There’s lying—and there’s shameless, lying-to-your face deceit, leavened with ego.
Lately we’ve witnessed some high-profile examples of the latter that deserve contemplation.
I have never seen anything quite like the mountain of deranged baloney propagated by Lance Armstrong. For years this man took performance-enhancing drugs and denied doing so. But he went miles beyond simple denial, and at a full sprint. At any accusation of drugging, he rose up in venomous indignation. He swore up and down that he was squeaky clean. He accused, berated, humiliated any who dared speak a word against him—sued them for libel—did everything he could to destroy them. Even though what they said was true.
espn’s Rick Reilly defended the cyclist’s reputation for 14 years based on Armstrong’s insistence of his own innocence. If during an interview Reilly brought up the latest accusation against him, “every time—every single time—he’d push himself up on his elbows and his face would be red and he’d stare at me like I’d just shot his dog and give me some very well-delivered explanation involving a few dozen F words, a painting of the accuser as a wronged employee seeking revenge, and how lawsuits were forthcoming.” He concluded, “And the whole time he was lying. Right in my earpiece. Knowing that I’d hang up and go back out there and spread the fertilizer around some more.”
Watch the footage of his denials and it staggers the mind. It seems impossible that he didn’t believe what he was saying. It is as if he had convinced himself of his own lies. This is like psychopath-level egoism: If I say it’s true, then it’s TRUE! And who are YOU to contradict ME?
I couldn’t help but think about that a couple weeks back when watching footage of the congressional hearings about the Benghazi attack. This is a huge scandal, filled with questions that demand answers. Yet over and over we saw congressmen praising Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her tireless service and dedication, then tiptoeing delicately around the real issues. Finally Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin pressed Clinton on a crucial point: This was clearly a premeditated terrorist strike on America’s consulate—so why did the administration go public with a bogus story about it erupting out of a spontaneous protest over a YouTube video?
“With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans,” the secretary snapped back. “Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night decided to go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, senator.”
What difference? This is the point of the inquiry! There looks to be a serious cover-up. Administration officials lied publicly in order to obscure what really happened, and to push a phony, politically correct narrative. Why? This has yet to be answered. And the secretary gets indignant about being asked about it? As if Senator Johnson was somehow out of line?
The secretary essentially said, Who are YOU to question ME? And the senator backed down. “Thank you, Madam Secretary.”
What about the truth?
This idea that somehow an individual’s personal grandeur supersedes their accountability, or that it entitles them to invent reality, is grotesque.
And it is getting more and more common.
I’m reminded of Attorney General Eric Holder’s testimony in the Fast and Furious scandal, which was slipperier than escargot in grease. In one example, presented with Department of Justice e-mails blatantly discussing PR strategy on the case and repeatedly mentioning “Fast and Furious,” Mr. Holder asserted that the e-mails weren’t actually about Fast and Furious. Pressed on it, he said boldly, “I disagree with your interpretation.” Reality is all a matter of interpretation, you see.
These are all variations on a bizarre theme we saw at the Democratic National Convention last fall. There, in about a three-minute interview with cnn, the chairwoman of the convention unloaded about half a dozen spectacular lies, the most brazen of which contradicted the results of a verbal vote among the delegates that an entire stadium full of people, along with untold numbers on television, had just personally witnessed. She proclaimed what the “interpretation” of reality would be, and that was that.
When he was campaigning for a second term, President Obama told one crowd, “You know where I stand. You know what I believe. You know I tell the truth.” But actually, the wide gap between the president’s words and his record, between his rhetoric and reality, is growing wider by the day.
The Trumpet’s editor in chief quotes that statement in an extremely important article in the newest Trumpet issue. That article, “The Hidden Cause of Society’s Deadly Decline,” reveals an alarming development in world events of which every reader should be profoundly aware. It is the spiritual reality of there being an evil influence that is gaining momentum and power in our world.
This spirit is the father of liars, and there is no truth in him. He hates truth and gleefully casts it to the ground. He is a master deceiver. Lies are his currency and his trade. He distorts, deludes and dissembles with confidence, boldness, arrogance, a sneer of superiority, utterly without compunction, hesitation or remorse.
As Mr. Flurry points out, we are in the time when this being is growing more wrathful and vindictive—and more successful in his conquests—as his time grows short (Revelation 12:12). This is a defining reality of our day.
Thus, it should come as no shock to see the growing commonness of this aggressive, egomaniacal, shameless brand of deceit.