Unwitting Dupes and the Grand Conspiracy
I don’t like to hail empiricism over all else, but it certainly has its place – and a pretty important place at that. After all, it was Jesus who said “You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles?” (Matt 7:16) Now, we generally don’t take on individuals in this blog (though we have in times past), our focus is more that of Christian inference on public policy choices. The biblical principle should still apply to this area too.
As a side note, in the previous verse, it’s clear that Jesus is talking about “false prophets” and wolves in sheep’s clothing. So we’re not talking about open, intentional, evil people (or policies) that in fact turn out to be evil. Instead we’re talking about bad people (or policies) that show themselves as good at first look, and quite possibly consider themselves to be good and their cause right. Let’s consider the obvious cases from political history.
Adolf Hitler painted himself as the savior of the German people after a horrible world war, but he did not hide his hatred of the Jews. In this, he revealed his true nature, but the signs weren’t perceived in a broad enough base of the population to stop him. Vladimir Lenin as well was here to save the poor and oppressed, and yet the philosophy that he espoused indicated an acceptance of massive loss of life in pursuit of its goals. (Lenin ostensibly said “if three-quarters of the human race were destroyed, the important thing is that the remaining one-fourth should be communist,” though this quote may actually have come from one of his generals who later attributed it to him.)
There is this odd contrast here of an intent to do “good” while allowing and ultimately promoting massive destruction of life, especially innocent life. Of course our definitions of good and innocent may not apply – surely Lenin had his own. Interestingly, we always see it coming back to this. There seems to be this grand conspiracy, and the players will tell you what side they’re on, if you just give them time.
I picked this out of a recent story: “Unchecked population growth is speeding climate change damaging life-nurturing ecosystems and dooming many countries to poverty, experts concluded in a conference report released Monday.” That’s right folks, guns don’t kill people, people kill people; perhaps using guns, and perhaps by leaving a huge carbon footprint. Seriously, could this be more transparent? (By the way, these population alarmists have been predicting impending doom for a long time, setting limits on the population the earth can sustain – only to be proven wrong time and again.)
It all boils down the same. Hitler had to kill so many people to save Germany. Leninism had to kill so many to save the oppressed (even if we just change the definition of “the oppressed”). Now some folks are going to have to go to so we can save the planet (hey, maybe if we just bump off the pre-born then nobody will really feel too badly).
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” – John 10:10. “And Jesus said to them, “I ask you, is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to destroy it?” – Luke 6:9. In these scriptures we mean not to draw lines in the sand, merely to indicate that the Bible clearly attaches value to the lives of people. You can rather easily figure out where you stand, or where your political movement really finds its motivation by the value placed on human life.
This brings me to the title. I’ve been accused in the past of being a conspiracy theorist. To be sure, I am. I believe in grand and broad conspiracies, where most of the players are unwitting dupes. There is a war going on. There are those who are for God and those who are against. Quite a few of the latter have no idea that they’ve actually chosen a side in this fight, but they have. They actually intend to do good things (by some definition of good). They want to defend the planet, or the howler monkey, or reproductive freedom. In the end though, they give much of their energies to the wrong side in the fight – cleverly disguised as a sheep.