(urth) Pirate Freedom and the Morals Of Gene Wolfe

Jerry Friedman jerry_friedman at yahoo.com
Wed Mar 18 10:41:17 PDT 2009

--- On Tue, 3/17/09, brunians at brunians.org <brunians at brunians.org> wrote:
Brunians: > >> You don't think kids should be trained to fight
> when
> >> someone tries to molest them?
> > ...

Jerry: > > I do, but I'm not a Christian.

Brunians: > You think that Christians think that?

I don't think I implied that.  Whether I did or not, what
I had in mind was that as I'm a non-Christian, my opinion
on this point is irrelevant to understanding /Pirate
Freedom/, a book with an explicitly Christian background.

As it happens, I know a few Christians (Mennonites) who
believe in non-resistance in general, or say they do, and
a number of Christians who clearly don't.

Obviously, Wolfe has some of his Christian characters
believe that children shouldn't fight even to defend
themselves against molestation.  However, /Pirate Freedom/
takes place in the future or in an alternate universe, and
I don't know whether he's basing those characters on real

> > As the statement came from
> > a Catholic priest, it surprised me greatly.  Jesus
> > says in
> > the Sermon on the Mount that you shouldn't resist
> > evil (Matt. 5:39).
> He says 'turn the other cheek', that is, one time.
> He doesn't say keep on
> turning again and again like some kind of bobbly-head
> critter on the dashboard.

38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I tell you not to resist an evildoer. On the contrary, whoever slaps you on the right cheek, turn the other to him as well.” 

(Matt. 5, International Standard Version, chosen more or less
at random.)

Jesus said not to resist an evildoer, period.  Not to accept
evil the first time and resist it the second.  We're free to
disagree with what he said, and I do, but my question is what
Wolfe thinks.

However, I learn (finally) that Father Chris's comments are
consistent with the Catholic Church's doctrine, at least
as of 1912.

"While differing among themselves on some of the more
subtle and less practical points comprised in this topic,
our moralists may be said to be unanimous on the main
principles and their application regarding the right of

[skip "Defense of life and person" and "Defense of property"]


"Since it is lawful to take life in the legitimate defense
of one's material goods, it is evidently also lawful to do
so in defense of chastity which is a good of a much higher

[The paragraph goes on to say it's not lawful to kill in
defense of honor or reputation.]


I don't know how Aquinas and others reconciled that with
Jesus's teachings, but apparently they did.  So this makes
me give less credence to the theory that Chris is
supposed to be an evil character, as suggested at


Jerry Friedman


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