Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to such a pass that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love, and in order to occupy and distract himself without love he gives way to passions and coarse pleasures, and sinks to bestiality in his vices, all from continual lying to other men and to himself.
Dostoyevsky’s wisdom from The Brother’s Karamazov speaks the truth to the current crisis concerning Obama’s multiple lies concerning whether people will be able to keep their healthcare plans in Obamacare.
Amongst the slew of articles concerning the big fib, numerous posts confront the problem of Obama’s prevarication and even the problem of a political culture where lying seems to be a norm; however, Brantly Millegan’s excellent post in Aleteia this morning points out that Obama’s mendacious behavior is more than the problem of one Pinocchio politician, but a symptom of our culture’s widespread resort to utilitarian ethics, brought about by our society’s acceptance of moral relativism.
Millegan quotes Anthony Esolen to indicate the greater problem of American self-deception, “Did Barack Obama lie? Of course he did. The American people can hardly be told the truth about anything. Can they be told the truth about unwed motherhood? No. Can they be told the truth about abortion? No. Can they be told the truth about our finances? It doesn't matter; the great majority of the electorate wouldn't have the patience to listen. Can they be told the truth about what is going on in Iraq, or Egypt, or Afghanistan, or Syria? No.”
A culture that can herald moral relativism as something rational and ethically desirable is a culture that can not honestly confront reality. The political dishonesty at hand is a consequence of America's embracement of the Dictatorship of Relativism in which utilitarian moral absolutes reign supreme.
To quote Esolen again, “Politicians lie to us, because we want to hear their lies; we lie to ourselves just as well. When you fairly admit the Machiavellian premise that there is no good beyond the political, then what can possibly restrain you from lying, especially when you can get away with it?”
But it is my hope that when we are honest enough to face things as they are we can begin to turn the Titanic ship of culture around.