How TIME murdered truth, and framed Trump
March 27, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) - Much of the mainstream media and progressive blogosphere is now past the point of recognizing irony. This week, for example, commentators are crowing with glee at TIME Magazine’s upcoming cover, an all-black background with three words in bold red: “Is Truth Dead?” They are referring, everyone presumes, to Donald Trump’s tendency to play fast and loose with the facts, and then simply ignore follow-up questions that happen to prove he was mistaken.
But the question is a good one, and deserves a less obvious answer.
What many people have already noticed is that this cover is based on the infamous—some say iconic—TIME cover from April 8, 1966. That issue of TIME also featured a black background with three bold red letters: “Is God Dead?”
Of course, once you have declared that God is dead, you have already declared that truth is dead, as well. That obituary just takes a bit longer to write as a prodigal society sputters along on the very last fumes of its Judeo-Christian heritage. Go onto any university campus and debate an issue like abortion, and you will meet hundreds of students—many of them in departments like philosophy—who say there is no such thing as truth. The vast majority of millennials now believe that each person can define reality for his or herself.
I had to chuckle painfully when I saw TIME’s dramatic “truth” cover for this week, because the lack of awareness was so overt it was almost appalling. Just the previous week, TIME’s cover announced something much different: “Beyond He or She: How a new generation is redefining the meaning of gender.” In describing her cover story, Katy Steinmetz noted that American culture is currently undergoing a “sea change:”
In a new survey from LGBTQ advocacy organization GLAAD, conducted by Harris Poll, those open minds are reflected in the numbers: 20% of millennials say they are something other that strictly straight and cisgender, compared to 7% of boomers. The people in that group may be a little sexually curious about people of their own gender or may reject the notion that they have a gender in the first place.
"There have been the generations that have lived by the rules and those generations that break the rules," says GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. Young people today, she says, are "redefining everything."
TIME interviewed dozens of people around the U.S. about their attitudes toward sexuality and gender, from San Francisco to small-town Missouri. Many said they believe that both sexuality and gender are less like a toggle between this-or-that and more like a spectrum that allows for many — even endless — permutations of identity. Some of those young people identified as straight, others as gay, still others as genderqueer, gender fluid, asexual, gender nonconforming and queer. Several said they use the pronoun they rather than he or she to refer to themselves.
This variety of identities is something that people are seeing reflected in the culture at large. Facebook, with its 1 billion users, has about 60 options for users' gender. Dating app Tinder has about 40. Influential celebrities, such as Miley Cyrus (who spoke to TIME for this article), have come out as everything from flexible in their gender to sexually fluid to "mostly straight."
Of course truth is dead. Our culture killed it, long before Donald Trump showed up. He is the symptom, not the problem. TIME Magazine had quite a hand in this, as their 2014 cover story “The Transgender Tipping Point” was itself considered to be the tipping point by many trans activists—they had won the cover of TIME, after all. They had broken into the mainstream. The media, in this case TIME Magazine, is doing what it always does: It champions some new and often bizarre progressive cause, and then reports on that cause as it gains ground as a result of the attention it received from the media.
We now reject every constraint on our own so-called right to radical self-determination, even if those constraints are biology and reality. That is why a full-grown man can decide to leave his family and live as a six-year-old girl, and the media coverage of this is largely subdued and respectful. That is why there is a new group of human beings who identify as non-human beings—rather, they are “Otherkin,” people who identify as certain animals. This is treated with long-faced solemnity by our cultural elites, because truth is dead and people can be whatever they want, even if they are obviously not what or who they say they are.
For those who are baffled by each new absurdity, there is an extensive arsenal of labels awaiting them. Homophobe. Transphobe…Otherkinphobe? And so it goes.
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As far as our culture is concerned, God is dead, and so is truth. An institution no less respected than TIME Magazine announced their respective departures from the culture. But I can’t help but think of the origin of the phrase “God is dead.” It came from the nihilist philosopher Friedrich Nietszche, in his parable “The Madman,” where he wondered with appropriate panic, where morality would come from once God left.
“Have you not heard of that madman who lit a lantern in the bright morning hours, ran to the market place,” he asked plaintively, “and cried incessantly: ‘I seek God! I seek God!’ — As many of those who did not believe in God were standing around just then, he provoked much laughter. Has he got lost? asked one. Did he lose his way like a child? asked another. Or is he hiding? Is he afraid of us? Has he gone on a voyage? emigrated? — Thus they yelled and laughed.”
The madman jumped into their midst and pierced them with his eyes. “Whither is God?” he cried; “I will tell you. We have killed him — you and I. All of us are his murderers. But how did we do this? How could we drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the entire horizon? What were we doing when we unchained this earth from its sun? Whither is it moving now? Whither are we moving? Away from all suns? Are we not plunging continually? Backward, sideward, forward, in all directions? Is there still any up or down? Are we not straying, as through an infinite nothing? Do we not feel the breath of empty space? Has it not become colder? Is not night continually closing in on us? Do we not need to light lanterns in the morning? Do we hear nothing as yet of the noise of the gravediggers who are burying God? Do we smell nothing as yet of the divine decomposition? Gods, too, decompose. God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him.
“How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it? There has never been a greater deed; and whoever is born after us — for the sake of this deed he will belong to a higher history than all history hitherto.”
Here the madman fell silent and looked again at his listeners; and they, too, were silent and stared at him in astonishment. At last he threw his lantern on the ground, and it broke into pieces and went out. “I have come too early,” he said then; “my time is not yet. This tremendous event is still on its way, still wandering; it has not yet reached the ears of men. Lightning and thunder require time; the light of the stars requires time; deeds, though done, still require time to be seen and heard. This deed is still more distant from them than most distant stars — and yet they have done it themselves.”
Indeed we have.
Our culture is no longer self-aware enough to recognize humans who claim they are not human as fundamentally disturbed, and men who claim to be women and women who claim to be men as suffering from some delusion deserving of treatment rather than celebratory front page stories in iconic news magazines. TIME Magazine can mourn the loss of truth merely a week after they have championed its departure, and almost nobody will notice.
This insanity will not end well. It is worth mentioning that Nietzsche himself, one of the key philosophers who laid the intellectual groundwork for Christianity’s ejection for the public square, eventually went insane himself. Which, when you think about it, is the most logical result of the philosophy he put forward.
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