed horror stories of him as a child. I was told the truth about why he felt compelled to do it, and my mom’s memory wasn’t glorified. I was told of faults and good parts, just like him. He was never applauded for what he did. My family knew that he had stooped to a low level, and that pain and shame is still there. But I know my dad was a good person most of the time. He made a horrible mistake. Two, actually because he killed himself, too, right after. He meted out his own justice, I guess. The point is, is forgiveness does play a role. Though the Catholic church has royally fucked up, they are making moves to try to rectify that. Asking for forgiveness, I think is not a bad thing to do. They’re acknowledging their culpability and errors. They’ve been around this long not just doing shitty things. They’ve done some good things. Look up some of the hiatory of Catholism and Christianity itself. I don’t think anyone can rightly say that Christianity has been just one big negative, just like any religion or spiritual belief systems is not all bad either. Religions have comforted people, they inspired people, they brought people together. It’s part of our human history. I will end with this: “Don’t through the baby out with the bath water.”

  • Spot on, Caitlin!

  • The justice department, charged with maintaining ethical behavior, uses punishment to achieve those ends. Forgiveness is nowhere to be seen. When I come before a jury or judge accused of a transgression there is no talk about “forgiveness” at all, just the reverse, there is adamant insistence that only finding and punishing the guilty will see justice through. There is little concept that “justice” might also entail seeing that good behavior is rewarded so almost no effort is made to ensure this, which then assures us of crime.
    The idea of “punishment” becomes the focus of the whole effort and is somehow separated from the idea of “revenge”. If someone is executed or imprisoned by the justice department to punish them that is not revenge but if a private individual does the same thing to someone who wronged them its called “revenge” so right out the starting gate we have a double standard embodied in the deceitful use of language..
    Somehow executing or isolating someone is not “cruel” but it is a “deterrent”, and it is not “revenge” but it is “punishment”
    So if it is not cruel how does it deter? and if its not revenge how is it punishment?
    When the government does it its a punishment used as a deterrent, but if anyone else does it its cruelty used as revenge, so basically we hijack language to create artificial barriers to cognizance.
    We don’t want to admit the government is capable of cruelty and of seeking revenge so we corrupt our language to make denial easy.

  • As I told my flying-monkey sister, regarding my father: “Just because you forgive someone, does not mean you allow them to continue to hurt you.”

  • “So America’s new aristocracy must be stopped, and the only way they can be stopped is to be held to account, right here, on earth, as soon as humanly possible. Allowing them to go on for even one more day is acknowledging that there are no consequences for evil, and when there are no consequences for evil, evil will reign.
    And that’s where we are right now. Evil reigns, but it’s a simple matter of restoring justice to the earth by the people taking their power back and standing in judgement of these pricks and making sure they do not do this again. ”
    I agree 100% with Caitlin’s words above.
    Many of the employees of the federal government are NOT following their oaths to uphold the Constitution and their illegal, unconstitutional actions are endangering the REAL national security of the US. Therefore, the US Constitution can and should be used by 2018’s revolutionaries as the legally-supported justification to “take control of” the present branches of government, prosecute its oath-violating employees for treason and apply the punishment allowed under PRESENT laws to those convicted of treason. There is no need to re-create the wheel. The Constitution exists. Laws describing the punishment for treason exist. A People’s Court should decide whether oaths have been followed or treason committed.
    An obvious example of this treason is recent US presidents’ conducting illegal wars on behalf of corporations under the guise of protecting national security. Another is the Attorney General’s refusal to prosecute torturers and those who ordered it, as well as CEOs of financial institutions who have broken laws and defrauded investors.
    If the employees of the present department of justice, including its attorney general and prosecutors and all the employees of the courts of justice from the Supreme Court on down, do not follow their oaths to uphold the constitution, they are not only illegitimate, but they are also violating their oaths to uphold the Constitution and should also be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. All of these criminals MUST be replaced with people who WILL uphold their oaths to uphold the Constitution as the ultimate law of the land.
    But there are two problems for today’s potential revolutionaries — first, just exactly HOW to revolt (in what stages) and, second, just exactly how to proceed after all the criminals have been punished.
    Quite obviously, the more citizens who support the vital need for revolutionary action, the better –especially citizens who are employed by government agencies, carry weapons and are willing to resist the illegal orders of their superiors.
    When citizens cast their votes to send representatives to Washington to represent their interests and UPHOLD the US Constitution and their representatives do not do that, and their crimes are NOT prosecuted by employees of the department of justice, it becomes OBLIGATORY for citizens to take any action necessary to make sure sure that the Constitution is re-established as the law of the land.
    Just because a “system of corruption” has developed in Washington that not only allows, but encourages and REQUIRES, those who have taken an oath to uphold the Constitution to violate their oaths, this does not suddenly transform their illegal behavior into legal behavior. And NO, just because a president orders something that is illegal, does not make it legal, no matter how many criminal, ass-licking, ladder-climbing justice department lawyers say it is. It just proves with absolute certainty that “they’re all in it together”.
    So the question we, the people have to answer is very simple. Are our employees in the federal government and justice system upholding their oaths to uphold the US Constitution or aren’t they, and, if they are not, what are we, the people going to do about it? Are we, the self-centered, greed-driven members of the Elite’s brainwashed, bewildered herd mentally and physically capable of organizing and correcting this untenable situation, or are we going to just sit here typing away until the nukes start dropping?
    THIS is the conversation that we must have with each other — whether our elected officials are following their oath to uphold the constitution.
    Typing these words of revolution reminds me of the endings of old classic movies like “THX 1138”, “Logan’s Run”, “The Time Machine”, etc. For example, at the end of “THX 1138”, the young Robert Duvall’s character, THX1138, finally escapes the underground existence (political and economic system) that he had suffered since the day he was born. He does so by climbing a very long ladder to the surface of planet earth, where for the first time in his life he stands tall, but alone, under a blazing, setting sun. At that moment, just when things are about to get most interesting for Duvall and viewers, “The End” and the credits start rolling.
    Even after all the intervening decades, I still want to know if and how THX 1138 survived as a free man after he escaped his underground “system”. Did he manage to acquire the necessities of life all by his lonesome, or did he, after a few days of “freedom”, go crawling back down that ladder?
    If the present completely corrupt, illegal way of doing things for 7 billion people “collapses”, what will those 7 billion people do with THEIR new-found freedom the day after the collapse? How will we billions of people who are plugged into the hives of our very own “Matrix” survive after The Matrix is shut down?
    If, after the collapse, 7 billion people somehow manage to acquire some food and the luxury of some time to think about something other than their next meal, what will the fundamental concept of their way of living (and, most importantly, how they “relate” to their neighbors) be — the greed and self-centeredness of the last system which inevitably lead to a tyrannical and oppressive situation against which they finally revolted– or “something else” and, if so, just exactly what will that something else be?
    Humanity has an alternative to climbing ladders or waiting around doing nothing but typing away until we find ourselves living in Great Depression 2 and see no alternative but to desperately pick up arms and violently revolt. BEFORE doing those things, we, the people MUST ORGANIZE in order to get rid of the bath water without throwing out the baby. Are we intellectually capable of agreeing that it is necessary to do even that? If we can’t agree on even that vital first step, we’re “done for”, not only in our present relatively comfortable situation, but certainly in the very chaotic one that will certainly follow a systemic collapse, a war, or a spontaneous, mob-inspired violent revolution.

