The Loving Integral Embrace of Lies and Truth (12.13.08)
Consider the fact, for example, that nearly all totalitarian regimes, such as Iran, hold “elections.” They also have a person called “president,” as if there is any analogy at all between an Iranian president and a United States president -- but he’s just a counterfeit version. Obviously there is no meaningful liberty or democracy in Iran, but the Mullahs must nevertheless pretend they exist. Who -- or what -- are they trying to fool? In other words, why don’t they just come out and say what they actually believe? Why the tribute that totalitarianism needs to pay to liberty? No matter how deeply the mullahs are plunged into the Lie, it seems that they still know the Truth -- just as the Soviets knew the truth. They also held sham elections to give the appearance of democracy.
And it is the same way with the American left, which is why they must always either lie about their ideas or couch them in more acceptable terms -- i.e., “investments” instead of tax increases, “redeployment” instead of surrender, “affirmative action” instead of racial discrimination, “civil rights” instead of special rights, “speech codes” instead of censoring non-leftist thought. When the left uses the tired phrase “speaking truth to power,” they nearly always mean “speaking seductive lies to the powerless in order to gain power.”
And the left certainly has its sham versions of courage, for example, giving a “free speech” award to a crude thug such as Sean Penn -- as if great courage, rather than craven conformity, is required for a Hollywood celebrity to criticize President Bush. He'd better be careful -- if he's any more critical of the President, they may be forced to give him another Oscar.
Obviously counterfeit money can only work if there exists real money somewhere. The counterfeit money is entirely parasitic on the existence of sound money. Which makes the situation in American academia so ironic. American universities have become great bastions of counterfeit truth. What makes secular academia (again, we are always speaking of the liberal arts, not the sciences) such a spiritually sick institution is that it is as if only counterfeit truth is allowed. Imagine banning real money, but only allowing counterfeiters. Obviously, the counterfeit money would soon be valueless, because you couldn’t pass it off as “the real thing.” With multiculturalism, moral relativism, and deconstruction, each professor can be his own counterfeiter. Only monopoly money exists.
Yesterday I cited the example of how Dr. Dobson naively tried to use some academic “funny money” in support of truth, and was soon attacked by the counterfeiters. The same thing would happen in Iran if someone were to try to take their counterfeit democracy seriously. They would be attacked by the counterfeiters. If people learn to recognize real money, then the counterfeiters are out of business.
Likewise, the U.N. is an entirely counterfeit institution that allows dictators and tyrants to be placed on the same moral plane as liberal democracies. But who do the leftist counterfeiters denounce? John Bolton, because he sees the U.N. for the den of iniquity that it is, and is incapable of uttering counterfeit words. In the bizarro leftist world of Time Magazine, Ahmadinejad is a "champion of the dispossessed, global Everyman." Can you imagine them saying that of John Bolton, who is a genuine champion of the dispossessed -- including those who are condemned to live under the global everymonster Ahamdinejad?
Counterfeiters have always flourished in the spiritual and religious arenas. But here again there is an upside, for the existence of these phony gurus and sham versions of religion let us know that the real things exist. The “new age” movement is overflowing with counterfeit spirituality, which bears the same relationship to real spirituality as the Iranian mullahs do to real democracy, or the left does to the truly liberal vision of America’s founders.
Yesterday we were visited by one of these types, who tried to pass some counterfeit bills in the Cosmos. One thing you will notice about our regular readers is that they are like spiritual treasury agents. For them, it is the work of an instant to detect a counterfeiter trying to pass phony spiritual ideas. Most of my readers are undoubtedly rather humble, so they may not stop to think about the implications of this ability, but it obviously means that they may be more in touch with Truth than even they realize. For if you can know it by its absence, you clearly have implicit knowledge of Truth. It’s just a matter of fleshing it out and making it more explicit.
