Western culture has
"an inexorable bias ... Towards a correspondence between inward and outward qualities, between virtue and the reputation for virtue, between honor and that for which honor is supposed to stand. The religion of the Christian knight was eventually going to require him to turn honor into virtue, reputation into reality." (Honor: A History, James Bowman, 2006; page 44).
Trial by fire, trial by combat – these are modes of establishing reality for the public which invoke God's knowledge as being superior to Man’s, and anyone who would deny the rightness of that knowledge, irrespective of what they knew in their own hearts to be the case, was subject to said trials, which they invariably would fail. All those inquisitional methods the medieval Church employed were merely ways of maintaining God's honest truth, irrespective of what people in private or in closed circles knew to be the case. God's honest truth is a derivative of God's honored truth, which truth was proved by conduct and action and not evidence.
This contention between what we know in public versus what we know in private is a fundamental difference between the ancient world and the modern world. In the ancient world honor was the highest metric of value. In ancient Greece immortality was achieved by the persistence of reputation. In the modern world subjective, private reality is overpowering objective, public reality and in the process shamelessness and an indifference to dishonor are defining the public code of acceptable conduct, much to the dismay of most on the right and many in the center.
So the Cheney administration and its adherents and lackeys believe they can shape reality by insisting onto the country what we all know to be not the case, while the Democrats dissemble over what is manifestly true but which cannot correlate with their own, private convictions.
The right is trapped in a system of public deception while the left is trapped in a system of private deception. Both are unstable.
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