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CALL TO ISRAEL AND TO AUSTRALIA
"When shall it once be ? " (Jeremiah 13:27)
The Australian, January 20,2011
How Long, O Israel ?
In II Chronicles 12, one sees Israel's old enemy, Egypt, assailing and assaulting Israel. An immense array of forces, in the eyes of those days, like those of modern China for us now, it seems, came up to deal with the nation that was an historic escapee from its slave pens, in the days of Moses. Now they would humble it. The Egyptians went so far as to take the fortified cities of Israel in those days, following Solomon, when his young son, King Rehoboam, had become both boastful and reckless with heedless youth, to assert himself without feeling or grace, in his rule, so losing most of Israel, which separated from the nation. How vulnerable they now were! He had lost the hearts of the 10 tribes, keeping but two; but he had also lost their presence, for they had become a new and apostate nation, equipped with golden calf worship, an intensely provocative touch, thumbing the nose at the Lord, as if to go back to the day when Aaron, to his shame, made a golden calf for religious purposes, when Moses was on the Mount communing with God!
What now would become of Judah itself and the temple ?
'Thus they met in Jerusalem, with Shemaiah the prophet. He gave the message (which nowadays one must always be willing to take from the Bible, the word of God, infallible rule, as the Lord opens one's eyes to what is there, and leads as to the way to do it). It was both simple and clear. "Thus says the Lord, You have forsaken Me, and therefore I have left you in the hand of Shishak," the Egyptian ruler making the assault (II Chronicles 12:5). Indeed, it was to that very king that Jeroboam, who was made king of the departing 10 tribes, had fled, when Solomon had sniffed out his rebellious spirit, and now this same Shiskak was invading Israel!
Surely the round of multi-cultural calamity was being experienced (I Kings 11:32ff.), and in due course, when his own follies and calf-making impudence had been enough, the Lord gave him notice of the failed nature of his opportunity and the coming end to his exploitation of the offer made, and indeed of his family in their rule altogether (I Kings 13-14), and this, in dramatic circumstances!
It is not the love of the Lord, it is not the initiative of the Lord and it is not the patience of the Lord which fails, but any spirit of willingness, of reform, any reasonable traction on truth, in man, which fails so repeatedly: so that good things are lost and evil is inherited (cf. II Samuel 12:11ff.). Even at that, HOW OFTEN the lord waits and offers before the end comes! On this, ponder Ezekiel 20, where again and again He postpones judgment, and again and again is provoked by impious folly, grossly carried out and compare it closely with Matthew 23:37ff., and Luke 19:42ff.. It was good, in David's day, when he fell in the matter of Uriah, that he repented so abysmally and absolutely and with such aghast horror at what he had done (Psalm 51), and so despite a moral collapse and calamity, he quickly found remedy in the patient love of the Lord. But it was not so, later, in the day of Jeroboam, rebel, and Rehoboam, imperious young prince and now King in the South, in Judah.
So did the rebellious Northern Kingdom of Israel with its ten separating tribes, come to earlier and later grief, as it proceeded down the long chute to the bin. But what of Judah ? Many were the multi-cultural nothings, false gods which Israel had worshipped (I Kings 11:33), and as to Jeroboam, made a magnificent offer (I Kings 11:38), he could not even learn from what the pursuit of such things earlier in the nation, and the plights of those who did so, but repeated in his new kingdom what went before, becoming quite a specialist in the same spiritual seduction for northern Israel as had attacked the nation when it was one (I Kings 14:5ff.). Indeed he advanced further down the highway of folly!
"You," the Lord said to him via the prophet Ahijah, who had given him from the Lord his great new opportunity of a godly nation, "have done more evil than all who were before you."
In what way had King Jeroboam done this ? The reason is given explicitly:
"for you have gone and made for yourself other gods and molded images
to provoke Me to anger, and have cast Me behind your back."
Casting the Lord behind his back, he had still had the effrontery, the unholy impudence, the impenitent folly to make MOST public his golden calves and their spurious worship, as if some backroom madness plotted in some Government meeting, were broadcast live to the nation! His calves of gold had fame to equal their infamy, and their public use was propounded like the repetitive advertisements which by repetition almost alienate, if one is watching tennis or some other sport on the TV. Evidently he gloried in the publication of infamy, the prostitution of the nation, and the abuse of his divine commission (I Kings 11:38ff.).
