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The Man Is Not the Message

AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

I’m not going to get into the drama that will soon take the conservative world by storm. Rest assured, you’re going to get sick of it before the dust settles, so I won’t start kicking it up myself.

But before it unfolds, I want to remind my readers of something incredibly important; even a villain is capable of espousing truth. Even if the person was thought to be one of the greater heroes at the time and was found out to be a villain later, the truth remains the truth.

The man is not the message.

I think humans have a habit of attaching too much value to a person. Twitter, for instance, is a perfect example of how two people can say the exact same thing, and depending on who said it, the thing said can either be useless or worth its weight in gold.

I’ve tested this personally and found it to be true.

We create heroes because heroes can become focal points in our minds. It’s easy to organize good and evil when it’s personified. We can look at someone like George Soros and automatically know that whatever he’s up to isn’t good. In fact, it’s probably evil. At the same time, we can look at someone like C.S. Lewis and think “Here is a man who is filled to the brim with goodness.”

Anything out of their respective mouths can immediately be put into a respective category.

But both of these men and indeed all men, are fallible humans. If C.S. Lewis was, at some point, revealed to have done evil, it wouldn’t make his apologetics any less true. Writing off anything he had said on the subject of men and their relationship with God would be unwise.

When you get right down to it, only one man was so tied to His message that the two were inseparable, and He was actual divinity. No man can ever measure up to that kind of perfection, and while we should all strive to, it should be well understood that no man will ever reach it.

But the truth is the truth. Facts are facts. Logic is logic. Anyone, even the mentally deranged man shouting at cars on the corner, can speak any of these things at any moment. A person’s identity, social standing, or level of intelligence doesn’t make the truth any less the truth.

This is important to keep in mind as the days unfold. Your favorite politician, philosopher, or commentator may prove to be nothing like what he or she originally appeared to be, but if and when the truth finally comes out, you need not wonder if the truths that came out of their mouth are all suspect. They aren’t.

The truth is immutable. Logic and fact aren’t anything but what they are. Common sense cannot be anything other than common sense. No one can change that.

The message is not the man.

If anything, if someone of great renown stumbles, it’s up to you and everyone else to pick up the message they’d been espousing and carry it on. Be a better bearer of the message than they were, when you do.

Remember that it’s good to have heroes, but you don’t necessarily need them. Winning a war takes more than just one or two people. It takes a lot of people. Heroes are nice to have. They’re good a rallying people, and they can make war easier to fight, but ultimately, heroes are just as liable to mistakes as everyone else. They can also be capable of great evil and can threaten to undo any progress made in the war.

But the message is not the man.

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