Make 2021 the Year of Truth
COMMENTARY: The United States is deciding right now what and who it is going to be for the next 500 years.
The year 2020 was tough. Many of us had been joking about how great it would be when 2020 ended and we could start fresh again. But in our hearts, we know that 2021 is not likely to be any better. In fact, given the events of yesterday, it may be worse. We are afraid to face this: We feel as if we are staring into the abyss. We can’t figure out what to do. So, we do nothing, and scare ourselves even more.
Therefore, let us face our fear.
The world we once knew is gone.
That world is not coming back.
We in the United States have enjoyed a period of peace and unprecedented prosperity. We never imagined that in our own lifetimes our nation could be radically transformed. But here we are on the precipice of dramatic change.
Every 500 years or so, the world shakes itself apart. Five hundred years after the Great Schism in 1054, the unity of Christendom was shattered further, this time by reformers and revolutionaries. Those events within the Church shaped the world for the next 500 years, for better or for worse. Similar shake-ups happened through inventions and discoveries like those from the turn of the 15th century through the 16th century, when the New World was discovered.
Today, the world is shaking itself apart once again. The country that inaugurated the “March of Democracy” and self-government has degenerated into a technocratic oligarchy with powers beyond Machiavelli’s wildest dreams. What was once an age of reason and science has morphed into an age of “political science”: Scientific truth is whatever the people in power say it is. What was touted as an age of religious tolerance has become the age of more Christian martyrs than all the preceding centuries combined.
Yes, our world is shaking itself apart. But, eventually, the upheaval will come to an end, and our world will reorganize and stabilize. We are deciding right now what and who we are going to be for the next 500 years.
In my opinion, the One Big Issue, the issue behind all the other issues, is the issue of truth. The people who have claimed for years that there is no such thing as “truth” have revealed themselves as either self-deluded fools at best or flat-out liars at worst. Their claims were meant to disarm you and me from fighting for the truth. “That will lead to an inquisition,” they said. Guess what? They are running inquisitions left and right, literally.
We can safely predict that moral relativism as an intellectually respectable philosophy is dead and gone — and good riddance. Oh, sure, some people will continue to talk that way. But fewer and fewer people will take that talk at face value. No one can any longer hide behind the idea that “my truth” is a sovereign that demands unquestioning respect from others. For us as believers, this means that we can’t hide behind our First Amendment “rights” to our beliefs no matter how irrational they may seem to others. We must be prepared to publicly defend our beliefs and our conduct with reasoned arguments.
This may sound as if we are abandoning our First Amendment religious-liberty protections. Newsflash: We have already lost nearly all of our basic religious liberties. Our very capable attorneys are fighting for their lives for scraps from the table of the Secular Ruling Class.
On the plus side: The Secular Ruling Class must also justify and explain itself. When they claim that truth leads to tyranny, more of us will recognize this as a con job. What they are really saying is, “This is what we want. We can’t defend it. We’re hoping to scare you into not defending your beliefs. We are going to try to chase you off the field by undermining your confidence in the very idea of truth itself.” When they talk about “their truth,” we will recognize that what they mean is: “Now that we have power, we’re going to do what we want.”
And “what they want” is none too attractive. In the recent past, we have seen shocking revelations of wrongdoing by the rich and powerful. We have become aware of the sexual abuse of children in public schools, the Boy Scouts, sports and, most scandalous of all, in churches, especially our own Roman Catholic Church. We have become aware of the weaker being sexually harassed by the stronger: employees by their employers; aspiring actors by producers; seminarians by their religious superiors. We’ve become aware of the collusion of public officials and businesses with enemies of the United States.
These revelations have been demoralizing. But now that we are getting used to the idea, we can see that the revelations are actually a double blessing. First, we are better off knowing than not knowing. These things have undoubtedly been going on in secret for a long time. Second, these activities are now widely decried as indefensible and wrong. No moral relativism here!
We should be grateful, not fearful, when the new year brings further revelations of wrongdoing. I like to picture the Holy Mother of God lifting up rocks. Dark, slimy, creepy-crawly things are scurrying around, looking for cover.
Once we know the problems, we have an obligation to deal with them to the best of our ability. For those with specialized professional skills and connections, that means jumping into the judicial or medical or political or ecclesial or media fray. Fight for the truth, and stop cooperating with untruth in your area of expertise.
Many of us will take smaller and less public steps. Maybe you’ll be the church secretary or election observer who blows the whistle. Maybe you’ll be the friend who gives a fired whistleblower another job and a place to live. Maybe you’ll keep rallying your friends and family to keep attention on the problems you know about. Choose an arena in which you can accomplish something, small though it may seem. But do something.
Up until now, the enemy has conquered by winning lots of little skirmishes, taking lots of small fields. Most of the time, he was unopposed.
No more. Make up your mind to get together with fellow believers and educate yourselves. Speak the truth. Take a stand.
How we conduct ourselves as believers today will have far-reaching consequences. Let 2021 be the Year of Truth.