We grow up being taught that if lying is the lesser of two evils, then lies should become part of our faith, as we rally around the flag.
A Washington Post article, today (“Trump’s week reveals bleak view, dubious statements in ‘alternative universe”), quoted a Trump supporter as saying “I am definitely voting for the lesser of two evils. I’m not 100 percent for Trump, but I’m 200 percent against Hillary. I don’t know what’s true and what’s not.”
Question could be whether it is true that Trump is less evil than Clinton or if it is only true that he is definitely voting for Trump. According to the Trumpists own admission (true or false?), he does not know.
Ah! But he raised the question of “evil,” and that should make us all stand up and salute, or kneel down and pray (“…and deliver us from evil…”) – by drone or Twitter, if not through the mindless rotations of a prayer mill or the clicking of rosary beads, all so as to appease the wrathful, apparently somewhat simple-minded gods, out there, in la-la-land.
If you don’t know the answer, shout SOMETHING, and ye shall know the truth forthwith.
According to one data collection site, Adherents.com, “The precise number of religions in the world is not known, but available estimates show the number to be about 4,300.” That translates into “5.8 billion religiously affiliated adults and children around the globe, representing 84 percent of the 2010 world population of 6.9 billion,” (Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life, 2012).
Gods: Supply never has exceeded demand
To make God or the gods even more insecure about the voters: among Christians alone there are “34,000 separate Christian groups in the world. “Over half of them are independent churches that are not interested in linking with the big denominations.” (http://www.religioustolerance.org/worldrel.htm) Never mind all the separate groups in each of the other 4,300 religions.
And behold: all of these speak the truth when they say who God is or who the gods are and what these unelected dictators want from us today, and when we vote.
Gods idly waiting to serve
What is a child to do when told that not believing is the greater of two evils?
Dying for the Truth, according to the community of liars, should never mean being so eager to know the truth that one can hardly contain one’s rational enthusiasm; it should always mean being willing to die for the Cause, or patriotically letting one’s country go to hell by playing “follow the leader.”
Since nobody has as yet proven, beyond reasonable doubt, that one religion is more true than any other, we could safely propose that 84% of the worlds adults and children are voting for what they do not know to be true. That is a hell of a lot less than Donald Trump would ever need in order to become the next leader of “One nation under God.”
Let’s look at this lying-to-liars thing from a perhaps irrelevant, historical perspective. In an obituary, in today’s NY Times, about Karl Dietrich Bracher (author of “The German Dictatorship,” and no, he is not talking about how Volkswagen or Deutsche Bank rose to world dominance through global webs of lies), Bracher is quoted as lamenting that Germany is “a country where dictatorship had horrifically failed, but where postwar democracy had not yet been secured.”
However, a few lines later Bracher is also described as “having largely blamed the conscious popular will [of the German people] for sweeping the Nazi Party into power.” But isn’t popular will the very essence of democracy? Was the rise of “Hitlerism” then not any less the will of the people than the quite possible rise of “Trumpism” would be the will of the people?
If the vast majority of the people, world wide, have always been brought up to believe that believing the lie is the lesser of two evils, then why do “good people” seem so surprised?
How many people do we personally know, who actually are willing to take responsibility for getting beyond “I don’t know what’s true and what’s not… but I know that the others are evil”?
Lies are of course not the eminent domain of politics and religion. Education, including university research, is full of them (for an example, see recent reports about sugar research at Harvard having been sweetened by the sugar industry).
Healthcare also is built on shifty foundations, as sometimes revealed, for a few split seconds, by sudden mudslides, such as the recent confessions by the British Medical journal and Martin Makary, professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, that medical errors are now the third leading cause of death in the United states, amounting to 251,000 deaths per year. Do we really want to know that truth or do we rather trust our medical Trump emulators, our true “real estate” speculators with human life and the vast profits to be made from human suffering and ignorance, something religious leaders have understood for millennia?
We save lives
We may want to modify, bring up to date, Bertrand Russell’s famous pronouncement: “The infliction of cruelty with a good conscience is a delight to moralists. That is why they invented Hell.” – Perhaps we should now say “Lying with a good conscience is a delight to all faithful. That is why they invented evil,” and never mind if the evil are the Muslim faithful, Mexican believers in Capitalism Without Borders (CWB) or the confessing followers of politicians.
We will never rebuild, or build of the first time, genuinely democratic societies until lying to liars stops being the foundation of our pledges of allegiance.
Possible? Probably not, as long as we prefer mud-wrestling and the inane shouting of blinded masses, uninterested in a world of truthful, mutual respect, in which we have stopped lying to each other, our children, and most of all to ourselves.
One of the stories in Aesop’s Fables comes to mind:
According to Greek mythology (was that a religion? Were the Greek gods the true gods? Of course not: they are no longer a viable business model, as the current Greek economy proves only to0 well), Dolos, the god or daemon of deception was paired with a female goddess Apate (no question about divine status of her). To us, the similarity of Apate to “apathy” seems rather tempting.
“Prometheus, that potter who gave shape to our new generation, decided one day to sculpt the form of Truth, using all his skill so that She would be able to regulate people’s behavior. As he was working, an unexpected summons from mighty Zeus called him away. Prometheus left cunning Dolos (the god or trickery, cunning deception, craftiness, guile, and treachery) in charge of his workshop. Dolos had recently become one of the gods’ apprentices. Fired by ambition, Dolos used the time at his disposal to fashion with his sly fingers a figure of the same size and appearance as Truth with identical features. When he had almost completed the piece, which was truly remarkable, he ran out of clay to use for her feet. The master returned, so Dolos quickly sat down in his seat, quaking with fear. Prometheus was amazed at the similarity of the two statues and wanted it to seem as if all the credit were due to his own skill. Therefore, he put both statues in the kiln and when they had been thoroughly baked, he infused them both with life: sacred Veritas (Truth) walked with measured steps, while her unfinished twin stood stuck in her tracks.”
In these days of the internet and the reign of advertising-as-truth, we seem to have come to accept that deception has learned to travel faster than anything grounded in veracity.