A bit of logomachy to gild the day. British former Prime Minister Harold Macmillan is widely quoted with this wonderful quip: When asked what would guide his policy, he replied “Events, dear boy, events.” Of course, he never said it, but since when has the truth ever stopped a decent story from being told (and retold, and retold again)?
Winston Churchill was possessed of such an aureate and rapier wit that one day, happening upon his political rival Prime Minister Clement Attlee doing the business that men do in the men’s room at the Members’ Cloakroom of the House of Commons, he had this exchange. Churchill observed Attlee at one end of the long shared trough (think Fenway Park before renovation), and promptly stood far at the other end. Attlee remarked, “Feeling standoffish today, are we, Winston?”
To which Churchill instantly replied, “That’s right. Every time you see something big you want to nationalize it.”
Pleased as punch, we know that indeed, reliably, and with complete confidence, Winston Churchill spoke those words. Like the stewardess with the passenger who spoke jive, we must bow before a superior intellect.
In fact, Macmillan’s answer was “the opposition of events,” which means a totally different, but related, thing. Narrative is a powerful force in language, and it shapes how we view and process the world, and arrive at something we call “truth.”
When people say things, or write things, those things are colored by the narrative they wish to convey. This means that one person’s truth is another’s garbage fire, depending on one’s point of view. But there is such a thing as objective truth, when events, and facts of immediate historical value come in to play.
Where we are as a nation is in a perilous divergence from fact, where the standard deviation of truth to narrative is somewhere in the vicinity of Jupiter’s orbit compared to Earth’s. To continue the lesson in rocket science: it requires a whole lot of delta-V to put a spacecraft in orbit around Jupiter (versus crashing it into the gas giant’s thick atmosphere, which is by comparison, child’s play).
Another metaphor would be flying an airplane. Possessed of enough intelligence, time, Microsoft Flight Simulator, and pilot operating handbooks, most people could figure out how to start a Boeing 777. They could, if one were left unattended and fueled, taxi it to the end of a runway and take off. They could punch a few holes in the sky. But the trick is in landing it safely.
The trick with truth is getting it close enough that the narrative and the facts have some relative value besides using words. And our media, our political parties, and regular citizens are getting it dangerously wrong, and people are dying because of those words.
More people will continue to die because of lies and false narratives.
Radio host and author Dr. Michael Brown wrote that he’s “sick at heart” over the pain and grief convulsing America. It seems that every interaction of a white police officer with a Black person is fraught with the potential to ignite a literal burning of a city. And every burning of a city is a siren song to those who believe they can help by showing up armed.
When two groups of armed people show up ready to defend themselves and their sacred causes, fed by false narratives from both sides, people die. They die horribly, in pain, and needlessly, without mercy. Two lives were snuffed out in Kenosha by a 17-year-old, who, regardless of the judicial punishment he may suffer, now has to live with the fact that he was a self-recruited soldier with no training thrust, by himself, into a war, and he took civilian lives.
We, as civilians, have no right to assume government (unless we seek to overthrow it and replace it with better), or as humans, to assume God-like power, to “help” at the end of a gun barrel when others in government are failing to acknowledge truth. But nobody told Kyle Rittenhouse he was fighting a war without learning the rules of engagement. Even the police believed he was there as a friendly force, and nobody asked him “are you old enough to carry that AR-15?”
The police in Kenosha were no doubt grateful that somebody cared while their city burned and everyone from their basketball team to their governor blamed them for it.
Politically, the message from Democrats seems to be “join us and elect us to federal office, or the burning will continue,” and Trump’s message is “only by re-electing me can we stop the burning.” Neither message is the whole truth, and both are cynically weaponizing events, instead of opposing the events with action.
In 2017, Democrats summoned the violent, the fringe, and the anarchists and bid them drive Trump from office by any means necessary. They failed, and Democrats also failed to drive Trump from office by legal and political means, despite enjoying an enormous power advantage in the media, in corporate boardrooms, and in Hollywood culture. Now, their bargain is that they will stop the violent forces they failed to control if undecided Americans, on election day, do what they also failed to do. This is extortion, and it’s driving people to Trump.
