THE SPEECH OF TRUTH

2017-07-31TruthTaras Shevchenko, the Ukrainian poet, once predicted that his country would be lullabied into sleep by ‘evil people’ and then woken up to discover that it had been robbed and was on fire. The ‘evil people’, for Shevchenko, were Russians. Two hundred years after the poet’s prediction, another enemy, alongside Russia, is rising in Ukraine’s way: this time, Ukraine catches fire again and the arsonist is radical liberalism. Liberal ideology, with its values, language and censorship is becoming more and more tangible here in Ukraine. Liberal concepts are being implemented on the level of government, through well-financed organizations and with an active support of the media. They also impinge on the Ukrainian law.

Of late, the notion of ‘hate speech’ encroaches on the Ukrainian press. Demurely, the word combination is translated from English into Ukrainian as ‘speech of hostility’ (‘мова ворожнечі’), and is mostly a means to silence the truth. Since the times of classical liberalism, its advocates had insisted that they opposed censorship and upheld freedom of expression, of thought and of conscience. Not admitting that their censorship is a censorship, they cry wolf and lay all faults at the door of those who call things by their true names. With the ‘hate-speech’ label, liberals denounce any idea that contradicts their dogmas. If I, as a Christian, say that homosexuality is a sin, they say I use ‘hate speech.’ If I say that immigrants from Asia and Africa must respect the people and the laws of a country which welcomes them, but not go brazen, the liberals call it ‘hate speech.’

In the Ukrainian context, the liberal-minded journalists say we can’t call our soldiers fighting the Russian troops in Donbas ‘our heroes’, just as we can’t call the Russians or their allies in Donbas “aggressors’, ‘invaders’ or ‘terrorists.’

Should the doctrine of liberalism be implemented (which is actively done in a number of industrialized countries!), people may get disarmed in the face of Evil and lose their ability of adequately evaluating events. On the other hand, being the backbone of the modern civilization, Christianity teaches that it’s wrong to be ‘overcorrect’ where you should be categorical. In Matthew 23, Jesus does not mince words when he addresses the Pharisees:

“…you hypocrites…you, blind guides… You blind fools! …inside they (the Pharisees) are full of greed and self-indulgence… You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean.  In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness… “ And further: “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? Please, notice: not ‘alternatively devout’, but ‘brood of vipers.’

 My feeling is that these words are spoken today and about what is happening now.

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