The Mask of Piety

Pharisees (depiction)

Those driven by the  impulse to power, the crafty ones, have long ago learned to hide behind a mask of piety. The mask changes according to the times, sometimes religious, sometimes secular but always virtuous, devout, sanctimonious, holier than thou. A just cause has all the characteristics of a good mask. Today, concern for the environment is a worthy cause but could also serve as a mask for the exercise of power.  Environmental crisis could be a reason to accept global government, centralizing control of all land, water, energy and the essentials of life under an undemocratic, unaccountable technocratic elite who would act as “saviours.” The real motive might be power, a  power made more sinister by the light of modern surveillance technology and artificial intelligence.  In my book, in the chapter on corporations, I outline how the multinationals seek to replace governments as the sole source of legitimate authority. To this end they seek to break down traditional loyalties to the nation state, which is seen as an obstacle to the free movement of people, capital, goods and services, thus paving the way for a global governance system controlled by them.  Of course, they will try to put the best face on it, by emphasizing their devotion to worthy causes such as “diversity.” Today we have the spectacle of the “woke” corporation.  How do we tell the difference between the real version and the fake? Watch for the hypocrisy, look for the contradictions, the absence of reason, and the suppression of debate; approach with skepticism any claims to moral superiority and remember history, paying attention when history is ignored or simply re-written. All this has happened many times before, so we can either learn from the mistakes of the past or we can sleep-walk into yet another disaster. Speaking figuratively, the devil has power to assume a pleasing shape and often appears as an angel of light. Remember also, the devil is a shapeshifter appearing at one time as a man of the cloth and another as a champion of the oppressed. The impulse to power is the only constant. It might be helpful to know that absolutely nothing can be taken at face value, so beware the thirty second sound bites of the corporate-owned media conglomerates, devoid of critical analysis. We are drowning in a sea of lies.

At one time, those with the impulse to power were called Pharisees, praying in public places for all the world to marvel at their goodness.  Judaism was their chosen vessel then, a mere carrier for the pathogen. There they stood for all to see, pillars of the community, fasting twice a week, meticulously  tithing mint and anise and cumin but ignoring the weightier matters of the law – justice, mercy and faith. They loved the uppermost seats in the synagogues; highly visible yes, but their true nature was hidden, hidden in plain sight.  The outside of the cup appeared clean but the inside, full of extortion and excess, was unseen.

The New Testament is a chronicle of conflict between these Pharisees and a religious reformer, Jesus Christ. It’s a mythic theme because the essence of the story remains constant, though its outer form  morphs dramatically over time and distance. Jesus knew the Pharisees had lived before. They were the children of those who had murdered the prophets.  And as we shall see, they live on, and even today walk among us.

Jesus did not mince his words.  He likened them to “whited sepulchres” which appear beautiful outwardly but within are full of corruption and “dead mens’ bones.”  He called them a “generation of vipers” who “strain at a gnat and swallow a camel.”  “You are of your father the devil,” he said to them. Strong language this. True to their ancestry, murder was in their hearts and power was the object of their desire.  Jesus was condemned to death at their behest. Blinded by their brightly-polished image and shameless self-promotion, murder was normalized for the suggestible mob. Surely, they must have  a good reason, it must be the will of God.

Fast forward three hundred years. A man has a vision of a cross shining like the sun bearing an inscription: “By This Conquer.”  His name is Constantine, a Roman Emperor. The “prince of peace” is weaponized as an instrument of war. The Roman Empire becomes the Holy Roman Empire. Soon papal armies lay siege to cities, massacring the inhabitants but the bright shining image blinds the masses once more. The people say, this murder of innocents must be from God. Yet Constantine, perhaps the most infamous convert, continues to hold gladiatorial contests.  The Holy Inquisition  burns people alive in His name, He who said forgive your enemies, He who said my Kingdom is not of this world. Let no one doubt the power of those who have captured the moral high ground.  For some reason the suggestible mob cannot see the obvious contradictions. We must open our eyes to the hypocrisy and to the contradictions. The most superficial reading of the teachings of Jesus Christ ought to reveal the staggering hypocrisy, the most blatant contradictions. Why do we not see it?  Perhaps it’s because we find it so hard to believe that lies so monstrous can be told by those apparently so virtuous. Somewhere along the line we have swallowed their claims of moral superiority and accepted their dubious authority to determine right from wrong. We go along, albeit with a sense of unease, unable to grasp the enormity of the deception.

It’s reminiscent of the now famous Milgram experiment, which examined the conflict between personal conscience and response to authority. The experiments began in July 1961. A variety of volunteers were recruited to administer successively higher electric shocks to subjects whenever they gave wrong answers to a series of questions. This was done under the supervision of mild-mannered men in white coats. The subjects being shocked were actors, but this was unknown to the volunteers. Amazingly, 65% of the volunteers administered lethal amounts of electricity, despite protestations from the subjects  (loud screams and complaints about heart problems). All the  volunteers continued to administer very high and unsafe levels of electricity. The experiment resulted in the following overall conclusion:  People tend to obey orders from other people if they recognize their authority as morally right and/or legally based. It’s easy to see how something as simple as a white coat could be a kind of mask in the wrong hands. For one thing, it’s a symbol of authority. Furthermore, those who wear it are supposed to be compassionate healers, not killers. They are responsible people and their decisions are scientifically based.   The volunteers tend to accept their reassurances that the protestations of subjects are simply part of the experiment. Please continue. We accept responsibility. It’s all good.

In the mid 19th-century the mask of piety assumed the form and shape of “social justice.” Social justice is a worthy aspiration, but terms like these can also be weaponized in the service of power and profit as easily as the prince of peace can be used to further the cause of empire. In the mid 19th century the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche put it eloquently:

You preachers of equality, the tyrannomania of impotence clamors thus out of you for equality: your most secret ambitions to be tyrants thus shroud themselves in words of virtue.

And when they call themselves the good and the just, do not forget that they would be pharisees, if only they had—power.

Today the term is “virtue signalling.”

Trudeau, blackface (CBC)

Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau constantly telegraphs his “woke” credentials and his carefully-constructed image seems to have stuck, since he has been re-elected despite some high-profile scandals. Wearing black face for theatrical performances is “racist,” he says, yet it has emerged that he has worn black face himself, not once, but an indeterminate number of times. He has also said that China is the best country outside of Canada because of it’s “basic dictatorship.” He tells us, “Canadians have no core identity.” It all must be good.  (President Macron of France says something similar: “The French have no culture. There is a culture in France, and it is diversity.” Imagine telling the French, of all people, they have no culture! Getting rid of national cultures [not to mention national constitutions] is a globalist’s dream.)

I’m not recommending anyone for political office. I’m not even saying Trudeau is a bad Prime Minister. In fact,  he has all the qualities of an excellent Prime Minister. He sticks to the script and that’s what our corporate masters need in a Prime Minister. All I’m saying is, he thinks Canada is obsolete and he prefers a global dictatorship. I know this because he said so quite plainly. Can we see the contradictions and the hypocrisy?

They would be Pharisees!

Note: Please see the Documentaries Section for more details of The Milgram Experiment.

(C) Adrian Charles Smith, 2020

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