The world has certainly changed since I was in school. Growing up in the ‘60’s and ‘70’s I learned foolish things like words have meaning, truth isn’t relative, there are certain immutable laws, and that history is the study of things which occurred in the PAST.
Fast forward to the present. We have seen people and institutions decide that they can simply change the definition of words in order to justify their actions. We need look no further than the Episcopal Church, which gets around little things like the biblical definition of sin by simply pronouncing that “modern scholarship” has determined that certain behaviors are not really contrary to God’s Word; or that even if the Bible says that some activities are contrary to God’s Law, we have to put them into a “cultural context”.
Cultural relativism has blossomed to the point that there is no right or wrong. There is no truth. Instead the opinion of the majority, or of certain political or cultural elites, should take precedence over “facts” or principles which we have been held as true for hundreds or even thousands of years. The basic laws of economics cease to function simply because a politician says so. While we haven’t reached this point yet, I am waiting for some pronouncement that 2 + 2 ≠ 4!
Lately, we’ve seen some groups believe that they can re-write history. Sure, the interpretive revision of some “scholars” has been around for years. No, I’m talking about the belief that events or accomplishments can simply be erased from the collective consciousness. Ever read George Orwell’s 1984?
As a coach, Joe Paterno won more football games than anyone else in history. Yet, the NCAA believes that it can re-write history. By mere administrative fiat, Paterno’s wins can somehow be made to disappear because he may (or may not) have made an error in judgment which did not occur on the football field and had NOTHING to do with football.
Friday we were told that Lance Armstrong didn’t really win the Tour de France seven times. While I swear that I watched Armstrong win each of those titles on television, I must have been wrong. Perhaps a memo from Winston Smith’s colleagues at the Ministry of Truth will arrive in my inbox shortly.
The US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) admits that it has no hard evidence that Armstrong cheated:
In June, USADA announced it had assembled 10 former Armstrong teammates who were willing to testify that Armstrong cheated, and it had also found tests results that were “fully consistent” with blood doping.
“Fully consistent” isn’t the same thing as scientific fact or “guilty beyond a reasonable doubt”. The USADA has a history of bullying and threatening athletes into testifying. If it can be proven that Armstrong cheated at some point AFTER his Tour de France wins, that does not diminish his seven titles. If it is proven that Armstrong did something that is illegal now, but not then, that cannot negate his accomplishments. Or can it?
It appears that the NCAA and the USADA are but the latest soldiers in a war designed to irrevocably change our culture and our way of life. Words simply mean what we want them to. Knowledge, and morality, are simply relativistic constructs which change with the culture, or the wind. History is no longer prologue; it is a weapon to be used to address past wrongs … real or perceived. This begs the question – Who will decide who is wronged?