Regarding the Truth

I'm sure most of us have heard the saying, something like this: ''a lie can travel halfway around the world before the truth can get its boots on." I don't know the origin of that, by the way, but it's commonly repeated in some form or other on the Internet. And the gist of the saying is true. It does seem that lies or half-truths have some kind of built-in advantage, because lies do seem to spread quickly,  and they have a stubborn longevity. By contrast it seems that the truth (small 't' or capital 'T') is often rejected or resisted, disregarded, or just drowned out by the lies and the liars who perpetuate them, knowingly or not.

The Internet itself, with its worldwide reach and its rapidity of transmitting messages has helped the propagation of lies more than truth, I would think, though I can't prove that. Occasionally somebody says on one of the 'realist' blogs or forums that the Internet will be the defeat of the propaganda machine of the Powers That Be. I wish that would be true; I wish that more truth would be disseminated by the Internet, but it seems that even among 'those who can see' there is often a lack of discernment or a widespread disregard for the truth.

Are we all postmodernists now, who no longer believe in an objective truth, and a truth that matters? Can we just make up a 'narrative' that suits us personally and stick with that, regardless of reality? It seems a lot of people think so, and that's what is being taught, explicitly or implicitly, by today's schools and media.

One small example that I happened across today was yet another instance of someone quoting an apparently non-existent speech, attributed to Vladimir Putin. This supposed statement has been picked up by many on the right, and though I have tried to draw attention to the apocryphal nature of the speech, it lives on.  It seems that it's important to many on 'our side' to have a hero, and Putin fits the bill for many, so they latch onto these remarks he supposedly made about immigration as the kind of thing they wish Western leaders would say, and they really don't care if he in fact never said those words at all; the point is that they would like their hero to express such sentiments, and so they run with this quote, which refuses to die.

For contrast, here's a piece from Russia Today, not my favorite news source, but it illustrates the nature of Putin's actual thoughts on immigration, multiculturalism and nationalism. Hardly consistent with the speech which is so often quoted.

Russia is a state with hundreds of ethnicities, living on their land together and near Russians, he explained.

Putin went on to quote the philosopher and writer, Ivan Ilyin, in a passage that is meant to underscore Russia’s historical respect for all creeds and colors: “Not to eliminate, not to suppress, not to enslave other people’s blood, not to stifle the life of different tribes and religions – but to give everyone breath and the great Russia…to honor all, to reconcile all, to allow everyone to pray in their own way, to work in their own way, and to engage the best in public and cultural development.”

And the money quote:

Putin goes on to warn that “various instigators and our opponents will make every effort to tear out of Russia – with false assertions about the Russians’ right to self-determination, ‘racial purity,’ and the need to ‘finish the job of 1991 and complete the destruction of the empire, sitting on the necks of the Russian people’ – in order to ultimately force people to destroy their Motherland with their own hands.”
­Putin performs a delicate balancing act in his article by celebrating Russia’s “cultural dominance” on the one hand, while warning against the “bacilli of nationalism” on the other.


And nevertheless I expect I will one day click onto someone's blog which quotes the apocryphal speech yet again -- why? Because people don't discern, often don't seek to verify the source, and because they just plain like to believe certain things about those they admire, and will disbelieve anything which conflicts with their admiration for some public figure.

And there are other apocryphal quotes that float around the Internet. One other example which some of you have probably found in your e-mail inbox would be the fake George Carlin quotes, most likely the one called 'I am a bad American.' These Carlin misquotes live on. Many people like the sentiments expressed and they probably liked Carlin so they feel good attributing something they agree with to someone they admire.
Some of the false quotes, the more sentimental ones, are very unlike the libertarian atheist that was true Carlin, but still some believed them. Why?

Another misquote we read or hear frequently is the 'love the sinner, but hate the sin' quote, attributed vaguely to The Bible, or worse, to Jesus himself. For those of us who call ourselves Christian, it's a serious thing to put words into our Lord's mouth, to add to (or take away) from God's word. But each day, numberless Christians quote 'love the sinner, hate the sin', usually in the service of some liberal cause -- like the current news story in which the mother of a murder victim publicly 'forgave' her son's killer, even as he expressed regret -- for not killing more Whites.

And people believe that the Bible commands us to 'love the sinner' while hating the sin. Now, we might argue that there are other Scriptures which support the idea of 'loving the sinner' while 'hating the sin', but I can find counter-arguments made by better Bible scholars than myself.  And is it possible to hate the sin but love the one perpetrating it? But as we have to agree, at least, that the phrase does not appear in the Bible, who did say it? Apparently Mohandas Gandhi said it. Yet tomorrow countless more Christians will piously repeat that phrase, oblivious to the fact that it is not Biblical, not in the Bible.

Why such carelessness with the truth, even among Christians?

Mohandas Gandhi himself is apparently 'credited' with words he never said, or at least, which have never been traced to a credible source quoting him. One such quote is one I've heard: When someone asked Gandhi what he thought of Western Civilization, he supposedly answered 'I think it would be a good idea.'

That's a favorite among those who believe Western Civilization is evil, or not a civilization at all -- in contrast to the utopian Indian civilization, I am sure, where suttee, infanticide, and countless other evils flourished until the 'uncivilized' British put a stop to them -- temporarily anyway.

We live in the Age of Lies, and it seems the politically correct propaganda machine keeps piling lies upon lies, until the whole tottering edifice appears to be ready to fall of its own weight. Or so we can hope. But whether we can one day live in a PC-free world depends on whether we are willing to be truth-seekers or whether we are indifferent to truth, or worse, look to replace the present system of lies with another of our own devising -- like the libertarian/libertine utopian ideology, or some man-made philosophy which seeks to bring about its own version of the 'New Man.'

Truth matters.