    • The article and this comment contain the most dazzling ignorance. Not to mention the transparent social Marxist drivel. Libtards, Ha!

  • I highly recommend this essay:


    And if you would like to read an interview with Renee and learn what she has been through living in the “paradise” that is New Zealand, there is an interview with her on Feminist Current.

  • Bring them to justice? Consider what we are up against. A Deep State constellation with the CIA, Atlantic Council, Wall Street at its core surrounded by think tanks and NGO’s funded by the MIC, its paid agents in the MSM, the public hypnotized by Hollywood, vermin lawyers in control of Congress, the war machine that has penetrated all American life, organized religion in the service of the elites. And all the rest of it. Those that stop taking orders and think differently are ignored or murdered.

    It took a long time of study to understand who is in charge and how they lie constantly to control us. Seeing it raises the question: how can justice be brought to it and how to redirect it to a future that is not anti-human. That answer is that we must try but the probability of success is very remote. The vermin elites in the West will continue to extend their reach to plow and plunder the world and they will not let us slip out of their control.

    But they are facing a new challenge: the Russia/China alliance that is pulling in the rest of Asia. That elites in the West think they can subdue or defeat both Russia and China at the same time is a definition of insanity. They are running at high speed into a checkmate. Therein is my hope: that the energy put into expansion of the demented US/NATO is blocked then turned back into itself forcing the contradictions (opposites) to heat up. The West has to cook in its own stew to get past its insanity.

    Of course it is more likely that the demented West will not accept turning back and will trigger WW3 that brings an end to the world as we know it. They labor relentlessly toward that end.

    • Agree pretty much with your comment. The standard of current Western Leaders is just appalling, greed & stupidity, both will take us to WW3!

  • Spot on! Forgiveness is overrated. There is NO turning the other cheek when your family has been killed and the children abused, your home destroyed, your crops burnt, there is only a body for eye. And the perpetrator of these hanious crimes will not go without with their just desserts, will not be forgotten.

    • There are French “legitimist” Monarchists who still do not forgive the House of Orleans for the “regicide” of Louis XVI.

  • After her protectors had been slaughtered, and herself and her man expelled from their home, a famous lady said “J’ai tout vu. J’ai tout su. J’ai tout ouiblié.”

    • Corrected:
      After her protectors had been slaughtered, and herself and her man expelled from their home, a famous lady said “J’ai tout vu. J’ai tout su. J’ai tout oublié.”

  • It’s one thing to bring the ruling class to account but how concretely is it to be done? By their own organs of rule, their courts, whitewashing committees of enquiry? Hardly. Ruling classes are brought to account only when they’re being overthrown, expropriated and their resistance crushed. Sirota in his piece makes a silly reference to guillotines somehow being part of non-accountability. In fact, before it consumed itself, the guillotine was the way the French revolution held the ruling class to account. And a very good thing that was too. No forgiveness there. Forgiveness would have been suicide.

