December 18, 2018

Where Once A Man’s Word Had Honor, Now Lies Have Become Truth

The dictionary defines a progressive as being someone who “favors progress or reform, especially in political matters”. Progress and reform are both gray issues; meaning there is no specific description of what each means. That in and of itself presents an array of troublesome quandaries that have led this fine nation into a spiraling abyss of immorality, or at least can be perceived by anyone maintaining some semblance of an honest and ethical lifestyle. One such example of “favors progress or reform”, in order to achieve a desired result, is lying. Where once a man’s word retained a wealth of value and was as good as good can get, now lying is not only prevalent but eagerly accepted among the masses of progressive, secular Americans. But why?

One of the things I managed to accomplish this summer while at my camp in the woods of Maine was to read. One particular book I read – one that I bought for .50 cents at the library book sale – was another in a growing collection of books I have about Abraham Lincoln, but in particular the conspiracy to assassinate him. The book is: “The True History of the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln and of the Conspiracy of 1865”. The content of the book is essentially the account as told by Louis J. Weichmann.

Weichmann was a friend of John H. Surratt and the Surratt family, including Mary Surratt. He also met and had relationships of varying degrees with many of the so-called conspirators, including John Wilkes Booth, in the killing of Abraham Lincoln and the attempted assassination of others. Because of this association, Weichmann was initially held by authorities as a possible conspirator but eventually much of his testimony was used to convict members of this group.

The book details the testimony and trial of the conspirators (all were charged and tried together). A few years after the initial trial, John H. Surratt was captured and tried and Weichmann details this as well.

Aside from the complicated mess of evidence, real and fabricated, it doesn’t take long to realize that the words and written testimony of those involved in the trial, are held in high esteem by both the author and the courts. Seldom was a person’s word brought into question unless it could be accurately proven to be a falsehood. Time was not wasted attempting to blur the evidence or present a person’s testimony as something it wasn’t in order to have influence over the jury. Words were either fact or fiction and if fiction you better have real proof. If it was proven a man lied, nothing that specific individual had to say or offer in the case had any value and was completely disregarded. Otherwise, a man’s word was seldom questioned as society still viewed a person’s word as something to honor and respect.

Can the same be said for today? We witness courtroom testimony and the words of witnesses, judges, lawyers, etc. and much of what they say, if not an outright lie, is misleading and meant to be so. Each side strives for a desired outcome and subjective morals and subjective truths are used in order to get there.

This is not relegated to just the courtrooms however. Take our media for example. Where once it was mostly taken as a “journalist’s” moral responsibility and obligation to tell only the facts as can be substantiated, now it’s more about ratings and who can be the first to tell a story about an event regardless of the accuracy of the content.

We Americans find ourselves once again mired in another presidential campaign, along with elections of certain member seats in the House and Senate. Honest and unbiased reasoning shows us there is little justification to trust a politician’s word about anything and yet as sure as flies are attracted to garbage, voters are drawn to the words, not perhaps because of the truths they may hold but for the want of what those recitations promise. We care not if anything uttered is truth, just that what they say images our desired subjective truths and morals. We are so fickle!

It is readily discussed these days, and surely who can argue, that what once was news is now entertainment. One coined word for this is “infotainment”. While it may be entertainment, and some members of this “news” entertainment might willingly agree to its description, it certainly is not presented to the masses of people as entertainment. Shouldn’t it be? Or has everything that involves truth and morality become subjective? Of course it has. American people take comedy and entertainment shows like The Daily Show with Jon Stewart or Colbert Nation with Stephen Colbert as legitimate news shows. We are so volatile!

At essentially every level of American society, progressiveness, i.e. the “development of an individual or society in a direction considered more beneficial than and superior to the previous level”, exists to some degree. We are all guilty. But what happens when one’s desires and idealism become the driving force in their life? To what lengths will they go and what conservative values are they willing to abandon in order to achieve that thought of as a, “superior level”?

None of this is new. This idea that morals and truth is subjective, meaning that one’s mind and thoughts can rightly justify the devaluing of objective truth, has been around in the minds of men for many centuries. Søren Aabye Kierkegaard, a Danish philosopher who died at age 42 and lived from 1813 – 1855, said: “…the thing is to find a truth which is true for me, to find the idea for which I can live and die.” He also was quoted as saying: “When he is nearest to being in two places at the same time he is in passion; but passion is momentary, and passion is also the highest expression of subjectivity.”

Because someone is passionate about what they might believe, say and do, this can justify subjective truth and the lack of adherence to a moral compass? Wasn’t it James Madison who said that the only way our founding Constitution and Bill of Rights would ever survive was if the nation maintained a moral backbone. It has not. As a matter of fact, the so-called progressives have managed to convince our American youth that the worship of God Almighty played no role in the construction of our constitution and thus the end result is a promotion of subjective morals and truth, leaving a nation lacking in leadership to seek Kierkegaard’s truth – that which is true to me.

When considering this kind of thought and the results of those thoughts, also acknowledge how this enters into the many debates that exist in this country that are “passionate” and often, if not always, embroiled in one’s subjective truth. In the work that I do, this is prevalent in the debates about wildlife management and the environment. Just pick a subject.

The Bible says in John 14:6, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No man cometh unto the Father except through Me.” For those who still adhere to objective truth and morals, God told us in his Word, that He alone was the Truth. Man’s words therefore can only be held to account of the Word of God in seeking truth. When’s the last time that happened in this country?

