As scandal follows on the heels of scandal in Washington, DC, we are being asked to believe, repeatedly, that all the dastardly deeds have been the work of a few “bad apples,” a few rogue operatives, who presumed to act without anyone’s authority or approval.
Are all these despoilers acting on orders from higher up? Who created the stench? Should we assume that the disease originates in the Oval Office?
That would be shocking (or not)…but solvable.
What is more troubling is a thought that Joel Belz posits in his May 31 editorial in WorldMag.com. (If you receive World magazine in the mail, it was published in the issue dated June 15.) Here’s what he says (emphasis mine):
Here’s what is worse—and maybe a lot worse. What if the whole governmental structure is so bad, so rotten to its core, that no one at the top even needs to issue any perverse orders? What if the inclination to abuse the power of the Internal Revenue Service, and to invade thousands of taxpayers’ privacy, is so thorough that it’s just an expected modus operandi?
What if no one has to tell a third-level operative in the Justice Department that the way to move ahead is to hack some journalist’s cell phone? What if everyone “up there” understands that cover-up always trumps telling the truth—and cover-up becomes a habit?…
My brother’s post yesterday mentions “Omerta”–the Mafia’s Code of Silence, by which everyone knows what to do so that the leadership keeps its hands clean. That could be it. But there’s an even more depressing possibility, according to Mr. Belz:
There may be a scenario a thousand times more to be feared. That situation comes when the people being governed themselves no longer own the kind of moral compass that helps them judge between good and evil. That may be because they simply no longer care, and have become numb to such distinctions. Or it may be because they too have been taught that all morality is relative—and out of conviction they simply aren’t ready to pass judgment on anyone or anything.
I have no proof, but I suspect that for at least half our populace a combination of these things is true: Many 21st century Americans have no “moral compass” (i.e., no trusted higher authority on which to base moral judgments), AND they fear making a value judgment, because they’ve been told so often that “good” and “evil” are subjective qualities. They may still have the remnants of a conscience which occasionally says, “But isn’t this…wrong?” Yet they manage to stifle that politically incorrect thought.
They keep getting whiffs of a bad odor, but they’re still managing to ignore it…which at this point is akin to carrying a single sprig of lavender around during the Black Plague.
This lack of compass and fear of judging is quite likely just as true for those in positions of authority as it is for the voting public. In fact…
- What if our top leaders are not God-fearers, and have convinced themselves that their notion of some ultimate “public good” justifies whatever short-term decisions they make?
- Meanwhile, those under them rationalize nearly anything as “just following orders” and trying to keep their jobs.
- And those of us down below shrug and say, “I don’t know what to believe…but I don’t think any of us can really know what’s true anyway. They’re all doing the best they can, I guess.”
Proverbs 29:18 in the Amplified Bible, says:
“Where there is no vision [no redemptive revelation of God], the people perish; but he who keeps the law [of God, which includes that of man]—blessed (happy, fortunate, and enviable) is he.”
The blatant falsehoods, the breath-taking illogic we hear coming from those in authority, makes me think of a passage written by the prophet Isaiah nearly three thousand years ago. In it, those who have abandoned the Lord are crafting idols. Isaiah describes the planting of a tree and tending it to maturity. Then it is cut down, some of it is used for fuel–both for warmth and as a heat source for cooking.
(Hmmm…I wonder if it was an apple tree?)
No one recalls, nor is there knowledge or understanding to say, “I have burned half of it in the fire and also have baked bread over its coals. I roast meat and eat it. Then I make the rest of it into an abomination, I fall down before a block of wood!” He feeds on ashes; a deceived heart has turned him aside. And he cannot deliver himself, nor say, “Is there not a lie in my right hand?”
Whatever the idol, whether
- or some intellectual ideal of a “greater good”…
…the idol is hollow, and it’s rotting from the inside out. When will our citizens wake up to the fact that they’re worshiping a lie? Unfortunately, too many remain blissfully asleep (assuming that ignorance really is bliss...).
Which makes the historic quote I found recently seem depressingly accurate:
“Every country has the government it deserves.” (“Toute nation a le gouvernemente qu’elle merite.”)
–Joseph de Maistre – 1811