When men make themselves gods, they make themselves demons.
The last hundred years bear out this assertion. Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and other dictators wielded the power of life and death over millions of people. Those who blessed these tyrants or venerated them had more favorable chances of survival and success. Those who cursed these tyrants or slighted the tyrants’ ideology were prime candidates for the gallows or the gulag.
Though their ideologies differ, in dictatorships like China and Iran, the state retains its godlike powers. In totalitarian North Korea, Kim Jong-un takes this concept to its logical conclusion and paints himself, as did his father, as a living god. Such is the power of the cult of personality.
Unfortunately, the free world sports its own pantheon of gods and goddesses, mortals who deem themselves superior to their fellow human beings. Borne by the winds of wealth, power, and fame and bound by no moral code other than their own, they deliver opinions and edicts as if they were infallible. The consequences of their boundless, blind egotism were abundantly evident during the COVID-19 pandemic when–under the guise of the common good–they forced citizens into masks and into their homes; closed schools, churches, and businesses; and required millions to take a vaccine that didn’t work.
But gods don’t apologize, so these grand pooh-bahs simply moved on to the next great crises. Defying the realities of science and biology, they now seek to abolish the sexes and demand the rest of us do the same. Many of them can’t fix a leaky faucet or change a flat, but they believe they have the power to shape the world’s climate. They see a riot of flames and theft and regally label it a peaceful demonstration. They attack Christianity and Judaism, twisting and appropriating the commandment “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”
Yet many brave men and women have turned their backs to these false gods, recognizing that they are demons in disguise. Here are some of the tactics members of this band of happy warriors employ in keeping their rights, freedoms, dignity, and traditions.
Observation. When a film star or a sports figure decries America as racist, the prudent among us look at friends and neighbors and see no signs of overt racism. In fact, these careful observers conclude that the accusations of America as being deeply racist, sexist, and otherwise evil are just ways to destroy and divide our great nation.
Investigation. With an endless amount of digital information at their fingertips, these citizens can easily perform their own fact-checking. Some of them, for instance, did so during the COVID-19 crisis and found that masks provided little, if any, protection against the virus.
Education. The truth seekers read about the gods of the past who murdered untold millions of their own people. They keep abreast of the news but learn to separate propaganda and fake news from reality. Best of all, perhaps, they read the history and the literature of our Western civilization. More than anything else, those words and books reveal the chicanery of human gods.
A Code. People of all political persuasions frequently attach themselves to an ideology or to the cause of another human being. The wise avoid that temptation. Instead, they develop and live by a personal code based on long-held virtues–ideals like wisdom, courage, and temperance. They take stock of themselves and others by the parameters of that code rather than by the political cause of the day.
God. Even those of us who believe in the reality of God all too often neglect to live out that belief, treating God as a piece rather than the core of our being. To be truly faithful, however, we should put God front and center in our lives, and the importance of the little human gods will consequently diminish. Those who do this understand what G.K. Chesterton meant when he wrote, “Wherever the people do not believe in something beyond the world, they will worship the world.”
The failed, little gods who want to control us often deal in lies. Their deceptions seem always to race ahead of truth, leaving it in the dust, obscure and forgotten. But they have forgotten the timeless Aesopian contest between the tortoise and the hare, a race which the tortoise–in this case the truth and its defenders–always wins.
Image credit: Flickr-A. Davey, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0