For the secular minded, be it told that Nazi Germany based its “truth” to justify the murdering of innocent humans on Darwin’s principle of “survival of the fittest”, therefore discovering their Kierkegaard kind of truth in killing those they believed to be inferior human beings. They also relied on Friedrich Nietzsche’s belief that: “Since there is no God to will what is good, we must will our own good. And since there is no eternal value, we must will the eternal recurrence of the same state of affairs.”

Not that the United States has now become Nazi Germany but provided that this nation, including each of us as accountable individuals, as well as our governments, powerful media sources, non governmental agencies, etc., continues down this road of dissing the Truth of God’s word and seeking their own truth to fit their agendas and ideals, we can only expect to witness a more blatant and intended bunch of lies in order to accomplish our goals.

God’s word is Truth. Every moral compass of the world should point to the Truth. When it does not, the lies become commonplace and those creating and perpetuating those lies will have succeeded in convincing themselves that “their truth” is what works for them and therefore all others become the lies.

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Book Review: Killing Lincoln

I finished reading Killing Lincoln a few days ago. I recommend the book but with some suggestions.

Killing Lincoln, by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard, published by Henry Holt and Company, LLC., covers many of the details about President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. Depending upon your level of knowledge and the amount of research you have done in your lifetime, will depend very much on how much in O’Reilly’s book you would find “new” information and how much as rehashed and regurgitated.

I have read numerous books and writings on the killing of Lincoln, and I can say this one is well-written in the sense that it keeps your interest, even while constantly moving from one arena to another as the plot unfolds. However, no new information is revealed and the book falls short on any in-depth research into the vastness of the conspiracy.

Killing Lincoln spends much of the first 16 chapters setting the stage of Lincoln’s death by detailing battles and events that occur leading up to the ultimate surrender of General Lee at Appomattox. Mostly leaving the Civil War battlefields, Killing Lincoln draws in the majority of the conspirators behind the plot to kill, not only Lincoln, but V.P. Andrew Johnson, Secretary of State William Seward, Sec. of War Edwin Stanton and Union General Ulysses S. Grant. O’Reilly provides enough background and information on those he and co-writer Dugard believe to be the main planners in the conspiracy.

As O’Reilly might call his “Back of the Book Segment”, the back of his book gives readers a glimpse as to what became of many of the key characters in his work. He even goes so far as to reproduce a copy of the April 29, 1865 edition of Harper’s Weekly. O’Reilly’s intent is to help readers get a better understanding of how the country was dealing with the killing of President Lincoln.

Over the years many theories have existed as to who was really behind the killing of Lincoln. While Killing Lincoln, the book, casually addresses some of those theories, it is my opinion that had the authors spent less time (16 chapters) recounting the Civil War battles leading up to the assassination and more time digging a bit deeper into the most readily recognized and easily proven conspiracy theory, they could have provided readers with more or a real jaw-dropping read.

The main hypothesis as to who or what was behind the killing of Lincoln points to the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church, led by the Jesuits and under the full direction of the Vatican.

Much discussion can be made as to the Vatican’s involvement or lack thereof in Lincoln’s death but if you consider the testimonies and actions that took place after the assassination, a different light is shed on the conspiracy theory; at least enough to pique the curiosities of some and give pause to others.

General Thomas M. Harris was a member of the military commission that tried and condemned the conspirators in Lincoln’s death. His accounts of those trials are quite revealing.

If we follow the trail on one conspirator, John H. Surratt, whose mother ran a boarding house of sorts near Washington, D.C., it was learned that at different times all the conspirators would meet to discuss plans to kill Lincoln. Shortly after Lincoln’s murder, John Surratt was among the missing.

O’Reilly, a catholic himself, mentions very little of John Surratt. In the Afterword, he tells how Surratt, the son of Mary Surratt who was hanged for her involvement, might have been saved if her son had returned to testify. The book states that John Surratt fled to Montreal and later ended up at the Vatican “where he served in the Papal Zouaves“. However, General Harris describes Surratt’s time at the Vatican as being confined to a room and protected from those searching for him in connection with the death of Lincoln.

The Pope is forced to arrest Surratt but arranges for his escape. He is eventually captured in Egypt and taken back to America to stand trial. Gen. Harris points out the work of the Jesuits in controlling and manipulating the trial that ends in a hung jury and the release of Surratt.

Gen Harris’s information is probably some, if not the most, credible of all those claiming theories on Lincoln’s death. His work is well worth the read I think.

While many books have been written about Lincoln’s murder, Killing Lincoln could have been an even bigger blockbuster if they had taken the time to research into the validity of some of these theories, particularly that of Gen. Harris. Should I create my own conspiracy theory by saying that perhaps O’Reilly purposely avoided this theory because he is Catholic?

All very interesting.

I recommend the reading of “Killing Lincoln” and then follow it up with “Rome’s Responsibility for the Assassination of Lincoln” by Gen. Thomas M. Harris and “Fifty Years in the Church of Rome” by Charles Paschal Telesphore Chiniquy.

An addendum to this story: Charles Chiniquy is key to the story of Lincoln as well as his testimony that members of the Catholic Church were telling people of Lincoln’s death hours before it even happened. Chiniquy, is a friend of President Lincoln and repeatedly warns the president that the Vatican wants him dead and that eventually he will be killed. Of course, even as is revealed in the book, Lincoln not only suspects he will someday be killed but he has recurring dreams about it.

Tom Remington

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