I’ve been reading a fair bit of history the last few weeks. Being down with a bug and a flair up the “irritation where you don’t want to be irritated” over the holiday weekend meant for good chunks of time with my nose stuck in any of two or three books. Spent most of my time in Will Durant’s volume on the Reformation. And found some things jumping out at me.
I’m sure I’m not the only one that’s noticed that the truth in any form should be at the top of the endangered species list. It’s been bad and it’s getting worse.
During the bad old days of the religious wars and great persecutions, both sides believed that it was no sin to lie to a heretic. And I suspect that there are radicals living in the Middle East, Pakistan or Afghanistan who would argue that it’s no sin to lie to an infidel, either. Once you’ve started down that slippery slope; well be careful that the bridge isn’t out at the bottom of the hill. Lies, bribes, anonymous informants and torture are the unholy signs on so many roads leading to that “Greater Good” of political, religious or economic unity just glowing just over the horizon. Most of us get there and expect to find Disneyland and end up with swamp gas.
If you accept that certain elected and appointed individuals believe that they had a mandate not only from the voters but from the almighty to assert American power and to “make their own reality” the lies fall into place. If you believe that those who disagree with you are deluded at best and heretics at worst lying to achieve your goals is just another tool to create a greater good. Your view of the greater good, no matter how few others share it.
Using the word heresy to describe political opponents may sound like overkill, but religious unity as a means to impose political unity has been used for centuries. The current occupant is the latest in a long line that includes Isabella of Spain, Henry VIII and Cromwell for England, Richeleau and Louis XIV for France, among others. Luckily for us the Shrub is about as successful at that as he was at running a baseball team. Some luck, I keep hearing "We're knee deep in the Big Muddy" jangling in the background.