Before his death, he had had 22 years to show his colours, and they were not only faded, but signified another heart, another land, another shame and induced another destiny (I Kings 14:10). What a lesson for nation and individual alike, that keeping the name of something is of little value if you do not keep your heart; and keeping the charter of a company is little use if it is mere tradition; and that keeping your heart a captive in practical fact and reality, to alien cultures and considerations, whether for survival or spiritual adventurism, is a form of madness which invites, indeed appeals to destruction. Proverbs 1 puts it in most general terms, of vital and simple impact!
What then for Judah ? Like storm clouds gathering, and vast anvils of dark blackness hovering with foreboding of menace, so the perils loomed. The ramifications of Jeroboam's revolt and his going to Egypt as a young man, to escape Solomon, to this same Egyptian ruler, Shishak who now invaded, were now growing as Shishak in turn was used by God for their affliction; and yet, he was restrained from actual take-over.
As the due date for destruction threatened to come, then, King Rehoboam at least made a consultation. A consent and consensus followed this, so the people in Judah acknowledged their offence and humbled themselves which, the Lord seeing, led to a lessening of the rigour of what lay before them. The Lord showed His decision to spare them ruin, but not humiliation. So their vast temple treasures from the godly days of David with Solomon's supplements, were lost. Shishak exacted payment from a people corroded and being corrupted, so that the glory could no longer hide the shame, and sham could not be extended in appearance, when heart itself was invaded.
Why then did the Lord allow even this much tribulation to befall them ? The reason is clearly stated, in II Chronicles 12:8: it was this.
"They will be his
So profound had been their autonomy, their inclination to do their own sweet will, to be reckless, domineering - at least the King and his party, and they ruled - that this severance from serving, trusting in and adoring the God of their creation and their covenant of mercy alone, had to have results. Humbling themselves instead of going all the way, becoming total adventurers such as Australia would be if it removes the reference to reliance on God Almighty from its Preamble to its Constitution, they were therefore spared utter destruction.
Indeed, just as Australia has massively suffered in its atheist leadership and ambitions to make strange ideas about aborigines, having a religious tinge, as if in some way their prior presence were more than that, or their ways were more than those of a people who preceded the European coming, and this appears to be leading on towards a naturalistic religious map, its unveiling or application made with increasing gusto, so Israel was moved. Israel at that time escaped falling off the escarpment, and drew back from the brink (though one segment, to the North would come to devastation). In Australia, will wild recklessness proceed without limit ?
This movement, parallel, to that in ancient Israel, has a considerable past (cf. Lead Us Not into Educational Temptation, Mystery of Iniquity, Classification Bill, Freedom Document and the Law). Perhaps this our land will draw back from calamity, rather than seek oblivion in promiscuity of heart, mind and body, like a volcano smashing the villages of a Christian past, howling as with rage. Perhaps some measure of repentance will arrest what in biblical perspective is the equivalent of artificially induced cardiac arrest.
As to Australia, then, though there is a pragmatic movement being made by some anti-Christian forces, to use the aboriginal presence as a ground for relativism and a spiritual multi-culturalism, ignoring our foundation from Britain and its encompassing effect on our founding as a nation, yet in fact the case even at that, is far different from that of the current rift and drift seen in the politics in this nation. The aboriginal past is by no means a simple proto-type for an anti-creationist splurge.
Thus, as noted in TMR, the aboriginal testimony is in no mean part, far from merely naturalistic, rather holding testimony in part of considerable attention to things divine involving the creation. In this, it appears far sounder than the defilement which many would bring from other sources, to capture this nation, and change its course from that of its foundation*1; but this is the way it goes in politics.
Thus in ancient Israel, many suffered profoundly, a profoundly profane Northern nation being formed and after many vicissitudes, deleted; and in the South, Judah, there was a small but important measure of repentance from recklessness, in Rehoboam's day, so that for Judah there was some restraint. They did not proceed to suffer more at once, reckless, regardless, as Israel of the North did, though even there this did develop; and as alas it may further in this our own nation, if so moved to the sundering of what remains of our ties with the God of creation, the Almighty.
