Is Time Dead?

Time TruthI don’t mean “is time dead?” in the Einstein/quantum mechanics sense of special relativity, but rather, “Is Time magazine dead?” Time has shown up this week with an homage of sorts to one of its most famous covers from 1967, “Is God Dead?” While the cover designs are identical, it is worth mentioning a third in Time‘s “Is [something] dead?” series: in 1989, Time ran a cover wondering, “Is Government Dead?”

I noted at the time (heh) in First Things magazine that “Is God Dead?” and “Is Government Dead?” were substantially the same article (because for liberals Government is the modern substitute for God) but that Time‘s editor and writers were too dense to notice:

Time GodThe irony, which is surely lost on Time’s editors, is that God and Government are in a doubtful state for remarkably similar reasons. These two cover stories could, without much work, be combined into one treatment. Furthermore, Time is likely to remain oblivious to its role in the executioner’s chorus for both God and Government. . .

Time rightly perceives that things are in a mess. It is much less clear on the causes of this mess. In the God essay twenty-four years ago, Time noted that the image of God as a “wonder worker” was a discredited, if not paltry, view of the Deity. Today Government, which at the time of the death of God was celebrated by Time as the omnipotent progenitor of the Great Society, is no better than a “dispenser of largesse.” Government as ersatz wonder worker is dead, too.

Time GovtIt must be awfully despairing to be a Time editor these days. God is dead. Government is dead, and on top of it all we may be at the End of History. God, who can take care of Himself, has already made a comeback. But democratic Government, a human contrivance, is less secure. Time in 1966 said that the postwar religious revival was over, just a few years before the explosion of attendance at evangelical churches. Today, Time thinks Ronald Reagan’s philosophy of government was a “costly irrelevancy,” and that George Bush is hopeless as a leader. The people of America have proven remarkably resistant to the crisis of faith that infects Time. They keep electing conservative Presidents by large margins. They keep going to church. The really incredible thing is that anyone keeps reading Time.

Do read the whole thing (my old First Things essay, not the stupid Time article, which you can skip), which is easy to extend to Time‘s present worry about how truth is dead. But as I’ve mentioned here before, who is responsible for the idea that “truth is relative” (short answer: liberals), and as such does Time magazine have any standing to complain about our supposed “post-truth” state of affairs, in which a man calling himself a woman, or a white person calling herself black, is accepted a face value?

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