Wednesday, October 8, 2014
The Modern Day Plague of Corrupt Communication
There's a lot to be said for the lessons and morals founded in Christianity. The other day, I was reminded of a passage from one of Paul's letters where he cautions Christians against "corrupt communication." In a world where corrupt communication is now called Standard American English, we could do worse for ourselves and to further to cause of conservatism than to take care in some of the things we say.
Here are just a few ideas that followed from thinking about corrupt communication:
Living with presidents and congressmen who have no concept of truth, it is more important than ever to build our foundations of speech on truth, instead of on lies. Calling people out on lying must transcend party and politics. Liberals cannot take the moral high ground by calling G.W. Bush a liar, while ignoring the whoppers told by Barack "You Can Keep Your Doctor" Obama, or Nancy "If You Like What You Have You Can Keep It" Pelosi.
When Johnson and Nixon got caught in their web of lies, they had the good graces to step down from their perches of power. Contrast that with the current administration, led by President "The War On Terror Is Over" Obama, who lie, then blame everyone else for the lie.
Lying leads to even more corrupt communication.
We now live in a world where blame and fault lies with everyone else, except for the perpetrator. When the ISIS Crisis (you can quote me on that one) erupted, Obama blamed the Intelligence community. The community, in turn, blamed Obama. Obama is a master of blame throwing and ducking responsibility when the world crashes around him. A lot of folks called Ronald Reagan the Teflon president for his ability to have blame slide off him. Obama is the Teflon president with a force field because he has been so successful at blaming others for his poor leadership.
Blame throwing eats away at individuals and, bit-by-bit, corrupts our society. Students come to me nearly every day who whine and blame everything but themselves for their poor grades. I've witnessed close relatives who have destroyed their marriages because they refused to take responsibility for their own actions. We suffer a plague of blame throwing.
Closely related to blaming, is criticizing. Obviously, I spend a lot of time criticizing the left and liberal dogmas. I admit it's not the best way to communicate, but I justify it by trying to ensure that the things I communicate are the truth and are used to illustrate the absurdities of modern liberal thought.
Yet, I struggle with this very principle since criticism and friction are part and parcel of political life. I continually ask myself the question: "Where is the line with standing up for what I know to be right, and criticizing those dogmas and institutions that chip away at the foundations of truth, justice, and the American way?" I don't have a perfect answer to that one yet.
Personal relations, at the least, should avoid criticism, which turns trust to distrust, love to hatred, and support to debasement. Again, I recall too many examples of friends and relatives who have destroyed their marriages and families because of criticism.
The other day, I pointed out a comment someone had left on my blog. It was filled with obscenities, and ugly language. My father taught me that swearing was a sign of ignorance, and I have survived all these years without having to resort to using such language (very much).
Obscenity isn't unique to the right or to the left, but seems to pervade all speech everywhere. It is the lingua franca of the military. It is the first resort language of liberal arguments. Yet, its use debases and degrades language, obscuring meaning, blaspheming, and causing friction.
The art of civil discourse seems to have taken a back burner in the present day. The political divide tends to heat up language and to encourage corrupt communication. We have also lost a lot of civility by giving up the ideals of our religious foundations which used to read and understand the wisdom of someone like Paul. His advice, to caution against corrupt communication, is still a very good idea.