    The same will happen when the bourgeoisie’s long overdue turn to be overthrown arrives. With their hubris and arrogance stripping away the veneer of their ‘legitimacy’, the rulers are hastening the day of their accountability. And it won’t be pretty for them. Workers and peoples’ tribunals will be established to deliberate on their crimes and they’ll be in a whole world of pain. Those who do not resist and have nothing to answer for will be put to work to earn their keep, and a hell on earth that will be for them. Those who do resist will be dealt with more severely. No forgiveness there. Forgiveness will be suicide.

    • A class is not a person, and guilt/foregiveness/amnesty are moral categories, and as such apply to persons. Your Robespierre, your guillotine, your “law of suspects,” deprived France of revolutionaries, charged and guilty of no crime whatever, like Danton, Égalité, Madame Roland, Olympe de Gouges, Condorcet, Brissot, Lavoisier…

      I will now forget what you said.

      • Your assertions are dubious. If a class of people own slaves then we can hold them all guilty of benefiting from that.

      • I qualified the statement about the French revolution and guillotines with ‘before it consumed itself…’. Many heads of real rulers, persons, were justly separated from their bodies. Of course the ensuing Thermidor was horrible, just as were Stalin’s crimes analogously, as it devoured the best
        revolutionaries. In the Russian case, the Bolsheviks early in the revolution were actually too forgiving, leading to a prolongation of the civil war, and consequent further devastation of the Soviet economy that likely hastened of the rise of the Soviet Thermidorians.

        • Most of the Bolsheviks were Jews not indigenous Russians’

          • Robert: This is stupid racist lying antisemitism. Jews and other oppressed minorities were prominent in all the revolutionary opponents to Tsarism. The Bund was entirely Jewish. The Menshevik faction of the Russian Social-Democratic Party had a higher proportion of Jews in its leadership than did the Bolshevik faction, and the (peasant oriented) Socialist Revolutionary Party as well as the Anarchists had plenty of Jews in their leaderships. And all of them, all, were natives of the Tsarist Empire (“Russia”) descended from many generations of similarly indigenous residents.

            • Just to add to Shane’s response, as a rule it’s the most oppressed and discriminated-against minorities of society who are over-represented among the leaders of revolutions. In the US, it will be Blacks and Hispanics and those from Jewish and (increasingly likely) Muslim backgrounds who will be key leaders of the third American revolution. Goes with the territory.

  • Time to forgive the evil US is when they are lying a smouldering radioactive ruin. Not before

  • That about nailed it down to brass tacks!

    Social etiquette and power differentials have a long history of being used to exploit class, gender, and cultural differences.

    If your waiting for someone else to be the loving nurturing parent you always wanted and never had, you’re not the protagonist of your own story!

    Being able to live with myself is my responsibility, and abdicating my self worth to someone else makes that difficult.

    I’ve earned the right to the space I take up in the world, but that doesn’t mean the world doesn’t owe me any more than anyone else!

    I can live and let live, cut my losses and move on, but if you’re incapable of engaging with me civilly, I don’t owe you anything.

    Respect is earned not granted.

  • Spot-on as always, Caitlyn. Just one nitpick – you write, ‘So America’s new aristocracy must be stopped …’ It’s not only in the US, these bastards have infiltrated governments and corporations world-wide.

  • Great post Caitlin. You sum up the confidence trick of forgiveness very concisely.
    Fuck them.

  • “…you can forgive a man-eating bear for being a man-eating bear.” You don’t forgive a man-eating bear for being a man-eating bear. You ACCEPT a man-eating bear or a child-eating python, as a man-eating bear or child-eating python and then treat it accordingly. Here’s a clearer analogy: If you get an electric shock, do you forgive the electricity? If you fall down and hurt yourself, do you forgive the floor? Why not? Because it is obvious that electricity is being electricity and the floor is being the floor. A Python is being a python and a bear is being a bear. Similarly, people will be themselves. What is required is awareness of that reality and acceptance of it so you can reframe your expectations and treat everyone accordingly. It has zero to do with forgiveness. Zero.

    • Wrong! the floor and electricity has no conscious has no empathy, has no knowledge of their actions, you do! and so does those insidious perpetrators of hanious crimes. It has all to do with NOT forgiving.

    • This is not a duplicate comment!
      Wrong! the floor and electricity has no conscious has no empathy, has no knowledge of their actions, you do! and so does those insidious perpetrators of hanious crimes.
      It has all to do with NOT forgiving.

  • Brilliant presentation, Caitlin. Thanks. Deserves much wider circulation.

  • Atonement is the problem, not forgiveness. People are expected to forgive without receiving atonement from the person wanting forgiveness. Atonement makes you pay for your sins before you are forgiven. As you state, why should anyone forgive a murderer? The whole concept makes no sense without atonement.

  • Forgiveness for or to narcissistic clowns and their sociopathic cohorts is simply seen by them as “permission” to do It or more again.

  • Really brilliant Caitlin. Something not many people think about. I’ve just forgiven someone I thought was a friend, who unfriended me on Facebook. Now you’ve made me think again.

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