You can't handle the truth!
Be careful what you do when the lie becomes the truth.
Tell me lies.
Tell me sweet little lies.
A professional counsellor once told me that there no facts, and added that that had been proven. You will note that the claim is what logicians call a reductio ad absurdum, that is, it collapses into absurdity. What this wizened little Leftist – which is what she certainly was - was saying was that it is a fact that there no facts. When it comes to the wilful distortion of facts and the political Left, nobody does it better.
There has been a lot of online chatter about the redundancy of the old political appellations of ‘Left’ and ‘Right’. Their replacement with ‘Globalist’ and ‘Nationalist’ has been mooted. I believe Marine Le Pen is the only politician to make the point explicitly and use precisely those terms, but it is clearly an emerging concept, a meme in the proper sense of that word, rather than a cartoon frog. It’s clear what nationalism is. What, though, is globalism?
Wittgenstein famously began his Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus with the following sentence;
The world is all that is the case.
Is that what the Globalists are talking about, what is the case? If ‘Globalism’ is the new step in the evolution of Leftism, what is the case becomes very problematic, because the Left are at pains to use facts to suit their agenda, and to rely on sheer invention if it serves a purpose. Lies, in short, become the truth if they advance the cause. Lenin and Mao, Trotsky and Goebbels, all these shades gather round.
There are the simple lies, of course. The BBC, for example, reported that there were ‘a few hundred’ marchers at yesterday’s Unite Against Hate march in Manchester. There were not. There were between three and four thousand, as the many available videos make clear. Why lie about something so easily provable? The simple answer is that for many, television is reality. Leftists – I will use the old, familiar terms until we can clarify the etymological arrivistes – wish to believe that the march was attended by a few racist misfits, the BBC assured them that it was, and a lie becomes fact. These people are unlikely to read the sites I read and to see the veridical images they show.
Then there is the election. The Conservatives won it, say the Right. No Labour won it, say the Left. The archaic notion that an appeal to the figures could and should be made dissolves, is erased under the dry cloth of post-modernist relativism.
When it comes to Islam, we are almost a peak denial of the truth. Take the famous and now rather nauseating claim that terrorist atrocity after terrorist atrocity has ‘nothing to do with Islam’, despite all evidence to the contrary. A point that the great essayist Theodore Dalrymple makes – I forget where – is that the lies told by the Communist regimes that so disfigured the 20th century were not even intended to deceive, they were designed solely to humiliate. We will tell you what you and we know to be untrue, and you will affirm it. You risk professional and social disgrace if you do not.
Curiously – although an important element of a forming alliance - the Left’s elision of easily provable facts has much in common with Islamic taqiyya. This mainly Shia practice is uncomplicated. It allows deceit of the infidel in the cause of Islam, and its origin in the Koran can be found in suras 3:28 and 16:106. In a sense, any of us who knowingly lied as children in order to save ourselves from punishment or disapproval knows what it is to indulge in taqiyya.
And, of course, taqiyya is also the Muslim concomitant of a practice not unknown to Western politicians. One of the first jokes I recall my late father telling me was the old one about knowing when a politician was lying because his lips were moving. But what will happen when the lies are shown for what they are?
This, of course, is what the political class is fighting hard to prevent. They see their lies as an updated version of Plato’s ‘noble myth’ from the Republic, the necessary untruths which keep the populace happy and healthy, if ignorant. Mankind, as Eliot writes in Murder in the Cathedral, cannot bear too much reality. It is the driving force behind their grim determination to police and curate the internet. There is just too much truth lurking out there.
Now, truth is no simple affair. It has different categories. That 2 + 2 is equal to 4 was true in the time of Christ and in the time of Mohammed, just as it is true now. It is true in Berlin, Djibouti and Croydon. Descartes believed that proof of existence could be predicated on mathematics and Spinoza, in the Ethics, believed that ethical truths could be shown to be in conformity with logical truth. There is an amusing echo of this when you hear Leftists say that the Right are being ‘illogical’ when they disagree with them although, to be fair, this childish slinging of gormless excrement works both ways.
But mathematical and logical truth does not fit the real world, otherwise Zeno’s paradoxes could not exist, or at least would not be paradoxical. The truth among men, I believe, tends to be found when one group of those men has vanquished the other.
And belief is what it all comes back to. I believe the world should be this way, you believe it should be that way. We fight. One of us wins. And the winner’s beliefs become true.
We are being lied to, to use a modern phrase, on an industrial scale. By politicians, by the media, by our workmates, by the police, by management, by our children’s teachers. One day the conflict will have to come, and then we will see where the truth lies once the dust has settled.
And the blood has dried.