Moral Culpability and Humanity in the Image of God

I recently looked into a book mentioned by G Manifesto, “American Desperado”, about a Mafia guy born John Riccobono who later in life went by the name Jon Roberts. It is an as-told-to by Evan Wright, who wrote “Generation Kill”, about a Marine reconnaissance battalion in the initial invasion of Iraq. That’s a good book that gives you a real sense of what the Marine Corps is like. “American Desperado” tells Roberts’ story in an excessively unapologetic and almost sympathetic way. At least giving him free reign to tell his story shows clearly what a monster he was- he has since died, thank God.

I read the first few chapters and then flipped through it. It’s a truly frightening and disgusting story. In Roberts’ defense, he saw his Mafia father kill a guy who wouldn’t get his car out of the way when he was five. The combination of genetics and environment was all against him.

One of the most interesting things was the role of hostile, sadistic humor in his activities. Many incidents of extreme cruelty are described with “I thought it was hilarious”, “I laughed my ass off”, “We laughed our asses off” or similar phrases. “Mocking” is another word for sadistic humor, and it is condemned repeatedly in the Bible.

Lawrence Auster has had some items on the extreme bad behavior of blacks, and being a religious man, has wondered if some blacks can actually lose the image of God. Christian theology is that man is made in the image of God, but has corrupted that image through sin. Even if a man is very evil he is still thought to still retain in some part the image of God; conservative Christians take this to mean he is still culpable and should still be punished, liberal Christians to mean he still has some good in him and should be pitied and spared. You find the idea that each human being has some divine spark, that people who do bad things are mistaken and not evil in the writings of Marcus Aurelius; this is not a Christian idea and when presented as such by Quakers and other liberal Christians is a heresy.

Extreme evil is hardly limited to blacks. In modern times the Nazis (and by implication Germans and white people in general) are held up as the ultimate in evil. I believe that the violence done by Nazis and other political movements described as fascist have always been in reaction to the nihilistic terror of Communism. There is a new book out describing its origins in Russia.

But was Roberts really a monster? Are especially cruel and sadistic blacks subhuman? If they are, they can be destroyed without further consideration, but they also can’t be held responsible for their actions. If you never had the image of God you can’t lose it.

In Dante’s “Inferno”, there is a part where he points out some denizens of Hell with some puzzlement to his guide, Virgil. Those men, he says to Virgil, are still alive. How can they be in Hell? Virgil explains that they committed deeds so evil that their souls were cast out of their bodies and into Hell before they died, and there bodies remain alive and inhabited by demons.

It seems to me that while humans have the image of God- or as an atheist would say, conscience and reason- they can do things so depraved that they lose this altogether. Mocking seems to be a big part of this. Degrading and dehumanizing the victim and taking pleasure in his suffering is on another level than simply deriving utility from killing, raping or robbing someone. I don’t think criminals can do what they do dispassionately. They have to provide some bogus justification for it- corrupting the image of God- or they have to actually adopt the image of Satan in sadism. But, either way, God is not mocked.


About thrasymachus33308

I like fast cars, fast women and southern-fried rock. I have an ongoing beef with George Orwell. I take my name from a character in Plato's "Republic" who was exasperated with the kind of turgid BS that passed for deep thought and political discourse in that time and place, just as I am today. The character, whose name means "fierce fighter" was based on a real person but nobody knows for sure what his actual political beliefs were. I take my pseudonym from a character in an Adam Sandler song who was a obnoxious jerk who pissed off everybody.
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5 Responses to Moral Culpability and Humanity in the Image of God

  1. Heil Hizzle Mein Nizzle says:

    I saw Roberts in “Cocaine Cowboys.” The whole documentary is available at If you want to know a terrible wrinkle in his story, listen to this portion of his autobiography:

    “At Calder, I had a jockey named Nick Navarro who worked for me. He was one of the good guys. He wouldn’t hold horses or charge them or run them on dope. He was very skilled, and when I ran my horses clean, I used Nick.
    One day in 1977 [sic] he ran a race for me at Calder. I walked up to him after he finished. He put his hand up to wave, and there was a powerful explosion. A bolt of lightning came out of the sky and hit him.”
    Multiple news outlet reports support Jon’s recollection, except they fix the date one year later. As they document: on December 28, 1978, jockey Niconar “Nick” Navarro was killed by a direct lightning strike after completing the second race at Calder Race Course. The remaining eight races at the track that day were cancelled.

    Think about that. You seem to know something of theology, so I’ll leave it to you to ponder the implications: The one guy in this whole operation who wasn’t dirty was killed by a bolt of lightening.

    • Florida has a lot of thunderstorms. I remember when I lived there a kid got struck an killed playing softball and there was some plan to put in a warning system. I think Navarro was just very unlucky.

      Roberts’ life coincided with a time when crime was increasing and the US criminal justice system was weak and lenient. He was lucky to get into the nightclub racket when he did, and into cocaine smuggling when he did. I don’t think a criminal would get away with as much today. But then the power or organized crime has always been in using a lot more intimidation and manipulation than actual violence, and walking a fine line to avoid provoking the police too much. That’s true of regular criminals too.

  2. Ryu says:

    That book sounds really interesting. I’m going to find it.

  3. Heil Hizzzle says:

    Thras, the second Cocaine Cowboys doc is even more screwed up and evil than the first. It deals mainly with Esmerelda Blanco, a crazy Columbian woman who trafficked more cocaine into Miami than probably anyone else (including Roberts). To give you an idea of her insanity, she named her son Michael Corleone. When a rival drug dealer murdered her eldest son, she had him kidnapped and made her thugs place a screwdriver on a stove top before hammering it into the hapless fellow’s brain. It unfortunately gets worse, much worse than Jon Roberts. Google “Rivi” Ayala and listen to some of his stories. This actually ties back into some of your previous posts, about the bloodthirsty nature of Latinos, and their open unabashed hatred for blacks.

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