Their reliance on other powerful bodies (once, on Assyria, or again, on Egypt) was abhorrent to the Lord, just as Howard earlier, at least reserved considerable resistance to the ruinous and simple reliance on the godless rules of the UN (however reasonable some were, for there is no logical or religious base that can be logically supported, merely a tone of ideas which can be imported, instead of the biblical rules, and the morality otherwise gained in our history). That resistance, with his passing from the post of PM, has also become hard to find.
This, our nation trembles on the brink of ruin; and whether it will humble itself to remember where it came from (as mercifully occurred in the case parallel with King Rehoboam of Judah, the rump at that time of Israel), and continue with that fealty to the Almighty God in view, in its Preamble to the Australian Constitution of its founding, or not, remains to be seen. Indeed, will it specifically remove that part of the Constitution, and so declare war on its birth!
Israel had much to learn, and this nation of ours, to be taught.
In their case, God determined for this privileged body, this prominent rump of Israel, namely Judah, that despite the measure of repentance shown, even at that, they would not escape all correction for their consolidated sins. Prompted to more realism and some return, with the advent of massive power trampling upon it from Egypt, as if the DELIVERANCE from that foolish nation of that time, were in part being reversed SINCE they themselves had reversed their total reliance on the Lord who rescued them at the time of the Exodus: they would receive mercy indeed; but there would be a lesson.
So they lost their gold and their treasures of the temple; and for the time, they were in some subjection to Egypt. What a folly ? Indeed, hat mercy that the thing was not irreversible, total ruin for them! What a mercy that they at least in the midst of high talk and wilful arrogance, there was some reversion to the Lord, some pause in the pollution! They were by no means extinguished, and would go on to become the birthplace for the Messiah as divinely announced (Micah 5:1ff.), the place of the prophets who were faithful, like Isaiah, Jeremiah, Zechariah, the site for signals divine and empowerment when they turned to the Lord as in the day of Hezekiah, time of an historic rescue (Isaiah 36ff.),and Josiah, in whose rule calamity was postponed.
Two lessons immediately follow. Let us apply these principles.
Message to Australia
1) First is a message to be pondered by Australia.
Thus it is useless for Australia to talk about mother nature, as if it made itself and us from nothing, before it was there to do it, and is altogether godly in its powers; for it merely works as made. It is useless to smile quirkishly, or lament inconsolably at our sudden desolations, and the scale of it, as if meteorology were god; for it is merely an organisational feature of God's construction of the earth, and of His constriction as He sees fit to allow or enable it, who has complete control, and is ready and able to personally to intervene if He will, and so often did for Israel.
When He does so act in mercy, for example, it is not a matter of disrupting the natural order of what He has made, but not allowing it to be ungoverned, of tempering it in a case. Thus, though in its power and law and order is sure, it is that very thing which represents a strong reason to seek the Lord beyond it, lest we be engulfed either in one way or another. Fearing God is not a pastime, it is a way of life; and it is neither supine, nor superficial, but an awesome worship of the One whose love is not limited to mawkish sentimentality, nor corruptible by pretence, nor yet other than staggeringly deep. Indeed, it does have its divine channels, in the ways given for man's salvation. The further these are vexed (as in the teaching of organic evolution, by mandate and irrational restriction of cogent, scientific criticism in our schools*2), the more the nation asks to be taught what Israel was taught.
What was that, and what did the Lord have in mind for Israel in the day and way of Shishak of Egypt, when he invaded and took so many treasures from it, but did not subjugate it altogether ? It was that they should know, to
"distinguish My service from the service of the kingdoms of the nations,"
as the Lord expressed it (II Chronicles 12:8).
We are not theocratic! the wanton answer comes. True, but you do not HAVE to be this, in order to avoid estrangement from the degree of commitment to God which the nation first had, and to prevent the further alienation from what were our founding principles, now increasingly apparent, as humanism, relativism, naturalism and multi-culturalism abound.
These show in the minds of many, a growing and growling lust for rule and become increasingly intolerant, commanding apt to take a confused people in tow. The last, multiculturalism, comes in the form of making anything of any kind to be regarded as nice, unless it physically wounds you; and so surrendering all your past and basic ways to new gods, newly arising, just as Israel did, though doing it in a less regal way (cf. Deuteronomy 32:16-18). This lavish lust, increasingly in danger of becoming national, contributes strongly to the desire of the multiply cultural bodies entering our land, to make its nature as chaff to their wind. It then becomes like a careless girl, ready for possession by any!
