One of the most disturbing things about our current state of affairs is the degree to which blatant dishonesty has become expected, accepted, and even encouraged. It has certainly become more rewarding than honesty and personal integrity.
I recently experienced an unwanted refresher course in the pervasive dishonesty of modern politics and (some) public employees. I was involved in a grassroots collection of groups and individuals trying to pass an initiative measure in the recent Oregon election. The primary opponents of our measure were "law enforcement", and the "mainstream media". While there were arguably local and issue specific variations on the theme, the basic tactics of the opposition have become distressingly common on many levels of public life.
Public support for the issue our measure addressed commonly polled as high as 80% in favor. However, an aggressive propaganda campaign convinced enough citizens to vote against their own principles and self-interests that our measure was defeated by a small margin.
The opposition blatantly lied about what was in the measure and what it would do. They made outrageous claims that had no basis in reality. They fabricated impossible horror stories of what would happen if the measure passed. Statements by senior police officials contradicted both the letter and spirit of the measure in their efforts to spread fear and doubt among the voters. The clear intention of the public employees opposing the measure was to deceive the citizens and violate the public trust for the benefit of their own personal and/or professional self-interests. Perhaps the most disturbing aspect was that they clearly had no expectation of being held personally accountable for their willful deceptions and violations of the public trust.
It didn't matter that the lies were blatantly obvious to anyone who actually knew what the measure said and what it would do. The opponents knew that most voters wouldn't bother to do their own checking, and could be lead to believe whoever the mainstream media promoted as a credible expert.
The biased mainstream media gave prominent repetitive exposure to the lies of the opposition while suppressing objections from proponents. As a result, by the time they cast their ballots, most voters had been relentless bombarded by deceitful propaganda from supposedly trustworthy officials and experts, while remaining largely oblivious of fact that they were being deceived and manipulated.
While my example involves state politics, the same pervasive dishonesty pervades politics on the Federal level. The Republicans have hardly been paragons of virtue, but they've been bush-league players compared to the degree of malicious dishonesty practiced by the Democrats over the last decade. The current liar-in-chief occupying the White House was elected entirely on a campaign of lies and distortions – both about the candidate and his opponent. Turns out his only real accomplishment in life has been to deceive an awful lot of people into thinking he was someone very different from the man reality has since revealed him to be.
The current liar-in-chief is hardly the only liar in government. Our entire socioeconomic system is in danger of collapse as a direct result of decades of gross dishonesty by both elected officials and public employees. Of course, according to the villains who actually caused the financial disaster, it's all somebody else's fault...
We've come to expect politicians to lie to us. Those who expect politicians to tell the truth, take their oath of office seriously, or honor their campaign promises are dismissed as laughably naive. Instead of being "run out of town on a rail", or "tarred and feathered", the liars who are destroying our once free nation are routinely reelected to do more even harm and spread even more lies.
The endless repetition of revisionist history in public schools and the mainstream media has inverted the public's understanding of their own socioeconomic and political history. Solutions have been redefined as problems, and problems promoted as solutions. Intrusive government is now promoted as the solution to the problems of freedom, while in reality the opposite has been consistently true. The champions of liberty and individualism, who in reality contributed so much to our current unprecedented quality of life, are now condemned as perpetrators of great crimes against humanity, while sociopathic mass murderers have been perversely transformed into enlightened leaders worthy of adoration.
The politically correct view of history now condemns the free market capitalism that in reality has created the most advanced, prosperous, egalitarian, and tolerant civilization ever achieved by man. The currently approved view is that western industrial civilization is an elitist exploitive aberration that stole it's undeserved prosperity from the oppressed poor of the third world, and is actively destroying the planet for the sheer joy of laying waste to what would otherwise be a global garden of Eden.
Public schools have become surrogate parents, social engineering laboratories, political indoctrination centers, the last great bastion of old style labor union gangsterism, and a powerful political tool of the Democratic party – pretty much everything but fulfilling their original purpose of providing children with the tools and knowledge needed to become functioning adult citizens of a free society. Is it any wonder that the perceived value of public education has degraded and drop-out rates have skyrocketed? It isn't much of a surprise that a population that lacks the basic knowledge and tools to be functional citizens is becoming increasingly susceptible to the lies and manipulations of a self-appointed ruling elite.