Brian Mattson blogged that it’s a “shakedown,” which it is. It reminds me of a story of when I was in Italy a few decades ago. My Italian host informed me that a man was asking for 500 lira to “watch my car” outside a particular restaurant where we were about to dine, so “to make sure nothing will happen to it.”. I rolled my eyes and replied “Right. Why should I pay? It’s a public street.”
“You don’t understand,” he said. “If you don’t pay, something will happen to your car.” I paid. Paying for protection in a foreign country is one thing, but handing the country over to Joe Biden would be like me handing the car over to the man who promised something would happen to it if I didn’t.
The media has ludicrously painted the riots as “mostly peaceful” even as buildings are burned and businesses are looted in the background of the TV reporters saying those words. Federal officers arrested “Riot Kitchen 206” members who drove from Seattle, supposedly to feed protestors, but they had some fairly destructive materials in their van, and tried to flee detainment.
The police don’t know what to believe, and citizens don’t know what to believe. Every event is immediately captured, weaponized to a narrative, and filtered to a bubble-bound, echo chamber audience itching to hear that version of truth.
When a version of the truth is that far from reality, it’s a lie. A lie is the opposite of truth. There has only been one man, according to Biblical history, who has ever lived and never once uttered anything but the truth. In fact, Jesus said “I am the way, the truth, and the life” in John 14:6.
Whoever distorts the truth in order to promote a narrative, not just a version of truth, but a lie, is dealing in the opposite of Christ, the anti-Christ. There is a real spirit of anti-Christ operating in a world where we are being asked to recruit ourselves to an army–with lethal weapons–to defend a narrative that’s been fed to us as truth, but is a lie.
Whether that lie leads to Kyle Rittenhouse destroying his own life and taking others’ lives, or to New York journalist Shaun King tweeting from the safety of his apartment, far away from the violence, to endanger policemen’s lives, it’s the spirit of anti-Christ in operation here.
The anti-Christ is not, in this case, some sharp-lapeled, Armani-wearing European whose supernatural powers are exercised in the halls of power in Geneva. It’s not in some underground bunker in Washington, D.C., where deep plots are hatched to suborn and coerce the forces of government to deploy microchips secretly made by Bill Gates to be delivered through a COVID-19 vaccine, thereby introducing the Mark of the Beast into unsuspecting Christians, damning their souls for eternity.
It’s not the person who buys a gun a week and ammunition to go with it, and will “shoot you in the name of Jesus” if you attempt to enter his compound without leave to do so.
It’s the fact that neither side’s information-rage machine is willing to switch off, or even to dial down the production of daily lies, distortions and crises. The spirit of anti-Christ wants us armed, recruited, and ready for real war, where people die. He wants every day to lead to another June 14, 2017 when James Hodgkinson believed he needed to massacre Republican lawmakers.
We are all being drawn into this fight every day, and the only way to opt out is to cry out to God, and to denounce every lie, regardless of who it comes from.
For all of you who pull your Platinum Cards from your backpacks; or kids who have lived a privileged life only to, from boredom, decide to loot and burn and pull down statues of people they know nothing about; or you who only watch news from sources that agree with your worldview–you are all becoming an anti-Christ.
It will lead to ruin. It will lead to death, and it will lead to sorrow. Let’s stop it, like the people of Charleston stopped it after Dylann Roof tried to spark a race war. Not with “law and order” (though that’s necessary, and is being purposely withheld in some cities for expensive political points, because lives are priceless), but with the one thing we absolutely know and have complete confidence is more powerful than the spirit of anti-Christ.
20 Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. 21 When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”
22 And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebul! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.”
23 So Jesus called them over to him and began to speak to them in parables:“How can Satan drive out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. 26 And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come. 27 In fact, no one can enter a strong man’s house without first tying him up. Then he can plunder the strong man’s house.28 Truly I tell you, people can be forgiven all their sins and every slander they utter, 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin.”(Mark 3:20-29)
We cannot drive out Satan by Satan. And imploring the name of Christ to defend a lie is blasphemy. Only by embracing the Truth and the grace of God can we throw off the evil embroiling us.
It’s that, or be prepared to die, or to take lives of others, because that’s certainly what’s coming if we don’t avert our current course. And that will happen no matter who is in the White House. Don’t be fooled, neither Trump or Biden can stop this. Only we can, and only by the power of the truth and the grace of God.