Some nations value their inheritance; so that the rightful concept of not being unkind to strangers, entrants, does not become the wrongful and anti-godly approach of totally relativising all religion, and hence utterly rejecting any place for that on which they were founded! Norway has shown some spirit in this matter very recently, advising those who want to build a mosque in their land, that in this they would be willing to oblige when a Christian Church can be built in the Moslem land, so showing reciprocity. France is showing some spirit in the matter of garb, which can be used as an emblem of the multiply menacing words of many of that religion, and so become a taunt, even when this is not the express intention of many. It is not at all difficult for mosques to become shortly, centres for address that Islam will become the subjugator of the nation, as indeed happened recently, as if its principles and laws, its ways and its approach to life were in some way to be impressed, and violence would be sure to come*3.
We become like a stray dog, licking any strange fingers, knowing nothing but subservience to anything going, having no home, though its kennel is in fact commodious.
If Australia wants to make itself LIKE the nations which did not have its past and origins and beginnings in our day (when God and not mother nature, father time or unreason was the criterion), then let it join their ways until its attraction is gone and strange rules and dictatorial devices wrack it. Let it become thankless, heedless like Rehoboam, and hblather without any self-humbling, gratitude or past even to notice; and let it teach a new sort of history to its children and in things religious, continue an anti-rational myth under the subverted name of science*4, to help them too, to forget, till the provocation becomes total, and not merely substantial as at present.
Only let them not whine at the whip for their folly, which dipping in tar marks them out, which alas they may from no merely human force receive: and not moan later when temporary spiritual insanity forces submission, as increasingly becomes the case at present. Truth is not altered by mid-summer madness. It proceeds on its own course.
Message to Israel
2) The second message is to Israel. HOW LONG ?
Way back nearly 3000 years ago, the Lord was teaching you to distinguish between HIS service and the service of the kingdoms of the nations ! There was a divine censure for this.
Is this to continue ? Is national seal on the departure from the living God and His Messiah to continue, and is the way increasingly evident, of the nations, to be adopted further: that is, revolt against the Lord who made us all, and provided one place of worship, on site for salvation first in the Temple and then in the Lord Jesus Christ ?
How long ? When will it once be that you return to your own Lord, who led you out of Egypt, whose Messiah has long ago done His vast work of redemption in your very midst; who has thoughts of kindness towards you (Jeremiah 29:11, Zechariah 12:10-13:1); and how long before as in Jeremiah 31:19-20, before you return to the Lord, your own Lord, the God of creation and salvation and redemption, and find Him where the apostles from your own land have shown, in the Cross of redemption, in the resurrection of salvation and in the Spirit of peace... How long before the peace which is NOT that of the nations, but that of the Lord, returns to your blessed land, and you and God are once more in joyful reunion! May it soon be.
The USA has been a vast help to you; but do not place your trust in ANY nation, or nations; only in the Lord. The new President Obama is most unlike Bush and Reagan, in this, that he is most express in his approach: USA is NOT, says he categorically, a Christian nation. Indeed, even right after the Tower episode of 2001, he was declaring that the Koran was a book of good teaching (even though it defiles the name of Christ, and makes up a new Christ without His power, glory, deity or redemption).
He might have said that while formally the USA is not a specifically Christian nation, it has an immense past in this religion, in its very founding as a nation, has a vast reliance in derivations of laws and culture from it, and in no way does he as President, intend, being a Christian, to do anything to suffer the menace or manipulation of the nation, through anti-Christian manoeuvres of any. Just so, an Indian government, finding Hindus perilously persecuted in other lands, might signify an affront to the nation, in that its own nationals are being abused. They are not the ONLY nationals; but they are a significant portion of the whole.
He might have added, that while as President, he will not fail to service all, as one who BECAME President with a vastly publicised Christian belief being stressed (as it has been recently since, with the addition that he is a deep Christian with real doctrinal soundness!), he assuredly will not suffer any intimidation of Christianity by mere force, this being basic to the nation's very existence; and while he will equally protect the national rights of all, he will NOT allow any direct or indirect menace to be made by those whose religious commitment is militant, or their actions threatening to such.
He could have said this. Yet he did not do so. A Christian concern for Israel and its Jewish influx, was not at all apparent, but a not too diluted advocacy for Islam was apparent, in particular in his defamation of Christ by calling the teaching of the Koran good. Israel, it was to do this and that.
