Liars and Heroes
"I think we are living in a world of lies: lies that don’t even know they are lies, because they are the children and grandchildren of lies." – Chris Floyd
We live in an age when liars are awarded, and heroes are thwarted. Truth-tellers are banished, and demagogues are glorified. Reformers are outlawed, and extremists are triumphant. And what a sad age it is. But it can be changed. And it is not that hard. The fate of mankind comes down to who the people want to follow, and listen to; tyrants, or their true defenders? Lying traitors, or honest heroes?
The character of men in positions of power and influence is more important that a nation’s constitution, and laws. For a country to prosper, integrity and other leadership qualities must be taught in the school, and the home. Public morality, and the country’s welfare must come before personal advancement when serving in public office. It is really that simple. If bad men rule, bad things happen. If good men rule, good things happen. The tricky part is how do we tell the bad from the good, the honest from the crooked?
Here is where I step aside, shut the hell up, and offer some real wisdom from the Scottish historian and essayist Thomas Carlyle.
Carlyle says that lies spoken voluntarily represents the "essence of human treason" in his essay "Stump-orator":
"Nature admits no lie ; most men profess to be aware of this, but few in any measure lay it ot heart. Except in the departments of mere material manipulation, it seems to be taken practically as if this grand truth were merely a polite flourish of rhetoric. What is a lie? The question is worth asking, cone and away, by the practical English mind.
A voluntary spoken divergence from the fact as it stands, as it has occurred and will proceed to develop itself: this clearly, if adopted by any man, will so far forth mislead him in all practical dealing with the fact; till he cast that statement out of him, and reject it as an unclean poisonous thing, he can have no success in dealing with the fact. If such spoken divergence from the truth be involuntary, we lament it as a misfortune; and are entitled, at least the speaker of it is, to lament it extremely as the most palpable of all misfortunes, as the indubitablest losing of his way, and turning aside from the goal instead of pressing towards it, in the race set before him. If the divergence is voluntary,–there superadds itself to our sorrow a just indignation: we call the voluntary spoken divergence a lie, and justly abhor it as the essence of human treason and baseness, the desertion of a man to the Enemy of men against himself and his brethren. A lost deserter; who has gone over to the Enemy, called Satan; and cannot but be lost in the adventure! Such is every liar with the tongue; and such in all nations is he, at all epochs, considered. Men pull his nose, and kick him out of doors ; and by peremptory expressive methods signify that they can and will have no trade with him. Such is spoken divergence from the fact ; so fares it with the practiser of that sad art," (Latter-Day Pamphlets, pg. 180).
Carlyle’s words in his essay, "Hudson’s Statue," accurately paints the volatile state that America is in right now. Carlyle writes that a nation’s fate can be known by the type of men it holds in favor. For America, President Bush’s dismal popularity speaks more about the people’s good sense, and the nation’s future prosperity, than the promotion of Barack Obama into the White House. Also, it is a hopeful sign that most Americans have correctly identified the neocons as the low-life scum that they are. All traitors belong in the gutter (their heads, that is) – in a healthy nation, that is the fate of traitors. And may that be the fate of America’s top traitors. Carlyle:
"This also is certain, Nations that do their Hero-worship well are blessed and victorious; Nations that do it ill are accursed, and in all fibres of their business grow daily more so, till their miserable afflictive and offensive situation becomes at last unendurable to Heaven and to Earth, and the so-called Nation, now an unhappy Populace of Misbelievers (miscreants was the old name), bursts into revolutionary tumult, and either reforms or else annihilates itself. How otherwise? Know whom to honour and emulate and follow ; know whom to dishonour and avoid, and coerce under hatches, as a foul rebellious thing," (Latter-Day Pamphlets, pg. 239).
America is lucky that it has a long line of heroes. From Washington and Jefferson to Kennedy and King, Americans can be proud of the leaders that the country has produced in its 234-year history. And may it produce some more because new heroes are desperately needed now.