We used to use terms like “phony,” “fraud” and “con artist” to describe people who pretended to be something they weren’t.
How times have changed.
Who knew liars and charlatans like Rachel Dolezal, a white who, as the entire world now knows, self-identifies as black, would be applauded as brave and virtuous? Evidently she will starin her own “reality” show.
The truth is that people like Dolezal get away with fraud because a powerful minority of left-leaning Americans believes in and assiduously promotes self- divinization as advocated by Karl Marx, among others. Marx wrote about the necessity of revolt against the idea that human beings are created by and dependent on God:
“Philosophy makes no secret of it. The confession of Prometheus, ‘In a word, I hate all the gods,’ is its own confession, its own verdict against all gods heavenly and earthly who do not acknowledge human self-consciousness as the supreme deity. There shall be none beside it.”
To unpack Marx a bit, we are now seeing people like Dolezal -- and her tribe is increasing daily -- are the damaged fruit grown from the root belief that human beings have an godlike, innate capacity to decide who or what they are regardless of empirical reality verifiable by observation or experience. The belief in the infallibility of “human self-consciousness” is spreading like the proverbial wildfire.
Thus, mantras suffice to overrule rational dialogue: “You can be anything you want to be;” or, “I was destined for this;” or, “My true identity is female despite the fact I was born male.” “I identify as black, although born white.”
To put it another way, “I am a god.”
The concept of an inner genius that imbued the individual or a governing class with divine powers was present in ancient Rome -- and long before that.
The paterfamilias, head of the Roman household, expected his family to honor his genius, genius being a spiritual double granting divine authority. But as the emperor Augustus was to supernaturally, yet very conveniently and pragmatically discern, his genius was worthy not just of familial honor, but also of public veneration and worship. Augustus’ establishment of what amounted to emperor worship was a basis for the later idea of the divine rights of kings. The inner genius of the emperor was intuitive, but considered infallible and therefore irrefutable. It also meant there could be no rival gods. Hence the severe persecution of Christians throughout almost the entirety of the time Roman emperors demanded worship as gods. Hence the persecution of Christians in America who resist the divinely ordained decrees of the almighty State that demand their faith and beliefs must give way to a new transformative order intuited by the governing gods.
We mere everyday humans must bow down and worship the deities among us. We must change human discourse to reflect the belief system of those with unique divine rights. The new linguistic framework is to become a new and universal liturgy spoken and written by all of humanity. The new liturgy must be recited lest the gods are offended. No questions are to be asked, no doubts expressed. Old ways of thinking must be eliminated.
The new gods are also determined to put to death the law as Western civilization has previously known it. The elevation of intuition to infallibility means that any outside objective measure of perversion or corruption is instantaneously invalidated. The new beings now must have absolute authority over the law. The individual genius reigns supreme and is more authoritative than any ecclesiastical or secular authority; and in fact has the inherent right to modify, and ultimately to crush any institution that stands in its way, be it the Church, educational institutions, or institutions of the law.
If Christians and others who believe human beings owe their existence to and dependence on God value their own and others’ freedoms, they cannot allow the new gods to assert authority over them. Today’s Christians, like those those of the Roman Empire, know they cannot give other gods, including those in human form, the unconditional allegiance they owe only to God himself, the God of truth.
For as Lewis knew, once humans become gods, “…they become demons. Then they will destroy us, and also destroy themselves. For natural loves, [including love of one’s self] that are allowed to become gods do not remain loves. They are still called so, but can become in fact complicated forms of hatred.” [Italics mine.]
It is up to the Church, which in this day is failing miserably at the core mission of discerning and proclaiming truth, to answer that question, “What is Truth?” by confronting, as it always must, the false and mendacious spirits of our age. Those untruthful spirits will vary in form from generation to generation, but ultimately, all their controversies will center on Pilate’s question to Jesus, who proclaimed his divine self to be the very embodiment of Truth, “What is truth?”
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras made a new offer on a reforms package to foreign creditors on Sunday, signaling 11th-hour concessions to break a deadlock that has pushed Greece to the brink of bankruptcy.
After months of wrangling and with anxious depositors pulling billions of euros out of Greek banks, Tsipras's leftist government showed a new willingness this weekend to make concessions that would unlock frozen aid to avert default.
French President Francois Hollande, on a visit to Milan, confirmed Greece had offered new proposals although EU diplomats said no formal written proposal had arrived.
It was not immediately clear how far the new proposal yielded to creditors' demands for additional spending cuts and tax hikes, but the offer was a ray of hope that a last-minute deal may yet be wrangled before Athens runs out of cash.
A day before emergency meetings including a summit of euro zone leaders in Brussels, Tsipras was holed up in a marathon cabinet meeting and discussed the new offer with the leaders of Germany, France and the European Commission by phone.
"The prime minister presented the three leaders Greece's proposal for a mutually beneficial agreement that will give a definitive solution and not a postponement of addressing the problem," a statement from Tsipras's office said.
He is due to meet the Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi and IMF head Christine Lagarde on Monday morning before the meetings with euro zone leaders in the early afternoon.
Elected on a pledge to end austerity, Tsipras has defiantly resisted demands to cut pension spending and is pushing strongly for debt relief in return for any concessions.
But Greek officials have said Athens may be willing to consider raising value-added-taxes or other levies to appease the lenders, who want concrete assurances that demanding budget targets will be met.
"There is no time to lose. Every day counts. Talks and negotiations must continue so that an agreement is reached," Hollande told a joint news conference with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.
Fast-Track, or Trade Promotion Authority, will receive a final cloture vote in the Senate on Tuesday morning. This is the bill that passed the House. If cloture is invoked, the bill will pass the Senate and go to the President’s desk.
It has become increasingly clear that the President’s Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is far more than a trade deal. It forms an enduring, self-governing political entity with vast regulatory power. Yet fast-track – which has led without fail to the adoption of every covered agreement since its inception – would rush it through with less legislative scrutiny than a Post Office reform bill.
Second chances do not come often. We now have new information and a new vote. Which means the Senate has a second chance to slow down and demand answers about the President’s plans before agreeing to fast-track their adoption.
And the TPP is only the first agreement that would be fast-tracked. Not fully understood at the time of the prior Senate vote is that there are already three international pacts that would be put on a fast-track to adoption. In addition to the TPP are the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA). Together they encompass three-fourths of the world economy, and up to ninety percent of the world economy when including countries whose membership is being courted. The same individuals encouraging us to leap into these binding global commitments could not even come close to predicting the outcome of our standalone agreement with South Korea which, contrary to promises, nearly doubled the trading deficit between our country and theirs.
The texts of TTIP and TiSA remain completely secret –unreviewable by lawmakers themselves – yet fast-track would authorize the Executive to sign them before Congress votes. Then the President would send Congress legislation to change U.S. law to comport with these new agreements, legislation which cannot be amended, which Senators cannot filibuster, cannot receive a two-thirds treaty vote, and cannot be debated for more than 20 hours. Again: no fast-tracked deal has ever been blocked.
…we will insist on a robust, fully enforceable environment chapter in the TPP or we will not come to agreement…our proposals would enhance international cooperation and create new opportunities for public participation in environmental governance and enforcement…the United States reiterated our bedrock position on enforceability of the entire environment chapter…
The more vast, the more grand, the more ambitious the design the more important it is to slow down – not to grease the skids. Congress must retain its powers of amendment and review, as well as its treaty powers, for agreements that clearly extend far beyond trade. And Congress must protect the power of the individual citizen to control those who would seek to control them.