Alan Keyes
Is this the year God-endowed liberty falls?
By Alan Keyes
January 18, 2016 is necessary to the happiness of man, that he be mentally faithful to himself. Infidelity does not consist in believing, or in disbelieving; it consists in professing to believe what he does not believe.

    It is impossible to calculate the moral mischief, if I may so express it, that mental lying has produced in society. When a man has so far corrupted and prostituted the chastity of his mind, as to subscribe his professional belief to things he does not believe, he has prepared himself for the commission of every other crime. (Thomas Paine, "The Age of Reason," Chapter 1)
Thomas Paine was revered by America's prevalent founders as the author of the pamphlet "Common Sense," which did so much to kindle the fervor that produced and sustained the American people's will for independence from Great Britain.

The words quoted above come from a work far more controversial in the country he helped to birth. Like much of his career in the aftermath of the successful Revolution he helped to make, Paine's definition of infidelity departs from general usage. However, it does so in a way that offers true insight into the meaning of the word. The reference to "mental lying" is reminiscent of Plato's idea of the "lie in the soul," which so informs an individual's identity with deceit that his very existence is defined by it. The difference is that Paine's liar purposely devotes himself to the deceit, choosing to perpetrate his own self-corruption.

Plato's "lie in the soul" prepares people to be enslaved. Paine's "mental lying" prepares the criminal characters who devise their enslavement. The first is an affliction. The second is the self-imposed atrocity that helps one to afflict others. Many of today's American left- and right-wing elitists openly or tacitly support the exile of God from human affairs. These American elitists are children of "the lie in the soul" Charles Darwin grafted upon the theologically grounded success of modern empirical science in order to supplant the authority of God. That done, they cast into oblivion any morally constrained conception of human nature. Nothing is left but the malleable logic of power, the will-to-power and the resultant vectors of human activity some call "success" and others "history."

His sense of reason spared from this corruption, Thomas Paine believed that "THE WORD OF GOD IS THE CREATION WE BEHOLD and it is in this word, which no human invention can counterfeit or alter, that God speaketh universally to man." The acknowledged forbear of so many of today's American leftists professed his belief in Creation and sought to vindicate God's role in it with arguments predicated upon intelligent design.

If he had experienced the catharsis of intellectual perception produced by wrestling with Immanuel Kant's famous critique of human reason, Paine might have written "The Age of Reason" with a better understanding of the meaning of Christ as the Incarnate Word, and its profound implications for God-endowed right and the rights, including liberty, of all humankind. Even as it was, he grasped the formal necessity for acknowledging the authority of God in human affairs, which is now being confirmed by advances in our understanding of the means by which His Being imperatively informs the nature of things, including, especially, our own.

Paine's just appreciation of the corruption entailed by what he calls "mental lying" led him to be an astute observer of its effects on human politics and government. This is evident in his analysis of the corrupt mentality of noble courtiers in the British monarchy of his day:
    There is not any description of men that despise monarchy so much as courtiers. But they well know, that if it were seen by others, as it is seen by them, the juggle could not be kept up; they are in the condition of men who get their living by a show, and to whom the folly of that show is so familiar that they ridicule it; but were the audience to be made as wise in this respect as themselves, there would be an end to the show and the profits with it. ("The Rights of Man," Part I)
Substitute "Republicans" or "Democrats" for "courtiers" in this analysis, and it aptly describes the corrupt mentality of the power seekers who these days are abusing America's Constitution and political process, perhaps fatally so. Just as the sickly monarchy of Louis XVI tottered to its fall in the afterglow of the robust glories of Louis XIV's absolute monarchy in France, so the historically unprecedented achievements of the American people in the 20th century are liable to be followed by the end of their self-government in the 21st. And in both cases, the sham made possible by what Paine calls "mental lying" appears to be symptomatic of the fate they may have in common.

Will 2016 be the year in which the American people fall prey to the elitist counter-revolution that seeks to make their fate a republican counterpoint to the fall of absolute monarchy in Europe? People like Franklin Graham are supposed to be so fed up with the enacted "mental lying" of the GOP that they have left the Republican Party. But though he is planning to barnstorm the country to rouse people to the danger that our liberty may fall, he does in the context of no effort to replace the sham that's failed.

That makes no sense. Unless, as we have seen before, the pretense of quitting the Party serves only to gain a hearing from voters so fed up with the sham they cannot bear the deceitful patter of its shills. By leaving it in one scene, one can become the focus of their hope, regaining trust; so as to lead them back into the fold when, in the final act this fall, the time comes round to count the herd for shearing. So the sham continues, and America's God-endowed liberty falls.

Would that there were real efforts aimed at mobilizing the adherents of America's God-acknowledging founding principles to field slates of electors in the upcoming presidential contest who are sworn to end the partisan sham; sworn to search for and select a president instructed in those principles, devoted to their perpetuation, and accomplished in the work of applying them to every issue critical for the survival of our decent liberty. Absent such an effort, what is there to choose from but self-serving mental liars, elitists bent on deceiving America again, this time into the early grave they have so long envisaged and prepared?

To see more articles by Dr. Keyes, visit his blog at and his commentary at and

© Alan Keyes


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Alan Keyes

Dr. Keyes holds the distinction of being the only person ever to run against Barack Obama in a truly contested election – featuring authentic moral conservatism vs. progressive liberalism – when they challenged each other for the open U.S. Senate seat from Illinois in 2004... (more)


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