He spoke rather differently from expressions of presidential concern of the recent past, before his term as President. Indeed, in recent months, he has been insistent through his Secretary of State, on TELLING Israel to give up more of this and that, and to surrender more and more of what by resisting invasion, it has gained the power to do, to stop building here or there, even in Jerusalem to the point that Netanyahu had to make the point that Jerusalem was NOT, repeat NOT a settlement!
He has been advocating for Israel more yielding up of the little it has left from the violation of the Charter given by the League of Nations in the 1920s, in order in this presidential zeal of his, to become compliant to the nations round about. While others have been careful in negotiation, his regime has been of an almost dictatorial approach to Israel, singling it out, ordering it publicly, demanding conformity and so on.
In this, and his Moslem overtures, he has become an impediment to Israel and at times, even a source of duress. Little has he done and said for it, though it is true, by a sudden contrast, that he has made it clear that he does not intend by any means to abandon the country. For all that, the pressures soon become tantamount to just this, as its increasing dismember of its slender slice of territory, becomes increasingly difficult to defend at all! The flow of commitment from Reagan and Bush, and the extraordinary measures for its defence, even in the day of Nixon are in stark contrast, and at times, almost totally so. As to the current US President, where his foot will turn next, it is difficult to know.
This merely emphasises the basic religious point.
Israel would do well now to turn to its own Lord on whom it was SPECIFICALLY AND FORMALLY FOUNDED BY COVENANT! and not to be stuck in the waiting for the Messiah, as if to omit His first coming altogether, as if He had not already come and done the work by His own blood (cf. Hosea 13:14, Isaiah 49-55, Zechariah 12:110ff., Daniel 9 cf. Christ the CItadel Ch.2), specifically at the prophetic date set millenia ago, by Daniel. Israel might rather receive Him as forecast indeed some 2500 years ago by its prophet Zechariah, when he foretold that they would
"look upon Me whom they have pierced,"
and go, family by family, to repent of doing this. What a time has been lost already from His blessedness!
It is then that the power of God is used; just as it was so signally lost by King Rehoboam, because his junta had to learn to DISTINGUISH
between the ways of
the kingdoms of the nations, their service,
and the ways of the
service of the LORD!
This, it is no recent idea. It is not bursting from the mind of a 21st century prophet, like new metal. It CAME in the first place from the mind of God, and was presented millenia ago FOR THIS VERY PERIOD, concerning our contemporary time, by its own prophet, Zechariah. Here was Israel back from its long predicted sojourns abroad (foretold in Leviticus 26, along with reasons for it), facing powerful forces threatening and interfering with a regained Jerusalem, nearing the time of the Lord's return in power (as in Zechariah 14:5), all as now.
THEN in the prophecy, it was to be given, as it assuredly will be given, to repent of so treating their own Lord and finding Him and cleansing of heart through Him. This period is obviously, from the text of Zechariah, post-crucifixion, and likewise, near the end of the Age (as in Zechariah 14), and close to the return of this same Messiah in power, as before for sacrifice, to rule before this world is removed (as in Isaiah 51:6), when its day is done and a new heavens and a new earth is founded, in which righteousness dwells.
It is therefore important to heed the word of the Lord BOTH negatively, on NOT following the service of the surrounding nations, and postively, on returning to His care through the stricken and resurrected Messiah, who on the date by Daniel specified, did indeed suffer for sin and make free course back to Him therefore available in the divine salvation (cf. Isaiah 55)!
May your ears be acute! The Lord is astute, and nothing deceives Him; but He is quick (Psalm 145:17-21), to hear the cry of faith: now as then! And consider HOW quick it was, His deliverance in the day of the righteous King Hezekiah and the demolition of the Assyrian invasive force at that time (Isaiah 36-39)! and how marvellous were His delivering deeds! Indeed, while on this theme, why not consider with me likewise, the extraordinary means used to gain that historically verified deliverance (Isaiah 37:16-39). Indeed, ponder the prediction of Micah 7, a most moving Chapter, and the work of the Lord when the time comes to deliver Israel, as described and reported in 7:15ff..
