This was a mantra of one of the greatest men of the 20th century, Alexander Solzhenitsyn. As an intellectual who refused to be bullied by Stalin, he accepted the requisite punishment of the gulag (as memorialized in “The Gulag Archipelago”) and ultimately was banished from his beloved Russia. Communism was built on lies and requires incessant ones to perpetrate its bizarre and brutal system. Eventually, many subjects under the system learn to adjust and rationalize their daily behavior and even accept the force-fed propaganda as true. In my time running seminars in the former USSR, many attendees would approach me with a sad countenance proclaiming, “Gary, they lied to us! They lied to us all our lives! You shouldn’t lie to children.”
The ramifications of systemic mendacity are corrosive not only at the time it occurs but sets a horrendous standard of amorality and dishonesty far into the future. We are now celebrating the silver anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, but many parts of the Soviet empire have yet to embrace the fundamental tenets of political and economic realities. Specifically, in the area I was most active in encouraging and mentoring potential business men and women, many still emit blank stares when you explain that there must be a strong element of trust involved for a business to have long term success. Yes, we still adhere to Caveat Emptor (Buyer Beware) but any business that lies or deconstructs to their customers consistently will find boards on the windows in short order. Soviet residents’ inability to take those lessons to heart comes from generations of being fed daily lies and almost inadvertently learning to adjust to the system. No one told this story more brilliantly than George Orwell in his prescient novel, “1984.”
These thoughts occurred to me as we see the disassembling and mind boggling lies coming out from the left following the recent Supreme Court Hobby Lobby case. Silly me. I thought perhaps this was such a simple and obvious case of religious liberty that we might even enjoy another delicious 9-0 decision. After all, essentially nothing changes for the employees of Hobby Lobby or the other companies in this suit. Employees will still receive the great health care benefits as before from the Christian owners (who strongly believe their religion impacts and guides their principles even while making a profit). The only difference is that these owners will not have to knuckle under to the Obamacare mandate to provide abortion-inducing drugs, which were only four out of the 16 contraceptives. In other words, they were just minding their own business (literally) when the government came in to mug them. If the employees really want these four drugs, they are readily available for purchase.
The hue and cry immediately emanating from the left has been amazing. Lies and more lies. Of course, the prevaricator-in-chief got the ball rolling as he always does. Then Hillary Clinton goes on record comparing us to Islamists and other oppressive regimes throughout the world giving the impression that not only are contraceptives now banned but sharia law is on the near future agenda. Order your burka now or you may be stoned in the public square. NOW and Planned Parenthood take up the baton and run with it.
The question is whether it will work. I just don’t know. I like to think the electorate is smart enough to understand basic principles but then I remember the airhead Sandra Fluke becoming somewhat of a celebrity because she publicly objected to her (Catholic) college not paying for her birth control. Depressing and scary … for the future.
Gary Hofmeister is the owner and operator of Hofmeister Personal Jewelers in downtown Steamboat, a company he founded in 1973. He is a director of The Steamboat Institute and a former Republican nominee for Congress in the 10th District of Indiana. He made 18 trips to the former USSR to teach democratic-capitalism during the 1990s.