Truth or Dare and the Great Divide
Recall Obama daring to tell O’Reilly that the IRS harbors not a “smidgen of corruption.” Or picture him saying, over and over, “You can keep your plan.” Now hold that thought as you read.
I recently wrote a piece in which I mentioned the huge divide in our national psyche – our great divorce. This needs further discussion because it has deep roots -- roots that go all the way back to Lucifer standing in the throne room of God declaring that He could be like The Most High. I don’t see much difference between that and what is metastasizing in modern society -- the categorical denial of the existence of Truth. That denial is at the heart of the impossibility of having a rational discussion about national policy; the left and the right might as well be speaking in different languages. We are no longer a country in which two parties are trying to get to the same place on differing vehicles; we are now traveling down entirely different roads, going in opposite directions and it all revolves around Truth.
Time was when we all more or less believed in Truth. We believed in Truth as a concept bigger than all of us, grander than our petty lies. We saw Truth as being attached to God, to His divine veracity, His immutability, His perfect righteousness. We knew that as human beings we weren’t capable of always speaking Truth, we knew we didn’t know all Truth, but we knew that God did. We couldn’t always agree about what was true, but we knew that under all the fuss and bother something was.
Now, part of the country would either deny the existence of Truth or refuse to think about it at all. The rest of us see that as blithering nonsense and watch in dismay as our president makes pig slop out of every truth he runs across and we see his stalwart supporters lay down lie after lie in his defense. To give them credit, they squirm as they do it, but they do it. Such a great gulf has opened between us that there’s no easy jumping back -- whole lives have been built on this national denial of the only thing that can save us. Truth.
It’s not hard to understand the drumbeat for relative truth -- that point of view has many advantages. For one, it makes everything easier. Tolerance, that tricky balancing act between open-armed acceptance and impatient rejection, becomes a lethargic who-cares-nothing-is-true-anyway, a one-size-fits-all mumu that requires no heavy thinking, no high-wire pacing, no moral stand.
For another, with relative truth there can be no shame because all is permissible. The business world thinks it has prospered under this delusion -- no ethics, no limitations, just make the buck. No sin is possible in the Land of the Open Mind (other than to actually believe something is true) because sin is absolute and we can’t have any of that. No sin -- no shame; no shame -- no guilt; no guilt -- no unhappiness. Why didn’t anyone ever tell us that paradise was so simple?
The no-truth philosophy also frees us from having to actually learn anything; nothing is true, so why commit it to memory? Facts are susceptible to interpretation and therefore are probably loaded with bias, and facts are pesky -- they might prove a person wrong (Never mind the inconsistency.) Go ahead, take classes like “Zombies in Popular Media,” or “Elvis as Anthology.” You have your truth and I have mine. Please pass the joint.
And if facts are non-things, then logic isn’t necessary, mental discipline isn’t necessary. Logic is based on the interrelationship between facts and if there are no facts….
The there-is-no-absolute-truth line, even when spoken with sincerity and authority, is a self-refuting statement, but that is of no consequence; there’s room in that philosophy for nonsense -- so much room one can embrace it whole-heartedly, with a straight face, and not one quiver of misgiving. After all, there are no rules because nothing is true.
The main problem with this worldview, however, is a doozy: reality doesn’t go away because you cease to recognize its existence. God doesn’t go away because you’re mad at Him, or have convinced yourself that He’s a figment of Christian imagination. He and His eternal Truth hover over us regardless of what silly thing we decide to believe. And, what’s even more discombobulating, choices have consequences -- if we ignore Truth for too long economies buckle under the strain of pretending there’s a money tree; marriages dissolve whether we think adultery a sin or not; evil is still alive and well in the heart of man even though we paint it a pretty color -- evil is evil and people get hurt. During the 20th century tens of millions of people actually died from confusion over this issue.
The permanent part of Truth is not only the nature of God, but also the nature of man. We were made in God’s image -- i.e. most of us have mentality, creativity, the ability to love, a conscience, a need for justice, the will and power to work, a sense of our own free will, a respect for -- drum roll here -- Truth. These are all godly characteristics, and though man has other attributes that are not so laudable, these cannot be erased from the human soul. This has become a key concern for Progressives -- the necessity of erasing the divine aspects of the soul; their plans won’t work unless that can be accomplished.
Individual freedom, as our forefathers perceived it, is recognition of these immutable characteristics of mankind; it is a deliberate effort to honor God’s human creation by respecting the volition of humans as a divine gift and providing opportunity for its expression. That has been the formula for creating the most prosperous, inventive, exciting nation to ever grace this earth. The left has to tear away this consequence; they have to lie about America’s success because to accept it would be to admit that their Shangri La is impossible.
You see, where there is no Truth, there is no purpose. Where there is no purpose, there is little productive activity. Where there is no production there is little of everything and poverty reigns. Where poverty holds sway over the people, they have to believe everything those in power tell them, so the power of the state increases. This vicious cycle continues until it no longer can and even those in control are miserable.
Where Truth is, however, responsibility belongs to everyone and freedom happens, and where freedom happens prosperity blossoms -- until people become complacent and start playing with fire – maybe we can pretend our way into a utopian world where responsibility and Truth will no longer be necessary... maybe we can make a fantasy reality by passing laws.
This is the divide in this country -- in the world: those who want to live by Truth and all it demands of us, all it will provide, and those who would rather try to run heaven and earth themselves, ignoring the Truth of human nature and the Truth of God Almighty, shouting at Him, “Look, Dad! No hands!”
That’s where we always crash.