Friday, January 18, 2013

The declining value of truth and justice

You've probably heard about the bizarre Mantai Te'o story in which his girlfriend was a hoax. You've probably also heard that after years of strongly denying cheating and suing people who said he was lying, Lance Armstrong admitted that he was cheating and lying. You might have heard about how the baseball hall of fame didn't vote in anyone this year despite the fact that Barry Bonds and Rodger Clemens are two of the best players ever. They weren't voted in because they are expected of cheating and lying about it.

Those are all stories that really don't mean a whole lot in and of themselves. In the end they are just about sports, except for Armstrong suing people. He needs to compensate those people. But I think those stories demonstrate a larger tendency in our country, which is the declining value of truth and consequences it that arise from it. Those sports stories are pretty straightforward in why the truth was ignored. They all wanted fame and fortune. And the consequences of not telling the truth have been relatively mild, while the liars have prospered greatly. They are all rich, or in Te'o's case, will be.

The more troubling cases of either lying or ignoring the truth have been in large supply lately. Staying on campus, the Notre Dame angle of the Te'o story was the most important to me. The Notre Dame athletic direct cried on tv while talking about the story and the school hired a private investigator to find the truth. But last year, a girl named Lizzy Seeberg accused a Notre Dame football player of rape. That same athletic director didn't hire a private investigator to find out the truth. Nor did he go on tv and cry when Seeberg committed suicide after being harassed by football players to stop making the allegations she was making. Notre Dame hardly seems alone in not trying to find out the truth in regard to rape on campus, which Jessica Valenti documents here.

Zero Dark Thirty is still the hot movie right now. Just the other day Jon Stewart interviewed the main actor, fawning over her and the movie. The movie depicts how we tortured people. We know this happened in part because people within the CIA and other organizations spoke out in protest. Because of Obama wanting to "look forward", none of those people who broke the law have been prosecuted. But one of the persons who leaked info about actions that are against the law is being prosecuted. And as I've said before about that film, they were given special access to info about the hunt for bin Laden. Yet we as the American public can't be trusted with all of the facts. The truth isn't for us.

I could go on and on, with stories like the bank in England that laundered money for drug cartels and "terrorists". The bank explicitly broke the law. No one argues they didn't. But no one is being prosecuted because the bank is too big. Stop me if you've heard that excuse before. In relation to America's too big to fail problem, you probably haven't heard that TARP, the bill that gave money to the banks so that they didn't collapse, was supposed to dole out about $45 billion dollars in order to help under water homeowners and thus help stabilize the housing industry. This was a big reason Democrats in the Senate voted for TARP. But that money was never spent. Meanwhile millions continue to suffer in a bad economy and the banks are rolling along without suffering any consequences whatsoever.

A society that places a high value on truth and justice does not allow these things to happen without consequences. Only a sick and depraved culture like the one in college football allows for such things like what happened at Notre Dame and Penn State. Only a culture of incredible greed and corruption allows itself to make outrageous and fraudulent bets that nearly collapse the world economy. And only a gov't that is represented by people who are supported by those cultures allow their illegal and immoral transgressions to go unpunished.

Frankly, it's kind of scary if you aren't part of these cultures, an athlete on a college campus or a wealthy person. Because if you're not part of those cultures you are subject to the full extent of the law. And as a result you are subject to much harsher punishment for committing much less serious crimes. For us, the truth isn't enough. For the elites in our country, the truth is nothing. (This post is a win just because I was able to squeeze that The Dark Knight quote in at the end)

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