Hypocrisy, Government & the Media

2 12 2008

Every now and then I hear the challenge, “Christians are all hypocrites!” When I hear that I agree but suggest that, “us hypocrites have got to stick together.” This tends to raise an eyebrow and a question as to what I mean. What I mean, very simply, is that we are all hypocrites. The word, I understand, originally was used in Greek of play actors. If you were an actor, you were a ‘hypocrite’. Today it has taken on a moral tone though and so people tend to get upset if I suggest they are hypocrites. The denial of hypocrisy is failure to know yourself. We all act, we all put on a face, we all pretend. My concern though, is that in modern life, it seems that certain groups have take hypocrisy to an art form!

As I have read my paper this morning, it seems like the piranhas of the media are thrashing around in the water seeking to devour various stories and those involved in them. Of course the media machine, being what it is today, comes down on every side, taking sides with all players at some point, after all print pages have to be filled, and anyway who is right? The main story I have in mind, here at least, is in respect of the report that came out yesterday, about the failures (apparently) of Haringey Social Services, but there are various other stories about which we could make similar comments.

It seems to me that, as I have commented on this blog recently, truth is in short supply and so the players – who, in this case, appear to be the Government and the media – skirt around the truth, or perhaps if I were being generous, struggle to find the truth, but to no avail.

For the sake of space, as I said above, I’ll only consider the Social Services story. The report and the government and now the media are firing all guns at the Social Services’ workers who, it is being said, failed to protect baby P. For years I and others like me, have been crying out like lone voices in the wilderness about the social breakdown within our society. Slowly the truth of this is getting some acknowledgement. What is not being acknowledged (because it condemns the great liberal experiment of the last thirty years) is the scale of the breakdown.

A while back I had cause to stand alongside someone who was having family difficulties (understatement) and she herself involved Social Services. For a number of months I sat in with her on meetings with social workers, often very large meetings. What became patently obvious was that Social Services did not have answers for her situation. Initially I found myself totally frustrated at this but the more I considered the situation, the more I realised they were totally out of their depth and many of them were nearing exhaustion or breakdown themselves. The job and the scale of social breakdown is just too much for them. The government has not understood the scale and so the money is not there to hire double the number of workers, but perhaps even then they might not have answers, simply help.

So that is one aspect of the hypocrisy that surrounds the problems surrounding baby P and thousands of others (so the media say) like this child, the pretence that the problem is not as great as the wilderness prophets say it is, and the pretence that declares, “We can handle it!” I don’t think so!

But there is another aspect of unreality that is being studiously ignored in all of this. The fact is that there are parents and those associated with parents who are being thoroughly evil (and any adult who tortures or maims children is evil), and I hear few denunciations of these people. Yes, they are arrested, charged and imprisoned in some cases, but I don’t hear such a hue and cry that would make such behaviour untenable. The focus seems to be on the band-aid appliers, social workers, not on those who are causing the harm. Why are we still living in this cloud cuckoo land that naïve atheistic humanists warble on about, that thinks people are nice and with a bit more education, a bit more effort, or a bit more money, it will be all right?

I have been reminded recently of law classes I used to take at college. When I asked these students between the ages of eighteen and their mid-twenties why we need laws, they said, “to protect the weak and vulnerable, because people are not nice.” They said the same thing year in, year out, while I taught that course. They knew the truth. Why doesn’t modern society?
Now I make these comments in the light of a newsletter I received during the week that made comment on the writings of Dr. Francis Schaeffer, Christian philosopher and pastor, back in 1976. Here is an extract from that newsletter:

The final chapter of Francis Schaeffer’s seminal ‘How Should We Then Live?’ (1976) opens with these words: “Overwhelming pressures are being brought to bear on people who have no absolutes…(and whose only values are) the impoverished values of personal peace and affluence. The pressures are progressively preparing modern people to accept a manipulative, authoritarian government. Unhappily, many of these pressures are upon us now.”

Whereupon he lists five ‘trigger points’ which in his view herald the demise of freedom within the democratic West. The first is ‘Economic Breakdown’.At a certain point” he says, “economic disaster seems all too possible” All this, note, from 1976!

It seems uncannily familiar. Some anticipated the financial ‘Crash’ but Schaeffer’s prediction came much earlier, nearly forty years in fact. And it was of a different order entirely. What he saw was that ‘the orgy of (economic) greed and irresponsibility’, as someone put it, goes deeper than mere financial stupidity. The very tap-root of western economic stability and success was cut when the culture turned from its Christian moorings. Convictions about Truth and absolute moral accountability were part of the social fabric that made political and economic freedom possible in the first place. Sever them and what’s left?”

The point being made in that letter, and which has been made on these pages over the months, is that take away your foundation (God) for moral absolutes and you are left with ‘anything goes’. The article was making the point that the economics upheavals we have recently been going through, and are presently struggling with, actually have their roots in the removal of standards. An examination of the activities of so many in the financial markets over the past ten years, merely confirms that.

But it goes way beyond economic breakdown; it goes to the very heart of society. Yes, there have always been abuses and there have always been wrongs and there have always been evil men and women, but when you remove the foundations, the floodgates are unleashed, law is undermined and authority to say, “This is wrong!” is removed.

That is the society that we have created today, and that, ultimately, is the under-girding cause of the social breakdown that our social workers are struggling with. Part of the tragedy is the blindness that guilt imposes. We will look to any other reason than the basic and fundamental one. To acknowledge failure, to acknowledge rejection of God and the removal of any stable foundation for morality and standards, seems abhorrent to those who have pinned their hopes on the godless liberal experiment. How long will it be before we will face its failure?

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One response

29 05 2010
Theodore Ogden

If only more than 68 people could hear about this.

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