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Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Lies That Sound Like Truth

It’s getting harder and harder to figure out what’s really going on, isn’t it? This week, I’ve tried to navigate my way through two very different propaganda minefields.

The first is a brief speech from President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin in which he lectures the West on its departure from Christian morality. Pure, ironic gold.

The second is an uncharacteristic opinion piece from the pen of Lefty billionaire and master manipulator George Soros, who usually lurks in the shadows behind paid political operatives when trying to tip the scales of American public opinion. But nobody flushed more money down the drain in November’s election than George Soros, and in this op-ed he purports to tell us why.

Both Putin and Soros assure us they are determined to save Western civilization — by precisely opposite means.

As Pilate said, likely throwing his hands in the air, “What is truth?” Good question. Glad you asked. I don’t know either — about this stuff anyway.

Putin on the Ritz

Putin’s speech trashing Western morality is full of goodies like this:
“In these countries, the moral basis and any traditional identity are being denied — national, religious, cultural, and even gender identities are being denied or relativized. There, politics treats a family with many children as juridically equal to a homosexual partnership; faith in God is equal to faith in Satan. The excesses and exaggerations of political correctness in these countries indeed leads to serious consideration for the legitimization of parties that promote the propaganda of paedophilia.”
Now, bear in mind these are words in the mouth of an ex-KGB strongman that Hillary Clinton would have us believe rigged the last American election and, for good measure, is planning to rig the next German vote.

Moral Values Rooted in Christianity

Now, I don’t think for a second that Putin had anything to do with the presidency of Donald Trump beyond the usual public, verbal meddling engaged in by all politicians. Still, if this is what Putin really believes, I’m not sure we’d be in worse shape if he DID manage to rig an election or two:
“Without the moral values that are rooted in Christianity and other world religions, without rules and moral values which have formed, and been developed, over millennia, people will inevitably lose their human dignity and become brutes. And we think it is right and natural to defend and preserve these Christian moral values.”
From his other speeches it is clear that Putin does not include Islam under the banner of “other world religions” that teach positive moral values, so this is not your standard politically-motivated platitudinous drivel. Oh, of course it’s politically motivated: that’s not in question. It may even mask a totally sinister agenda. But the sentiments themselves are largely correct and the message is sorely needed. Try finding a leader in North America or Europe who will address the issues so frankly. In fact, many Western politicians actively promote the evils Putin deplores.

Does he really believe any of what he’s saying? Who knows. But he’s saying a lot of the right things. So, yeah, I’m stumped. This ain’t Hollywood: the good guys and bad guys don’t wear white and black hats to conveniently distinguish them for us.

A Soros Loser

If Putin’s speech is suspiciously heart-warming and Christian-friendly, Soros’ opinion piece is a master class in string-pulling. He starts with the fact that he is a Hungarian Jew who escaped Hitler’s WWII predations by the skin of his teeth, establishing his moral authority beyond any Westerner’s willingness to question it. If I sound cynical, remember that this tactic has been used thousands of times before to great effect.

Soros goes on to talk about his vision of “open” and “closed” societies. “Open” is of course good, and “closed” is bad. Except that the sort of society Soros promotes is in reality much less free and open than the sort he deplores, as pictures of the Christmas markets in “closed” Poland laid side-by-side with similar markets in “open” England, Germany, France and Belgium demonstrate most convincingly. Christmas shopping surrounded by stormtroopers with machine guns has limited appeal for most of us.

Resilient Democracy

Soros comes off like a loving grandfather gently remonstrating with unruly children. Who could argue with sentiments like this?
“I am confident that democracy will prove resilient in the US. Its Constitution and institutions, including the fourth estate, are strong enough to resist the excesses of the executive branch, thus preventing a would-be dictator from becoming an actual one.”
Never mind that during the last election, it is these very institutions that Soros and his gang worked tirelessly to undermine. Soros should know about “resilient democracy”, since it appears to be doing its level best to repel his incursions.

Lies that sound like truth. It’s not a new problem. It’s as old as the Garden of Eden.

Find Me a Spin Doctor

Or take a slightly more recent and less overworked scriptural example: When David’s son Absalom murdered his own brother, his father prudently banished him, but not-so-secretly longed for his son’s return from exile. David’s general Joab engineered that return beautifully by sending a “wise woman” to tell carefully constructed fibs to the sentimental father in the hope of manipulating the result Joab desired. Here’s an example of the old gal’s technique:
“Why then have you planned such a thing against the people of God? For in giving this decision the king convicts himself, inasmuch as the king does not bring his banished one home again. We must all die; we are like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. But God will not take away life, and he devises means so that the banished one will not remain an outcast.”
Bravo! What a piece of work.

A Rhetorical Tour de Force

That paragraph alone is an absolute rhetorical tour de force:
  • To fail to forgive Absalom is spun as a crime “against the people of God”. Oh my. Better reverse that edict right now. Those hurting Israelites may never recover from the debacle of Absalom’s banishment. The masses want this, David. Why are you being such an old stick in the mud?
  • “We must all die; we are like water spilled on the ground.” Oh yes, life is short. Why stick to your principles when doing so may cause you to miss out on something really important?
  • “God … devises means so that the banished one will not remain an outcast.” So true, but so artfully misemployed. The unrepentant and willfully rebellious banished one ought to stay right where he is, thank you.
The only thing the old gal forgot to throw in was “It’s for the kids!” Shame, really.

Played, But Willingly

The sad thing is that David saw through the con. He realized Joab was playing him. He called the woman on it and she confessed. And then he went right ahead and did EXACTLY what Joab wanted him to do. He brought Absalom back from exile, a tragedy that ultimately led to the death of many Israelites and split the kingdom.

So why did David capitulate? Because Joab was smart enough to tell David what he already wanted to hear. Joab didn’t con David. David conned himself. All David really wanted was some “moral” support for a wrong decision he was sorely tempted to make anyway. Joab’s ruse just provided a convenient excuse.

Action and Accountability

I doubt very much that the Lord will one day hold us accountable for failing to act on things we didn’t know about and couldn’t possible determine. Is Mr. Putin telling the truth? Is he giving the West sound advice? Should we follow his prescription for saving Western civilization?

Or should we all vote for the globalist candidate next time out? George Soros thinks a world with wide open borders and free trade is a kinder, gentler world in which the Holocaust will never reoccur. If he’s right, all you American readers should have pulled the lever for Hillary.

Who can know the answers to these things? We try our best, but finding the truth is like finding one very specific sewing instrument in a haystack full of needles. Good luck with that!

What we will be accountable for is the bad advice we take that we already know is bad advice. When we spot the agenda and give in anyway because, down deep, giving in is what WE really want. And the person in front of us playing the role of “wise woman” may be our wife, our husband, our daughter, our son, our elders, our boss, or our well-intentioned fellow believer.

There are plenty of con artists out there already. The one thing we don’t need to start doing is, like David, conning ourselves.

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