Saturday, 13 December 2014

What's a Few Falsehoods Between Friends

Lying For the Cause

Victor Hanson has written a piece in National Review Online in which he discusses the proclivity of modern Western society towards untruth and lying.  To be sure, Islamic societies have endorsed and encouraged lying for centuries.  In Islam it is acceptable to lie to one's wife and to one's enemies and to kaffirs when one is engaged in jihad or holy war (which is pretty much all the time, since jihad occurs whenever someone says it does).  In Islamic ethics, the end (enforced submission to Allah) justifies the means.

But traditionally the Christian West has insisted that truth-telling is an absolute moral requirement.  The Ninth Commandment enjoins: "Thou shalt not bear false witness".  But as Western nations have rejected the Lord Jesus Christ and officially and unofficially replaced Him with secularism and atheism, every one of the commandments have been rejected and dismissed.  But this begs a question: if God is not feared and His absolute commandments are not revered, why should anyone bother telling the truth about anything.  There would be nothing wrong with lying and deceit.  It may be inconvenient, but would not be immoral or unethical.

The Commentariat would doubtless splutter about the damage to commerce and property if one were permitted to lie.
  It would rightly point out that if lying were permitted, honest trade could not long exist.  The laws of contract would be null and void.  Deceptive and misleading trade would become the norm.  Human rights would be infringed.  The courts and the justice system would be a mess--or more a mess than they are at present.  But so what?  Within the terms of materialism and secularism and atheism what right has anyone to the truth?  For that matter, what is the truth?   It is merely a prejudice from a bourgeois age; a guilt-inducing hangover from primitive Christianity.

What about the human right to lie?  Why don't we have a right to lie?  After all, we are told that we have a right to love whomever we want to love--male, female, beast.  There are plenty of voices urging that what one truly wants, one is entitled to have.  Think for a moment about the Great Cause (whatever one might consider that to be).  It may be the social acceptance of homosexuality.  It may be rampant promiscuity.  It may be feminism, or a Living Wage.  Whatever.  The Cause (however conceived) is important, so if lying can help achieve it, why not?

Writes Hanson, "we have come to appreciate that facts and truth are not that important, if myths can better serve social progress or the careers of those on the correct side of history."  For the "correct side" of history, read the Progressive side of history.  There is no objective truth, only the Great Cause, the End of History.
. . . postmodernism, the bastard child of modernism, attacks the entire idea of objective truth. We supposedly live in a relativist world cloaked by the lie of objective truth. Facts are merely the authoritative narratives of the powerful, who craft them to protect their own privilege. An establishment rigs up “rules of evidence,” and in that way declares its own stories “true” because they serve the larger power purposes of the elite. We should not necessarily be bound by forensic evidence or videos, nor should we check sources or ask the accused their version of the story or check footnotes — or much of anything else other than ascertaining the degree of privilege associated with any particular narrative.

What does it matter if there were not really identifiable University of Virginia fraternity rapists, as Rolling Stone swore? Does anyone doubt that fraternities have treated women poorly in the past? That is the real “truth,” which merely needs a particular “vehicle” to give it currency. Reactionaries call such narratives “fake,” but they are in fact “accurate” in suggesting scenarios of oppression that can in fact happen.
In principle, what is the common link between Stalin's Moscow show trials (with their exhaustive, torture-extracted, false confessions) and the homosexual lobby (which has regularly used the technique of stage-whispering that a public figure is actually a closet homosexual), and Lena Dunham writing a book to claim falsely she was raped by a Republican named Barry, whilst at college?  The common link is the Great Cause, which in the mind of the mendacious, justifies the lie.

But the rub starts to peel away the skin when we realise that if society rejects the Lord of Glory, there is only one other possible master to whom it can be subject:  the Father of Lies.  Without Christendom, not only is lying acceptable, it is inevitable--in fact the only sure way to achieve what we want.

If one rejects the God of the Ten Commandments, what can be wrong with lying--a little or a lot?  For us Christians, the law of love demands that we assume the best about everyone.  This includes assuming from the outset that the Unbelievers with whom we interact are truth-tellers.  However, it pays whilst trusting, to verify.  We are to be as wise as serpents, whilst guileless as doves.  When it becomes clear that someone is lying we see them more clearly, as they really are, being in the thrall of the Father of Lies.

Such things are not a surprise to the Christians, who understand that without the Ten Commandments and a believing reverence for God, truth-telling has no foundation, no imperative, no necessity. 

The more society embraces atheism, the more mendacity becomes the order of  the day.

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