This disingenuous counterfeiter, who called himself “Integralist” this time, wrote, “Wow, I'm a bit surprised. After reading Mr. Godwin's book about a year ago and seeing his name related with the budding ‘integral movement,’ I was rather surprised to find his blog such a haven of vitriol and non-integralism (I only just discovered it after reading his enjoyable interview in What Is Enlightenment?).”
We know right off the bat that this person is a liar and a counterfeiter, even if he doesn’t know it. Just because he “read” my book doesn’t mean he actually read it, much less understood it, for if he had understood it, he would know that it is part of no movement to integrate lies with truth. He claims that he is not a leftist but an “integralist” who aspires “towards a synthesis of liberalism and conservatism, the best of both -- not an outright castigation of one extreme in favor of the other.” He says “I've only browsed your website for about an hour, but please point me to a post that embodies an integral embrace of the important aspects of Left and Right? From what I've seen it is almost a spitting image of the same sort of vitriol that you and others here seem to revile in the Dark and Evil Leftist Empire.”
The whole point of leftism is that it is a counterfeit ideology par excellence. Any truth or beauty it possesses is merely a reflection of the real thing, nothing intrinsic to it, for it must always pretend that it is promulgating ideals that it specifically rejects -- just like the mullahs. In effect, what this reader would like for me to do is integrate the counterfeiters into my world view -- the phony image of truth with Truth -- and call it “integral.”
Let’s just look at some of the institutions that have been already been taken over by the left, such as academia. Is it any coincidence that universities have become such factories of foolishness? There is no idea so crazy or stupid that it isn’t taught in a major university that will cost around $35,000 a year to pollute your child’s mind. And this is only possible because the university continues to benefit from its historical association with genuine liberalism, which promoted the pursuit of objective and timeless truth in order to actualize what is latent in the soul so as to be able to realize the good. Truth must always precede goodness. Political correctness is the very opposite of liberalism, for, as we saw yesterday, it mandates a certain narrow outcome ahead of time, thereby displacing both truth and being (from which truth flows) in one fell swoop.
Of course, leftism also represents counterfeit compassion -- which is what is so annoying about the inane term “compassionate conservatism.” For in coining this misleading term, it was as if the treasury were trying to imitate the counterfeiters, instead of vice versa. There is nothing compassionate about racial discrimination masquerading as affirmative action, or economic innumeracy masquerading as “caring for the little guy,” or attacks on the foundations of civilization masquerading as “gay rights,” or judicial tyranny masquerading as “women’s rights.”
These leftist strategies are only effective because they are parasites on the real thing: liberty, justice, the rule of law, compassion, etc. There is nothing “compassionate” about instituting a single payer health care system in which health care is rationed in the form of a six month wait to get an MRI for that tumor that is growing inside of you. There is nothing “just” about causing serious damage to the world’s economy based upon fanciful weather reports, thereby killing and impoverishing millions more people than if you do nothing. There is nothing “fair” about morally equating the only liberal democracy in the whole of the Middle East with the genocidal barbarians who wish to destroy it.
The leftist counterfeiters rely on your very liberality to allow in the lies that are death to liberalism. This is how liberalism rots from within -- when, as Ken Wilber has written, it can no longer remember what it is or where it came from. These phony “integralists” attack me for my classical liberalism, as if they have the slightest interest in integrating my views with theirs. That’s just a lie. I challenge any of them to find an “integralist” who is as angry and hostile toward leftists as they are toward me. Let’s see the “integralist” who uses the same terms to attack Al Gore, or Jimmy Carter, or Hillary Clinton, or Noam Chomsky, as they do to attack me.
They’re not integralists. They’re just leftist counterfeiters trafficking in reflected light.
An astute reader pointed this out a couple of weeks ago. Truth is not a bottom-up, inductive, sum total of all the truths, half truths, lies, and stupid ideas of the world. Rather, truth is anterior to the minds that think it. As Bion wrote in his paradoxical way, the thinker is only required for the lie, in the sense that he must first know the truth in order to lie about it. Truth only requires that we conform ourselves to it. This is why most of the thinkers of the left are merely liars. And only a fool would mingle lies with truth and label it “integralism.”