How Can They Lie Like That? by S. M. Hutchens


How Can They Lie Like That?

One of the characteristic phenomena of the day is how unsubtle lying has become, how what in another day would be immediately and universally identified as something only a moral imbecile could propose is put forward as truth by educated people and readily published by major organs of communication. Increasing ease of association by electronic means has made it possible for the advocates of perversity, who have always existed among crackpots, sociopaths, and pathological liars, to find one another, band together in various enterprises, make a great deal of noise, and gather a greater following among the ignorant and unreflective than has ever before been possible.

For the individual, the ability to participate willingly in the lying—to depart from a natural state where lie and truth are strongly distinguished by mind and conscience—I perceive as a "seed" phenomenon involving a decision not unlike a religious conversion, an experience, perhaps simple, perhaps complex, on the other side of which a virgin mind has been changed as though penetrated by a dye. Participation in the "sexual revolution" by engagement in non-nuptial sexual relations, in which traditional morality and its far-reaching distinctions between right and wrong, and truth and lie, are overturned at the center of human existence, is probably the principal sacrament of the conversion to mendacity, for it gives the self-justifying participant a vested and ever-ramifying interest in disputing the whole moral edifice of which sexual morality is a vital and iconic part.

There are two changes a self undergoes following this conversion. First, a new and exculpatory morality is invented in the form and likeness of the old. The Lie now at the center of existence is gilded over by good works and good intentions that excuse and preserve it, as fornication may be overlooked in the righteousness of abstaining from meat.

Second, there is an increasingly violent hatred of the insistence of conscience—which cannot entirely be extinguished until humanity is—that there is a dominating evil in the person. Hatred of a corrupted self is commuted to others who persist in speaking with conscience's voice—normally the "religious"—who are consequently attacked and denigrated in every way possible. This accounts for the otherwise inexplicable irrationality and rabidity of hatred against those identified as "haters," but whose hatred consists of nothing more than denying the goodness of perverted life. Existence within the Lie produces a lying existence, which, in accord with its expansive character, becomes bolder when it finds no effective resistance.

—S. M. Hutchens

S. M. Hutchens is a Touchstone senior editor.

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