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Sunday, August 26, 2018

Liberals Long Ago Abandoned the Idea that “Truth is Truth”

At the end of 2016—and as they themselves declared, much in response to the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States—Oxford Dictionaries named “post-truth” as its 2016 “word of the year.” In other words, because Donald Trump had ascended to the White House, the largest university press in the world decided that much of the American electorate had simply abandoned the truth. Like-minded liberals the world over have decided that we who elected Mr. Trump must be taught a lesson.

Such efforts demonstrate a particularly rich hypocrisy and blind ignorance of their own condition, for in their lust to rule their own world, modern liberals long ago decided to cast aside the fundamental axioms that comprise absolute truth. For such liberals, the age-old quest for “what is truth” has been abandoned or become a foolish and fruitless exercise where “relativism” rules the day.

This is particularly true for liberals in politics, media, and academia—i.e., those leading the charge in trying to reverse the results of the 2016 U.S. Presidential election. As Ravi Zacharias noted is his column addressing Oxford’s “post-truth” conclusions,
These two bastions of values, the academy and the media—where relativism flows in their veins—have become the town criers of this new word. Castigating the politicians, they untruthfully predicted the destination of the untruthful. Excoriating an electorate gone amuck, they wondered how people could be duped into a lie. Having themselves swallowed a camel, they were now straining at a gnat. They are the primary carriers of manipulation with words and repeating distortions often enough to make them into truths. They are the origin of this reality of caring not for truth but for impact and for the manipulation of all thinking. Their victory is pyrrhic.
Knowing well that those after his boss “are the primary carriers of manipulation with words and repeating distortions often enough to make them into truths,” Rudy Giuliani recently told NBC’s Chuck Todd,
…I am not going to be rushed into having him testify so that he gets trapped into perjury. And when you tell me that, you know, he should testify because he’s going to tell the truth and he shouldn’t worry, well that’s so silly because it’s somebody’s version of the truth. Not the truth.
After this statement, shaking his head, Mr. Todd laughingly concluded that “Truth is truth.” Mr. Giuliani should have asked, “Whose Truth, Chuck?” Nevertheless, and again, understanding well who he’s dealing with, Mr. Giuliani regrettably declared that “Truth isn’t truth.” Knowing they had a meme with which they could skewer President Trump and his supporters, gleeful liberals across the U.S. seized upon Giuliani’s three words and enthusiastically engaged in scurrilous scoffing and merciless mocking. In one of the greatest acts of hypocrisy in human history, it was as if in unison they were declaring, “See, we told you dupes that these guys were fools and liars!”

In spite of their recent crowing about “the truth,” few things in the universe are as blind or ambivalent as the truth detectors employed by today’s left. In other words, modern liberalism is notoriously bankrupt and decidedly lost when it comes to producing or discerning the truth.

If there is anything, there is truth. As Thomas Aquinas put it,
The existence of truth is self-evident. For whoever denies the existence of truth grants that truth does not exist: and, if truth does not exist, then the proposition ‘Truth does not exist’ is true: and if there is anything true, there must be truth.
Such a conclusion is in direct contradiction with modern liberalism. John Dewey, a humanist and one of the founding thinkers behind modern liberalism, put it this way,
There is no God and there is no soul. Hence, there are no needs for the props of traditional religion. With dogma and creed excluded, then immutable truth is also dead and buried. There is no room for fixed, natural law or moral absolutes.
In other words, to admit that there is “immutable truth” is to admit that God exists. Since many want nothing to do with His moral law—especially on matters in the sexual realm—then there can be no truth. Thus, one could say that efforts of modern liberalism could be succinctly summed up as a “war on the truth.”

The consequences of such selfish pursuits have been tragically profound. Virtually every institution that truth-deprived modern liberalism has infected has been corrupted. Whether politics, education, entertainment, corporations, the church, or the family, every significant institution upon which any sound society rests becomes vulnerable to all sorts of nonsense, chaos, and evil once the godless relativism that permeates modern liberalism takes hold.

As we have so often heard, “the truth will set us free.” Sadly, many today have twisted this to mean that “I get to make my own truth so I’m free to do as I please.” No. As Dr. Zacharias reminds us, “True freedom is not the liberty to do as we please; rather, it is to do as we ought. For that we need the truth.”

Just prior to His final act on earth, at one of the most pivotal points in human history, Jesus was asked by Pilate (John 18:37): “What is truth?” Everything precious in the universe hinges on how that question is answered. If we want an honest answer, must look to the One who made the universe and who told us, “I am the truth.”

One of my graduate school mathematics texts—Roads to Geometry—begins with this declaration: “The truth of these axioms [the presuppositions upon which the mathematics is rightfully developed] is not at issue—just the readers’ willingness to accept them as true.” The Bible could end with the same.

(See this column at American Thinker.)

Copyright 2018, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor is the author of the The Miracle and Magnificence of America

Monday, August 20, 2018

The Price of Porn: It’s Probably Higher than You Think

A little over a week ago, someone attempted to blackmail me. On August 12, I received this message in an e-mail:
Hope you do not really mind my english language sentence structure, because i'm from Germany. I infected your system with a trojan and now have all of your private data out of your operating system.

