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The last absolute

Often it is unsettling to modern men and women, clothed so
fashionably in our assumed sophistication, to come across truth from a
prior age. Such, however, is the nature of great literature. It now
seems unimaginable that I lived three years in England, in a cottage not
twelve miles from Bedford jail, where John Bunyan (1628-1688) was
imprisoned and likely wrote “The Holy War,” as well as his
better-known “Pilgrim’s Progress.” Yet I never once visited the
site. Alas! Youthful indifference.

As I reread Bunyan’s classic this last month, I began to wonder (the
King’s English aside) if I were not reading snippets underlying the
headlines in today’s newspapers. Listen to the giant Diabolis’ war
council as it continues against the town of Mansoul:

In an age too sophisticated to believe in truth, one which
believes instead that all truth is relative and ever shifting, evil has
a tremendous advantage. By staking out a position firmly in its own
camp, evil can and does, through the process of compromise, move an
entire society into its dark home turf. From there it is all downhill:
Soon the unthinkable becomes negotiable; the unimaginable,
contemplatable. The line in the sand washes out with the tide. Confusion
reigns supreme.

Only in such a brave new world could we listen to the nation’s
premier lawmaking body sing its praises to the god of compromise and
bipartisanship, while the media joins in on the chorus. We learn that
the president, now on trial in the United States Senate, charged with
lying under oath and obstructing justice in another citizen’s trial,
then employing the machinery of government to cover up his offenses,
could be found guilty as charged with a first vote, but held in a second
vote fit to remain in office.

In fact, is it not more accurate to say that the United States Senate
is on trial? One hundred senators swore an oath to do impartial justice.
All but the mercenarily blind (the president’s lawyers and others on his
payroll) concede that he is guilty. Yet 45 Democrats want to fulfill
their obligation to vote their oath, if not their conscience (guilty),
yet without effect (we vote a second time to leave him in office)! Ah,
sweet bipartisanship, one can almost hear the voice of Legion as he
prepares to assault the town of Mansoul: one nation under a convicted
felon, an impeached president found guilty as charged, yet begged to
remain in office by his judge and jurors. “We eagerly await the effect
of your many promises, Excellency. Lead us not into temptation, but
instead to that wondrous land of milk and honey that lies beyond evil!”

The American press, long deprived of any ideological diversity, has
rolled out the red carpet for this kind of non-thinking. Most reporters,
if quizzed about their responsibility to readers and viewers, would
argue that they must present both sides fairly. Thus fairytales and
history, events as well as what “should have been,” truth and lies,
murderers and their victims, the sacred and profane; all are portrayed
equally, and as equally valid. After all, in a world devoid of right and
wrong, good and evil; it’s only fair.

Indeed, the most prestigious mouthpieces of American journalism roll
off their lips, night after night, lie after lie from those defending
the president, and fact after fact from those seeking to convict him.
Both they present equally, and thus ends their duty. Presumably, they go
to bed and sleep soundly until their next performance.

The simple fact is, most reporters and the mouthpieces they script
are incapable of thinking beyond the aspirations of a well-fed lapdog.
Dwelling as they do in the valley of the shadow of intellectual death,
not only do they fear no evil, they are blissfully unaware of the
existence of the relativistic system that holds them in its grip, and
beyond which their thoughts, like a solar system slowly circling a
collapsed star that has become a black hole, can never escape.

This is so, for while they claim to defend to the death the principle
of truth’s absolute relativity, yet even this, their only absolute, they
lay finally in sacrifice upon the altar of failed human understanding.