Our passive acceptance of gross dishonesty has even tainted the once truth-obsessed world of science. Consider the way the "global warming" scam has been promoted, and the claimed global carbon crisis has been used to demand draconian measures to save the planet – measures that just happen to benefit the political agendas and personal fortunes of those who have been "most concerned" about the looming "crisis".
Climate alarmists have loudly claimed that 2010 was the warmest year in history, and that the Earth is facing imminent run-away global warming, based on the reports of the UN's IPCC and Al Gore's Oscar winning propaganda film. The "scientists" that provided the bulk of the politically useful "scientific evidence" of global warming have since been forced to admit that not only was 2010 not the warmest year in history, but there has actually been no detectable global warming for at least the last 15 years.
Thanks to the leak of confidential communications between some of the conspirators, we now know that the UN's IPCC "scientists" falsified the data on which they based their alarming "findings". The "peer review" process was dishonestly manipulated to keep valid scientific research that would have exposed the global warming scam from being published, and to create a deceptive illusion of "scientific consensus". It's hardly surprising that the data for the "hockey stick" graph that was so useful in "global warming" propaganda, has now mysteriously "gone missing".
The "Global Warming Crisis" as currently promoted is all about power. It's a manufactured "crisis" intended to serve a political objective. Unfortunately, the fabrication of this fake global warming crisis has in the process corrupted real climate science so completely that it's now impossible to tell what is actually happening to the Earth's climate.
The Earth's climate is most likely changing - just as it has always been changing. It has been warming since the last ice age, and will continue warming until it starts cooling with the start of the next ice age cycle. At the moment it might still be continuing the warming trend of the last ten thousand years, or it might not be. The only thing that can be reliably concluded at this point in time is that the currently available evidence does not justify any of the draconian measures advocated by the proponents of the global warming scam.
Our modern world was built by men who placed high values on their personal integrity and public reputations. A man's honor was as important to him as life itself. The cultural rejection of dishonesty didn't entirely eliminate lying, but it did tilt the balance in favor of honor and honesty enough to allow these positive values to create our modern world.
Alas, the pampered products of modern industrial civilization have grown complacent and arrogantly ignorant of the functions and dynamics that created the unparalleled prosperity to which they have become accustomed. Lacking a meaningful understanding of the carefully counter-balanced socioeconomic and political systems they inherited, today's dilettante intellectuals seek to declare themselves superior to previous great men by denigrating the principles and accomplishments of the past. Belligerently ignorant of history, they demand to repeat the learning curve of history as if they were the first humans to think up Utopian fantasies that ignore the realities of human nature. They see any obstacles to their "brand new concepts" as merely accidental artifacts of their predecessors' lack of foresight, not restraints intentionally created to keep ignorant fools from repeating the mistakes of the past.
Perhaps the most inconvenient principles of the past have been the obsessions with honor, honesty, and personal integrity. These principles conflict with the shiny new enlightenment of moral equivalence, abdication of personal responsibility, end justifies the means ethics, and other "new and improved" fallacies of the past. Eliminating these constraints can be greatly liberating – at first. Unfortunately, the adverse side effects of these fallacies eventually reemerge – just like they have every other time they've been tried.
Liars have been surprisingly successful in deceiving their victims into believing that liars have a right to lie, and victims have an obligation to accept being lied to. It's easy to see how lying can be in the self-interest of the liar, but it's difficult to see how it's in the rest of society's self-interest to tolerate the liar.
Tolerance of dishonesty has distorted our understanding of our environment, degraded the functional value of public education, threatened the survival of our socioeconomic system, deceived once-free citizens into surrendering increasing amounts of their rights and liberties, and turned our constitutionally limited republic into a corrupt populist democracy.
A free society requires at least a minimum level of honesty and integrity to function. It may be able to survive in spite of the harm caused by a small percentage of dishonorable individuals, but only honest industry ultimately contributes real value. Graft and corruption are parasitic loads that benefit a few while causing far greater harm to the host society.
A strong cultural requirement of honor and integrity is an important component in a prosperous and productive society. Intolerance of liars is a neglected tradition that deserves an enthusiastic restoration.