Truth or Consequences

Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – think about such things. Philippians 4:8

Besides being the name of a town in New Mexico,  Truth or Consequences  was also a TV game show in the 1950’s. Contestants called from the audience were asked an obscure trivia questions.  A wrong answer caused them to participate in an embarrassing stunt. 

The show lasted for almost 30 years and was a staple of day-time television. The show always ended with the line: “May all of your consequences be happy ones.”  Nice!  We need that kind of encouragement today in apost-truthpost-modern and post-Christian era. 

I recently had a back-and-forth discussion with a former law colleague about my last post on Journalism which he labeled as spreading falsehoods. I was stunned. He might as well have poked a finger in my eye.

I finally realized where he was coming from when he said this:  “Every person determines what is true and what is false”. Wow! Not exactly an objective test for truth. Reminds me of the line from the movie Shooter: “The truth is what I say it is!”

But that’s where we are today. If I get to determine what is true and it conflicts with what you think is true, then you can be attacked, censored, shadow blocked or even shamed on social media.  I consider that a dangerous assault on our democracy and free speech because only one view is allowed.

One of the more recent truth or consequences games being played is with COVID-19. Long before COVID, a 2006 study planning for pandemic responses cautioned that lockdowns were bad health policy. 

When the pandemic hit, everyone scurried to determine what to do, and politicians gave due deference to technocracy, which is government control by “an elite of technical experts”. Unelected technocrats, under the guise of knowing everything, were happy to promote public policy.  

What followed was something that at times looked like a keystone cops comedy chase scene from the silent movies. Recommendations first said don’t wear masks and it’s OK to go to Chinatown for meals. 

Then, they reversed course and said wear masks which became the gold standard for elected politicians who demanded everyone wear a mask based on “science”.  And some “experts” now say to continue using masks after you have been vaccinated.

Only it’s not science as Alex Berenson wrote in Unreported Truths: MasksThe “science” on masks is anything but settled but you wouldn’t know that based on government mandates and media support.  Berenson’s books were initially blocked on Amazon because they contained “misinformation”, a code word for something that those in power don’t like.  

Even though it is not settled science, mandatory masks requirements still exist as public health policy. As far as I can tell, nothing has changed. You can’t go into a business, restaurant or doctor’s office without a mask because the government says so. A family recently got kicked off an airplane because their 2-year-old wouldn’t keep his mask on. 

Oh, and eating meals out in restaurants is forbidden in many states and cities.  The consequence:  110,000 restaurants are permanently closed with more to come. Scientific data show that restaurants that properly adhere to social distancing guidelines are less dangerous than household get-togethers.  

Large gatherings were deemed to be “super-spreader” events, unless you were an antifa or BLM protests which were described as “mostly peaceful protests”, which ignored the resulting  $2 billion of damage, 31 deaths and the destruction of many inner city businesses.

The media was complicit in setting the narrative that protests were good, while meeting in a church for a religious service was both bad and non-essential.  At best, protests were termed “risky”, and the media uniformly failed to condemn violence, looting and mayhem. Again, a mismatch of truth with consequences.

Which brings us back to lockdowns, the preferred public policy in many states. We were told to “cancel” Thanksgiving with our families, and Christmas is also on the chopping block. Schools remain closed around the country even though the CDC and other “experts”  are in favor of opening schools

School closures will have long term devastating consequences, given that urban schools were already failing before COVID.  Those consequences include a precipitous drop in math test scores and learning. 

One study asserts that school closures will reduce lifetime earnings as well as the life expectancy  for children Isolation has caused mental health to suffer and  suicides and drug overdoses have spiked. These are terrible consequences to the next generation.

As James Freeman notes, the widespread myopia on COVID risks has ignored other risks to human health.  The vaccine will end COVID.  But there is no vaccine for the long-term collateral damage to our health, education and economy. 

Stepping back, it appears that we are being led by “truths” from experts without a proper evaluation of all the consequences. When something that has been held up as a “truth” turns out to be false, there is no adaptive change in policy, resulting in more adverse consequences. 

As we approach the Christmas season, Christians have one truth that we can count on: Jesus was born, lived on this earth and died for our sins. The consequence of his birth two millennia ago has provided hope for generations in a hopeless world. It’s a hope story that needs to be told again and again. 

MENTOR TAKEAWAY:  Mentors are on the front lines of communicating the hope that we have at Christmas in a world that is searching for truth.

FURTHER READING: Death toll reaches 30 during “mostly peaceful protests” – Federalist 

When Experts Fail, Everyone Pays the Price WSJ

Family Kicked off United Flight for Toddler Not Wearing Mask – Newsweek

The 2006 Origins of the Lockdown Idea – AIER

Adverse Consequences of School Closures – UNESCO

How School Shutdowns Have Long Term Effects on Children – Wired

The Double Pandemic of Social Isolation  Health Affairs

ADVENT SONG: Joy to the World (Joyful, Joyful) – Wickham

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