HONESTY, SINCERITY and DUPLICITY
Among the many virtues of the New Testament, the Christian addition to the prior Jewish Hebrew testament of the of the Books of Moses, and well known prophets from ancient time, now for most gentiles in very high esteem is Saint Paul, previously the Jew, Saul, who had a revelation on his way to persecute the nascent dissenting Jewish sect which was insisting that the recent death of Jesus was an abomination. That Jesus was God’s only son sent to earth to curb the growing unrest in the land, and while the Mosaic Code pursuing the Golden Rule of “Do Unto Others as they should Do Unto You” is splendid in itself, Jesus was the true messiah, not only a mere rabbi. But God’s only true son. Among the many Pauline memorable exhortations and virtuous speeches supporting this was the famous section in First Corinthians of the of the New Testament is……
When I was a child I spoke as a child ….understood as a child. Now when I became a man I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass darkly but then face to face; Now I know in part; but then I will know even as I am known.
……(That) now abideth faith, hope, and charity; but the greatest of these is charity. And charity has overwhelmingly always been understood as love.
We have gained much social and economic achievement in personal relations and communally, in both the Jewish and Gentile human conduct creeds, but there are still many times when human conduct seems dubious indeed. Total war casualties in both World Wars ---1914/1918 and1940/45—amounted to well over 200 million. Statistics relating to all the civilian mortality due to these disastrous wars were also most deplorable. And yet here we are today with over six billion mortal souls on planet Earth, with many living well beyond their economically productive years; in the so called “golden years” of retirement. But also a classic case of the that dubious slogan ----be careful of what you pray for, because you just may get it! That is, some or perhaps many, of these golden retirement pension plans are becoming unfunded, as interest rates keep shrinking below projected long term estimates. And to many retirees Indeed, today we must rephrase and rethink some of our essential terminology and realistic future financial aspirations. To live with some degree of the average affluent millionaire, one needs about ten million per year; and perhaps more, as we go up the financial ladder, and the poorer striving merely less affluent part of the middle class have to take extra vacation time to keep their necessary place with their comparable “competing” neighbors. A situation we once satirized as “keeping up with the Joneses” And thus be able to casually name drop and impress some of these pretentious sites to friends and neighbors. Machu Picchue, or the Leaning Tower of Pisa, any one, or the great Taj Mahal in India?
That’s where the small but durable duplicity role fits insidiously into place, with the small but durable credit card, even eagerly replaced if lost or stolen! It is duplicitous because it is based on the unique contradiction that we can spend and borrow our way onward and upward and still finance our increasing debt burden without inducing large inflationary pressures. Some vague, perpetual motion technologic miracle process that will be less costly and even more “green”. Not strangling planet earth with its noxious wastes, as atomic energy threatens to do. But we are still confronted with the almost lethal contradiction that most of the time it is a Ponzi scheme, where money is recirculated from each person to succeeding investors-- a la Bernie Madoff lately—with some fictitious profit, until, as new funds dwindle, it is discovered that nothing or very little was produced, and only that the duped new investor’s money was being used to give prior investors their share of the so called “profits”, until at the unhappy ending was some form of bankruptcy as the only real assets left were in foreign banks with non extradition clauses in their trading practices with the United States. (Madoff, fortunately, was caught due to his own egoistic behind the scenes bragging about his “cuckolding” of many sophisticated people, who were impatient to invest with “friend Bernie”, whose fraudulent balance sheets always showed impressive returns. Madoff, most deservedly, is languishing in prison lifetime; but most probably in very acceptable penal quarters. But 2 years after his father’s arrest and conviction, Madoff’s eldest son, Mark Madoff, committed suicide in his office. But a sense of “respect” for duplicity still lingers high up in the judiciary, for Madoff’s wife, Ruth, was allowed two and half million in the approximately 80 million dollars her husband swindled from other gullible investors.
Politics in general,
with our great emphasis on free speech, allows—or even encourages ---- a candidate to make extravagant, sweeping claims to his most devoted followers, and then has a less demanding posture to moderate groups he hopes to draw in. Some duplicity is accepted on both sides ---voter, and candidate. And perhaps the press, too, if they want to remain neutral. And accept the mostly healthy dogma of free and unfettered speech, that the defeated candidate may remember doggedly with some bitterness after the election, of duplicitous “broken promises”. In reality and except in emergency dilemmas is there true unanimity. We debate and disagree and “make haste slowly.” But generally some compromise and balance is achieved. We admirers of this middle of the road approach call this “enlightened self interest” or more negatively, perhaps, “you scatch my back and I’ll scratch yours”. Hitler, in prison in 1924, wrote derisively about the Jews and his plans for Geman conquest. And now the Iranian president Ahmadinajad openly calls for the destruction of Israel and Iranian middle eastern control. More back scratching or selective atomic bombs, with women and children carefully excluded, of course!
Duplicity and spying go together very often. A most famous case was the Alger Hiss story, an important official in the State Department after World War II, convicted of passing classified information to the Soviets, which he vehemently denied, and many people believed him. Hiss served prison time ---five years. Eventually certain Russian records became available which backed up Whitaker Chambers story about the Hiss spying. Chambers was a confessed spy given clemency for his own treasonous behavior, for his full cooperation with House UnAmerican Activites Committee (HUAC). His story involves the so called “Pumpkin Papers” a method of secret delivery of spy information; a delightful bit of the light side of our burgeoning folk lore. But not good for Hiss!
But the dense, darker side soon took over again. Mainly with Wisconsin Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy, from 1947 to 1957. Most of us have perhaps only dim memories of the Cold War with the Soviet Union and how “McCarthyism” became a fearful psychotic disease denoting too much Communist support, even unto more pro Soviet spying because of increasing left leaning sympathy. McCarthy was able to solidify his base by blatantly claiming that many of his political foes were weakening our military strength by leaking crucial information. Also he many lists of prominent actors, writers, and politicians who were “too left leaning”. And some were black listed, especially some notable Hollywood screen writers. With absolutely no concrete, credible evidence other than gossip.
,Thus forcing the U.S. Army to hire lawyer Joseph Welch to defend against McCarthy’s obtuse and irrelevant questions about disloyalty in the armed forces. Welch’s cry from the heart “Senator, have you no sense of decency? You’ve done enough. You’ve already done enough…..”. This began the beginning of retreat of the viciousness of McCarthyism. President Eisenhower, too, joined in with not so private remarks about McCarthy’s almost inquisition like hostility.
Among other very significant duplicities was Nixon making a state visit to China after his violent anti communist rhetoric all his political life. This, of course, was a positive event, perhaps making this billion person horde of people more comfortable with the rest of humanity. Offsetting this, however the firm denial that he never was involved in the Watergate burglary attempt, a blatant lie before congress, for which he became the only president ever forced to resign his high office. Duplicity is really an inextricable essence in the vital web of life. We go on, somehow, with as much honesty and sincerity as possible, aware of our various duplicities. But hope still springs eternally, and all those hindering duplicities are grist for our aspiring, persistent, moral path upward. An eternal verity is that nothing good comes easily, so bring on your duplicities, and with some effort we will overcome and transcend them!
The agony of birth causes much suffering, although mortal existence has many attractions to defuse the underlying still problematic surrounding existential, lifetime space. But soothing comfort is afforded at feeding time at mother’s breast. Then there is television, preschool school, scholastic endeavor, parental guidance or not so benign neglect, all if reasonably survived, even if enriching, leaves one at the end with the unhappy payoff of an empty vacuum of purpose with only the exasperating goal of a pain free demise after an insipid, dull end of what was once a challenging lifetime.
Our economy is still dependent on consumer spending