You’ll occasionally run into someone who believes that it couldn’t be clearer: everything we’re experiencing was foreseen in the Book of Revelation. I’m not here to argue that, nor am I anyone’s idea of a Biblical scholar, but I think what we’re experiencing today is better illustrated not by the last book in the Bible but by the first.
Even if you’re not religious you’ve probably heard (I may be overestimating modern education here) of the Tower of Babel. The story is found in Genesis 11. I’ll paraphrase: The people, acting as one, sought to build a tower that would rise to Heaven itself. God decided this was a step too far, so he jumbled their language such that they couldn’t much communicate with each other. Thus, they were prevented from extending their reach beyond its proper grasp.
I think that something very like that is happening again, not just with language but in other areas as well. And I think it is derived from our propensity to do things not because we should but instead because we can.
“Hey — think we can make this bat virus affect humans, too? If it gets loose and people complain, we could say it’s science and that science is sacred and may do whatever it wants. People will believe it if we relabel politics as science.”
“I know what let’s do. Let’s cut off parts of people’s bodies, or paste things on to people’s bodies, and say we’re changing their sex. And before we get held to account for doing these reprehensible things, let’s get some malleable morons to shout that it’s our right to do it!”
“How’s about we kill the inconvenient, the babies we don’t want and the old, the sick, and the irritating. We could call it a right at first and then, later, we could say it is those people’s duty to die.”
These things are ridiculous and, soberly viewed, unthinkable, yet we’re doing them. I do not think there is a single person on the planet who does not know to a moral certainty that those things are fundamentally wrong. They are evil, to use a quaint old word. But issues of right and wrong have been banished. The standard now is what’s convenient or what comports with wishful thinking.
Step back. Take a look. Hidden amid all the angry background noise, unvarnished evil, is winning. You probably already know that.
We have colleges full of young people seeking diplomas in something called “gender studies.” What is that? What is it good for? What contribution could it possibly make? Yes, you might say, but we also have schools of medicine, engineering schools, places where history is studied and where there are students to study it. But look only a little bit beneath the surface and you’ll see that those schools are filled with people admitted not because they might make good engineers, doctors, and historians but instead for all kinds of other reasons. And they’re taught that those pursuits must be bent to serve the needs and desires of a malignant agenda. Thinking the approved thoughts is more important than performing the right calculations, prescribing the right remedy, identifying the pertinent fact.
In our newsrooms, “Is it true?” was replaced by “Can it be proved false?” before even that lowered standard was cast aside, in favor of “Does it serve our ends? If it does, when it’s challenged say it again, only louder.”
It’s been coming for some time; in some respects it has always been with us. But in earlier times there was at least the acknowledgment of self-evident good and evil. In the 20th century, when Russian communists were killing tens of millions of their own people, they at least had the self awareness to try to hide it. Now, our evildoers are loud and proud.
Look at our politics. We’ve moved beyond the perennial problems of simple graft and corruption. I remember the story that was told at political dinners about the grandfather of William F. Buckley. The grandfather was a Democrat and was for a time a sheriff in Texas. “He died in 1909, but good Democrat that he was, he turned out in 1948 to vote for Lyndon Johnson.”
But our politicians are now demanding the right to be corrupt. Last night at a rally the current president, who has not told the truth on any item of importance great or small for years, talked of his son’s death in Iraq. His son did not die in Iraq. He said he went to a black college. He did not go to a black college. He said his political opponents wish to destroy government programs serving the old and disadvantaged. There is no reason to suspect, let alone believe, that this is true. The mouldering remains of Joe Biden, who used to be a gutless politician in the pocket of labor unions, a low-level louse at best, counts on you to think that whether something is true or not no longer matters. Evil and senility are not a pretty combination.
It has been a while since we had a decent human being as president, though it is within living memory. Biden’s predecessor was no friend of the truth, either. I’ll always wonder why it is that so many religious people embraced Donald Trump, none of whose offenses can be explained by dementia. When in an interview Trump described the Communion host as “the little cracker,” he was announcing contempt for Christianity and his belief — this part would prove to be true — that he had Christians under his thumb anyway. The only redeeming aspect of the Trump presidency was that people who did know right from wrong convinced him that if he did what was right he, Trump, would look good. (In a modern version of “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” Trump’s advisors would have told him that yes, his new garments are spectacular but why not keep them clean by wearing something over them. Biden’s people breathe a sigh of relief every time he appears onstage wearing pants.)
Together, Biden and Trump (with help from others) have forced us to recognize that words no longer have meanings. In Genesis the people couldn’t communicate because they literally spoke different languages. Today, the same effect is achieved not in that way but by words bearing to relation to truth.
And so we have the governor of New York saying that the explosion of violent crime in that long-past-its-prime state is not real but something made up by her political opponents. We have Barack “You can keep your doctor” Obama hailed as the senior voice of sanity and honesty among the Democrats (and given the other possibilities — Hillary anyone? — he probably is as close as they have).
The societal tower we are building is failing. Its engineers don’t know engineering (though they think approved thoughts), the physicians won’t be able to effectively treat the injured (though they can inject hormones that make them superficially different), and the historians aren’t able accurately to record it (though they’ll call the attempt to build that tower noble and necessary).
In short, having gone too far in directions that make no sense, we’re being reined in, just like the over-reachers of Genesis 11.
As I said, we all know (though we’re most of us smart enough to keep it to ourselves) that much of what we embrace societally today is not just wrong but flat-out evil.
Next Tuesday we get to be heard in a way that matters. If those who still have hope that not-evil can triumph in this world turn out and vote in favor of what they know to be true, nothing much will change. That’s a good thing.
That’s the point. If the Republicans win the House and Senate, they won’t be able to enact much if anything. Joe Biden, who in his ever-decreasing lucid moments aspires to be the Emperor in “Star Wars,” will veto anything the majority proposes. It doesn’t matter: Republicans in the House and Senate will be able to slam on the brakes. They will be able to attenuate the insanity.
They won’t be able to pull down the Tower of Biden, but they’ll be able to slow its construction.