May 18, 2022
In war-time, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.
DE HAERETICO COMBURENDO, signed into law by Henry IV of England, allowed diocesan authorities to refer unrepentant heretics to the secular arm for burning. It was intended to suppress “wicked heretical and erroneous opinions,” the misinformation of the day. No one is burning today’s heretics, but our entire population is subject to ostracism for straying from approved “truths” regarding subjects such as alternative treatments for COVID, the dangers of the vaccines, the 2020 election, the January 6 insurrection, transsexuals, and the causes of the war in Ukraine. To the extent American life is dominated by the prevailing narratives among the mass media, politically active corporate interests, government, and academia, the spirit of the First Amendment is dead. Our elites thirst for “content moderation” and have created the new “Disinformation Governance Board.” Few stand for the bedrock principle of liberal republicanism: that only free discussion can lead the voters to make informed political choices.
Instead, free discussion is condemned as sedition, treason, hate, violence, racism, antisemitism, or conspiracy theory. “Free speech,” “safe streets,” “good schools,” “international bankers,” and “Wall Street” are disparaged as “dog whistles” for bigotry. Yet a good citizen should unmask approved lies at every opportunity. Mass disobedience is the only remedy for such smothering despotism.
ON THE OTHER HAND, the idiosyncratic conservativism of the Society acknowledges that the world is fallen; that it is governed by “the prince of the power of the air”; that “he is a liar and the father of lies”; that we wrestle “against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, and against spiritual wickedness in high places”; and that “the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth.” We do not believe that our Constitution, however providential in its excellence, extirpated original sin from our people. Accordingly, we understand that wise leaders will encounter instances when they must mislead the people for their own good, and that corrupt leaders will exercise the same power for their own good. It was ever so.
THE CHAIRMAN, never one to truckle to authoritarian restrictions on his speech, has called a caucus of the Society to debate the following proposition:
RESOLVED: Misinformation is now the most dangerous heresy.
The Debate will be held on Wednesday, May 18, 2022, at Burger Moe’s, 242 West 7th Street, St. Paul, MN 55102.
The Chancellor and Chairman encourage people to arrive before 7 o’clock p.m. and to thank our host venue by spending money while partaking of food and drink. The debate will begin at half past seven. Gentlemen who wish to speak must wear a tie, and ladies are asked to uphold a similar sartorial standard. For gentlemen arriving sans tie yet wishing to discourse on the resolution, the Purveyor of Ties will have on hand several from his remarkable collection. Questions regarding caucus procedures or about the John Adams Society may be directed to the Chairman at (651) 398-9316 or the Secretary at (612) 703-6021.