By David Hegg
Well, it has begun! Once again, the race for the White House is on, and we’re about to be deluged with schlock. That is, the incessant flood of sound bites, exaggerated accomplishments, grandiose promises, and even some good ol’ fashioned lyin’ and name-callin’. And at the core of the debates, advertisements, endorsements and the overall propaganda that is the stock and trade of political operatives and consultants will be an emphasis on this thing we call leadership.
The national political game seems to cycle through the same set of plays as the two political camps go on both offense and defense in their attempt to paint their opponents as simpletons, whose ideas are absurd and whose victory would surely bring our nation to utter ruin.
But, as the political faucets continue their constant dripping – to mix my metaphors! – there will be one constant declaration: America needs strong, decisive and wise leadership now more than ever! Apparently, leadership is what we need, and just as apparently, neither side believes the other can provide it. But my concern is that we may not actually know what it is, and where it is needed most.
Here’s my 2 cents: Leadership is influence. Leadership is influence that inspires, and motivates others to do what is right, what is best, and what will actually work toward the common good. There are many other details to leadership, but without this one you don’t have it. Primarily leadership is about bringing people together, maximizing their knowledge, and mobilizing their talents and abilities in order to move some mountains and change the world.
But therein lies the problem. What do we want to change? And how do we want to change it? Right now our society is in the middle of the greatest swerve away from objective truth and reality that human history has ever known. The new “truth” that “all truth is subjective and flexible” is, in itself, self-refuting. On its own face, the previous sentence must itself be rejected since its proposition, if true, can’t be true. Argh!
Because we have front-row seats on the dissolution of truth, we must go further than ask for leadership. We must require leaders who are not afraid to believe in, hold to, practice, and champion the most basic element in the reality of meaning, and that is the correspondence theory of truth. That is, something is true to the degree that it aligns with reality.
For example. If 2 + 3 = 5, then it is a true statement. If I tell you 2 + 3 = 9, it is false because it does not correspond to reality. This theory of what makes truth true isn’t a philosophical mind game. It is childishly simple. It is the foundation upon which the structure of natural law and good old common sense are built, and a necessity for any society to long endure.
So, while I agree that everything stands or falls on leadership, and that our society is experiencing a severe drought in great leadership, I want to suggest that the leadership we need starts with the strength of personal integrity that isn’t afraid to say the emperor has no clothes. We need men and women who are not afraid to take on the extremely angry, loud and overly confident minority that are taking truth off the table so that they can dress their absurdity in the costumes of progress. It is not progress to assassinate logic, natural law and objective truth for the purpose of personal gain or perversion.
And not only will redefining truth not stand the test of time, those who are championing the new “truth” are not mobilizing society to work together for the common good. Rather, the dismantling of objective truth is dividing our nation on levels not seen since the Civil War. Folks are actually talking about a national divorce. What?
My hope is that our nation will rise up and say truth exists, and it must prevail. Let’s first make sure our homes are laboratories of truth, and our lives are not duped by the false statements of those attempting to “de-truth” ourselves and our kids. And then, let’s find, support, and elect men and women who love the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth … so help us God!
Local resident David Hegg is senior pastor of Grace Baptist Church. “Ethically Speaking” appears Sundays.