The thought below are from Joel McDurmon.
(I just agree with it!)
INTELLECTUAL INTEGRITY VERSUS HATING THE LEFT
One of the things most dear to my heart and agenda as a Christian thinker is intellectual integrity. It is the ninth commandment—thou shalt not lie—applied to discourse, thought, etc. It’s so simple. Yet it seems so difficult for many people. I am especially concerned here with Christian and conservative thinkers who repeat lies and falsehoods in order to score political points or pander to their base (sometimes to make money).
Here is an example I have wanted to address for a long time. This will make some of you uncomfortable, but the reason for that is in part because we put team-loyalty ahead of intellectual integrity. The subject here is a clear intellectual opponent of biblical ethics, Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger.
In the article linked here, Sanger is presented as “an avowed White Supremist” because she allegedly said, “…colored people are human weeds and need to be exterminated… reckless breeders… spawning… human beings who never should have been born…”
The problem with this is that it is fake news. The quotation is fake. She never said it. Further, this is *easily* discoverable with a simple Google search. Yet as often as I see such quotations, it seems the eager sharers never even perform the slightest check before they click share.
Quite frankly, after considerable reading on this, the things Sanger said that were anywhere near close enough to this type of sentiment to get twisted into this are nevertheless easily understandable. In other words, it takes effort to get this out of what she did say. It is still possible that she was a white supremacist of sorts, though I do not know. But she never said this, and she never said a good number of things for which she is condemned. In other cases, things she did say have been twisted from context to look sinister, when in reality they are benign.
For example, she is widely quoted as saying, “We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population.” This is cited by many conservatives as if she were trying to conceal her movement’s true agenda: as in, “We don’t want this secret to get out. . . .” The truth is, as anyone who reads her actual letter about “The Negro Project” can tell, she was trying to squash a FALSE rumor before it started. I.e., “We don’t want the falsehood to get out . . . so we must take steps to prevent this.”
I don’t care who much you hate Sanger and how evil she may have been, she did not say this, and saying she did makes you a perpetuator of lies, or possibly a direct liar yourself.
Another example is a video interview that purposefully edits her IN MID-SENTENCE, I kid you not, in order to make her say something far more extreme than she was saying. This clip was used by alt-right celebrity Bill Whittle with glee to chop her down as the kind of dictator who wanted to round up “entire populations” of “undesirables” in Nazi-style or Communist “death camps.”
She is quoted by these guys as saying, “For my view, I believe that there should be no more babies.”
Period, end of discussion. Now if it were left only to that, I would agree this is ridiculously callous, misanthropic, extreme, and stupid. And she may have been all of those things, too, but not because of this quotation—because it is deceptively edited.
To begin with, the context was 1947 Europe, in the aftermath of WWII, with a burned out, rebuilding, impoverished continent. Next, they cut off the sentence after “babies,” inserting a virtual “period” where none belongs. Her sentence was chopped off. The full sentence contains a crucial qualifier which drastically changes the meaning of the sentence:
“For my view, I believe that there should be no more babies *in starving countries for the next ten years.*”
See the difference? This was not about ending the human race. This was not about hating babies. This was not about eliminating whole populations. It was not even necessarily about what is understood by some as “population control.” This was about a temporary measure to address a unique post-war circumstance: the effects of a rapidly increasing the population in a drastically war-torn, impoverished culture. It was only in the post-war “impoverished” context, and it was only for ten years.
Perhaps you disagree with here on all counts on that issue. Perhaps you still think she’s a beast. Fine. But don’t lie about what she said.
Maybe you still think she’s a white supremacist. Fine. But don’t tell lies.
Maybe you think she’s an evil person. Fine. Demonstrate it with facts. Just check your facts before you pretend to demonstrate it.
Even if she is an evil, racist, murderous beast does not give you the right to lie or spread lies.
Further, there are practical outfalls from this that are reasons you should not lie even about your enemies.
First, you are called by your King to the highest standard of integrity, and this includes intellectual integrity. When you tell lies, you defy Jesus Christ. This puts you on the same ethical level as your enemies who also defy Christ.
I understand that we want to stop abortion. But if we sell our souls in the process, what have we gained? When you cast your own integrity out the window in an effort to expose someone else’s lack of integrity, what have you gained? When it is discovered, they will end up looking better than you do.
Second, when you lie about your enemies, it empowers and helps your enemies. The leftist and liberal followers of Sanger are often elitists who already believe their conservative detractors are ignorant, dishonest, and oppressive. When conservatives perpetuate lies like this (especially those that are easily disprovable), they do nothing but prove their enemies right. They give ammunition to them to keep showing how ignorant, stupid, and intellectually dishonest is the conservative case (as they believe).
The leftists always tell THEIR base that the conservative message is one of backwardness and is only sustained on fear and lies. When you do things that prove them right, you only encourage them and energize their base.
It encourages them because the lies are so EASY to disprove. This further provides them a tool with which to evangelize and *expand* their base. “Look, these conservatives do nothing but tell stupid lies about us. See? (Shows easily disprovable lies.)” Whom do you think young people are going to follow when THAT set of facts is laid before them? This is how you lose a culture war.
This matters because God has told us truth matters, and he has also called us to love even our enemies. Those who think we can give this a pass because the cause is so much greater (ending abortion, defunding PP, whatever) are simply practicing an “ends justify the means” ethic. This is the very ethic the left uses to justify abortion. Adopting your enemy’s ethics is how you lose a culture war.
Now, I know this will make some of you uncomfortable. No doubt, some will PM each other or even state publicly, “There goes Joel McDurmon again, sliding further liberal.” They will say, “Why would you defend Margaret Sanger.”
I am not defending Margaret Sanger. I am defending intellectual integrity. Some of you have failed at it, and a few do routinely.
When you react in this knee-jerk way, realize you are not acting according to facts, reason, truth, and integrity, but out of some partisan loyalty. You have accepted the promotion of lies and falsehoods by *your* side because *your* guys are the good guys—Christians, Republicans, conservatives, your favorite celebrities, whatever. But when the other side does it, it is evil.
When you do this, you prove only that you are just as much a collectivist thinker as the leftists, statists, communists, and socialists you claim to despise.
Some of you simply hate the left so much, you do this all the time.
Our call as Christians—whether scholars, journalists, leaders, homemakers, or any other profession and calling—is to exemplify the ethic of Christ as individuals. Sometimes, this means taking a stand that is unpopular even among your friends. Sometimes, Paul must get in Peter’s face.
All of us need to get in our own faces every time we get ready to share stuff like this. Check your facts.
If your favorite leaders refuse this ethic, then you need to get rid of the leaders, not the ethics. Your choice will reveal your intellectual integrity.
“Am I therefore you enemy because I tell you the truth?” (Gal. 4:16).
See the Whittle clip here: https://youtu.be/9IvPhKuDPGM?t=262
The original from Sanger here: https://youtu.be/_BG11OHrCDk?t=49Joel McDurmon