The political world has always had scamps and miscreants who told lies that people believed, and they got away with their deception.
Why Fox News Needs to Free Tucker, Douglas Wilson
It’s different this time, best captured in the following:
We know they are lying.
They know they are lying.
They know that we know they are lying.
We know that they know we know they are lying.
And still they continue to lie.
— Alexander Solzhenitsyn (or not)
No one is getting away with the deception – at least not getting away with keeping the deception hidden. They don’t even care about hiding it.
Of course, those who lie know that they are lying; the elite who go along with the lies know that these are lies; the government officials that go along with the lies know that these are lies; even many of the riff-raff go along with the lies, knowing that these are lies. The worst is that Christians go along with the lies, knowing that these are lies.
Wilson lists a few of the more recent lies: vaccines, climate change, viruses, and election integrity. One could identify a dozen in the last ten years, and a hundred in the last century. If one measures corruption based on the number of lies (and murders) committed by a state actor, the United States government – given the size, scope and international reach of this hydra – is clearly the most corrupt state on earth.
This is because as a people we are getting exactly the kind of leadership we deserve. We tolerated the little lies for a long time, and now they are big lies, and we don’t know what to do.
What lies did we tolerate? Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction, Assad gassing his own citizens, three buildings with two planes and a few box cutters, they hate us for our freedom, the one democracy in the Middle East, peaceful Ukraine was the ideal democracy. That’s just a sampling from the last couple of decades. Go a little further back: USS Liberty, Gulf of Tonkin, the atomic bombs were necessary to end the war, Japan bombed Pearl Harbor without provocation, Remember the Maine. For a longer list, try this.
So we have gotten to the place where the wickedness is open and manifest, but there appears to be some sort of operational truce—and the whole thing seems more than a little ominous to me.
The truce? Per Wilson, the liberals know they are lying, and are fine with it. The conservatives may not be fine with the lying, but don’t want to destroy faith in the state by exposing it. I don’t see the lines drawn so clearly, but I fully understand his point. And it is ominous, as no one in a position to do anything about any of it is speaking up. (Has it come to looking to Elon Musk to save us from ourselves?)
Name one institution in our public life that has not been destabilized by all the lying.
Wilson offers no examples. Neither do I. Can you? Government at every level, law enforcement of all stripes, universities, charitable institutions, think tanks. Even many Christian churches.
To better understand our current condition, Wilson cites Richard Sibbes:
“When sin grows ripe, and abounds in a land or nation, at such a time as this a man may know there is some fearful judgment approaching. But when is sin ripe? When it is impudent, when men grow bold in sin, making it their whole course and trade of life. When men’s wicked courses are their common lifestyle, and they don’t even know how to do otherwise . . . The more sin, the more danger.”