This is a heritage, so it is good to possess it. But remember Micah 7:19ff., where the continuing mercy of the Lord is stressed, its coverage of and victory over sin for His people, and the fact that it is ONLY in His SON that this is to be gained (as in Psalm 2,16, 22, 40, Isaiah 49-55), and that the liberty so freely to gain, and the basis for it, is that shown by Daniel 9 (cf. Christ the Citadel Ch.2), a very long time ago, in fact in the area of A.D. 30 as we now measure time.
That is past; but as in Zechariah 12, it is precisely there that lies Israel's future, as in the New Testament in the gracious words of Romans 11, a charter of beauty and wisdom.
Then they are all one in Jesus
Christ, of the Jews for the Jew, of the Lord for all, God as man,
the unity without the follies of the nations, the morality without change, the principles without mutation, the beauty of holiness without loss. Then once more as with David in Psalm 27, it is time to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in His Temple, no longer of masonry now demolished, but born into flesh and sanctified in blood, His own, for a once for all sacrifice that all might be reconciled, yes whether in heaven or on earth (cf. Colossians 1:19ff.), by ONE Saviour in ONE offering at ONE time, for all time.
*1 An Aboriginal Matter
Material concerning this is taken from TMR, Ch. 8, as below.
See TMR Ch. 8.
*3 BOMBS AND BOMBAST
On this, see The Australian, January 20, 2011, in The Nation p. 7.
An Islamic preacher, we learn, points to heaven to indicate that Allah is the god for him, and to specify that it is this religious entity which should be obeyed, whose laws should be yielded to; and his message is to the government of Australia. He wants to teach Australians not only that his concept of what may be called god is correct, but that they must hate democracy, speak against it, "And, if that doesn't work, take action against it."
Now it is one thing to say we should all be dwarfs to cultural power, or to philosophic figments, or unverified religious wanderings, in a sort of Hyde Park fit; but it is quite another to point to the government of a country, which happens to be democratic, and to tell it that it should be obeying some law or other, perhaps sharia, which some zealot happens to prefer.
WHY should it ? Is it to become a chameleon for every and any preacher ? Now one might even excuse this as a measure of religious conviction, however grossly astray in reason and truth (cf. More Marvels ... Ch. 4), however self-contradictory as is the case here (cf. SMR pp. 1080ff.); but when it is added that "I want to go straight for the jugular vein and advise the parliament that they have no right to legislate," it is apparent that such a missionary politician has no reasonable place in a country which works on the basis that it DOES have the right to govern, does have a constitution of a democratic type,and should not step down for a religion contrary to that of its foundation. This is to seek the overthrow of government, not for its work in this or that, but as a METHOD of rule altogether.
It should at once be made quite clear that if the zealot finds it desirable to have a government of an Islamic kind, with its vast restrictions and requisitions and compulsions, its approach to women and to liberty, it is an easy matter to find one, for there are many such entities. This, however, is not such a one, and the desire of his heart is readily available elsewhere, to which he should early proceed, instead of advising the overthrow of our government in this irrational manner.
When further he adds of the Australian Government that they "should immediately step down, and let the Muslims take over," short of insanity, this is incitation to a coup. It should be met by telling him to go speedily to a country where his desire is already met, and to cease subversive action in this one, where it is not. That he insists that though force is not currently in mind, yet historically it is always used, this becomes in effect, if not an advocacy of force, a submission to the concept; and hence it reaches the point of assault on our land.
Freedom of speech is one thing; insistence of the need of change to be in fact found in force, is quite another; and direction to the Government to step down is not only incendiary, impudent, aggressive and foolish in such a case, but a mere propaganda show, a one man take-over of the Constitution, and a repudiation of the place which so far has received him.
The fact that this nation is currently at war with militant forms of Islam should not be forgotten, so that propaganda of this type becomes both a militant incitation and an insurgency. The freedom to speak is one thing; that to incite in physical terms and tell the government it should make way AS A TYPE, for a tiny segment of the people, is more than mere effrontery: it is revolt. The tongue is one thing; but as soon as force is in view, as an historical tool, in the current international setting, and a thing advised, we have a weapon of war operative. Indeed, freedom to debate would soon be a memory, if this clerical autocracy were in place; and that does little for truth. Capitulation to tyranny over the tongue, in a world of this type, is close to subversion of truth, dictatorship of unreason.
See Ch. 3 of this volume, as marked.