It previously was set up on an adult page then you have selected the video and clicked on it, my program instantly got into your os.

And then, your cam documented you soloing, also i caught a footage that you've seen.

Just after a little while this also pulled out your device contacts. If you ever wish me to clear off your everything i have got - transfer me 450 dollars in bitcoin it is a cryptocurrency. [An account address was given.] 
At this moment you will have 24 hours. to make a decision The minute i will receive the deal i'll get rid of this footage and every little thing entirely. Otherwise, you should remember that your video is going to be submitted to all your contacts.
Though it wasn’t the case in my instance, to heighten the level of threat, sometimes these e-mail scams even contain passwords used by the recipient. This is a new type of scam dreamed up by criminals seeking to prey on those who, because of their immoral behavior, have made themselves vulnerable to such a scheme.

Having never before received such a message, I was taken aback. However, because I knew that I had not done what the accuser had claimed—and because of the bad grammar and other clues—I was never frightened that the threat was real. I suppose a clear conscience is worth at least $450.

Evidently, some have been frightened enough to fork over the money. Business Insider reports that according to analysis of bitcoin wallets, “Some scammers have even made over $50,000 from the blackmail scheme.” To paraphrase Proverbs (28:1), though the threat is empty, the guilty will pay.

The ability to hack into other digital lives, along with the rampant use of online pornography, has made such a scam possible and profitable. As I’ve noted recently (more than once), the plague of porn has resulted in obscene numbers for obscene behavior. Consider:
People watched 4,392,486,580 hours of porn on PornHub in 2015. Just to put that in perspective, that means that in one year, people around the world spent 501,425 years watching pornography—on one porn site. 
On PornHub, people watched 87,849,731,608 porn videos. As the porn site hastened to point out, that’s 12 porn videos viewed for every single person on the planet.
With numbers such as those, it’s little wonder that savvy criminals thought they could dupe more than a few into literally paying for their sin. If one sends out 10,000 threatening emails, the odds are in one’s favor that a large portion of the recipients are indeed porn users. And among the users, there’s probably no small number trying to keep their lurid online life a secret. Almost certainly there are more than a few husbands, wives, politicians, teachers, and even ministers and pastors who would gladly pay $500 to $1,000—maybe more—to keep their porn lives from becoming public knowledge.

At $500 per recipient, with 10,000 emails, the scammers have to have only a one percent “success” rate in order to net $50,000. What’s more, when our conscience is troubled, our thinking is not clear, and we become easy targets for criminals. If we’re sweating whether someone really does know our sin, we often miss clues such as bad grammar, the absence of our name in the email, and so on, that might reveal the scam.

As we’ve become a culture nearly bereft of shame, sadly, many Americans would probably not care if their porn use was publicized. As the previous link reveals, when you concoct a foolish song and dance that hails your “sex junk,” declares that “sexuality’s a spectrum,” and demands that “Sex how you want it; It’s your god*amn right!” are you really going to care if anyone knows of your porn habit?

A few have even become rich and famous because they turned their personal lives into a porno. How many so-called celebrities have become well-known millionaires because a sex tape was “leaked?” How many others will be lured into trying the same, hoping to get similar results? Either way—whether or not earthly fame and fortune are achieved—lives are ruined.

Miriam Weeks—aka Belle Knox—the infamous Duke freshman who decided to pay for college with a career in the porn industry, describes her first scene as a porn star:
“I remember getting naked, and the guy said, ‘You have cuts on your legs. You're a cutter.’ He could tell I had written the word ‘fat’ in my thigh, so he started calling me fat.” Once they called “action,” she was pushed to the ground and slapped. “And I said, ‘Stop, stop, stop. No, no.’ And then they stopped, and they were like, ‘We have to keep going.’” 
“And I was like, ‘Just please don't hit me so hard.’ But it went on like that, me getting hit, pushed, spit on. I was being told I was fat, that I was a terrible feminist, was going to fail all my classes, was stupid, dumb, a slut. But I got through it. You know how you kind of zone out sometimes? I just disassociated.’”
She just “disassociated.” Nevertheless, Miss Weeks went on to complete her brief porn “career” and graduate from Duke—where she majored in, of course, “Women’s Studies” and “Sociology.” She is now—of course—in law school in New York. Is there any doubt she will soon be donning a vagina hat, joining in the #metoo chorus, lamenting the plight of women and telling us to vote for democrats?

One of the great lies of the porn industry, whether for a participant or a consumer, is that one can simply “disassociate” such activity from the rest of one’s life and whenever you like, just leave it behind. It’s a terrible lie. Whether disease, death, or despair, for decades now, porn use has wrought havoc on an addicted American culture. Divorce, sexually transmitted diseases, sexual assault, child sexual abuse (even in the church!), and other wickedness has roots in, or ties to the use of pornography. Thus, whether or not you are duped into paying blackmail, you will pay for your porn use. There is a way out. Confess, repent, and get help from those who know well your plight.

(See this column at American Thinker.)

Copyright 2018, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor is the author of The Miracle and Magnificence of America