If God exists and rules the world, then the human who rules the world must at least not disagree with God. But how can a ruler agree with God?
More pragmatically: how can a ruler make themselves seem to agree with God?
Well, let's see. What does everyone think is bad? Killing? Well, what about war? or revenge? Killing is too complex. How about rape? No, lots of ancient peoples are perfectly fine with rape -- and lots of modern people too. Racism? Nope, clearly some people feel strongly that racism is bad and others, like say people who commit genocide, feel strongly that it is just fine. Lets' go down the list...
...hang on, what about lying? Surely nobody wants anyone to tell them a lie. Maybe it's fine to lie to your enemies, but it is absolutely never fine to lie to me.
So maybe lying is a pretty non-controversial thing that everybody hates and a thing that a God that enforces morality is probably against.
Trump liar compilation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQ7_bo74VMA
Hillary liar compilation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dY77j6uBHI
[the trump snippets in this video more directly contradict one another than the hillary snippets which are often many years apart..but also why is self-contradiction seen as conclusive lie?? i guess emerson's frustration here..find better examples, but other examples on quick youtube search are also about contradictions not lies]
The importance of truth-telling in leadership seems to have become a particularly contentious issue in the Trump era:
- President Trump often speaks of "fake news", co-opting the term his opponents had used to attack right-leaning stories shared on social media. Trump is the truth-teller; his detractors are liars.
- During the campaign, candidate Trump repeated the phrase 'crooked Hillary' (LINK, VIDEO?) and regularly claimed that she could not be trusted to speak the truth. (Presumably this was part of his strategy of associating Hillary Clinton with her husband, whom detractors often called 'slick Willie' and who was charged with perjury during impeachment hearings that ultimately failed.)
- As both candidate and president, Trump has enjoyed and cultivated the reputation of someone who "tells it like it is".
- The truth/lies dichotomization in the Trump era is also the culmination of many years of broader politicized accusations of dishonesty especially in mass media. For years conservative public figures have been accusing the ‘mainstream media’ (‘MSM’) of bias and sometimes outright lies. The accusation goes back much farther: German radicals since the middle of the nineteenth century (Marxists and Nazis alike) attacked the Lügenpresse (‘lying-press’). And it goes back farther still: the Gospel of John (8:44), Satan is called a liar (Greek: ψεύστης) and ‘the father of the lie’.
This piece of Persian royal propaganda (which also continues the tradition of the Cyrus Cylinder) ties together three themes that either Trump himself or his supporters have also tied together: combat against the lie, appointment by God, and restoration of the people's former glory.
The carving is still visible today.
Darius' enemy: the lie that multiplied in the land
- King Darius says: The following is what was done by me after I became king. A son of Cyrus, named Cambyses , one of our dynasty, was king here before me. That Cambyses had a brother, Smerdis by name, of the same mother and the same father as Cambyses. Afterwards, Cambyses slew this Smerdis. When Cambyses slew Smerdis, it was not known unto the people that Smerdis was slain. Thereupon Cambyses went to Egypt. When Cambyses had departed into Egypt, the people became hostile, and the lie multiplied in the land, even in Persia and Media, and in the other provinces.
- King Darius says: Afterwards, there was a certain man, a Magian [maguš], Gaumâta by name, who raised a rebellion in Paishiyauvada, in a mountain called Arakadriš. On the fourteenth day of the month Viyaxana (11 March 522 BC) did he rebel. He lied to the people, saying: 'I am Smerdis, the son of Cyrus, the brother of Cambyses.' Then were all the people in revolt, and from Cambyses they went over unto him, both Persia and Media, and the other provinces. He seized the kingdom; on the ninth day of the month Garmapada (1 July 522 BC) he seized the kingdom. Afterwards, Cambyses died of natural causes.
- King Darius says: The kingdom of which Gaumâta, the Magian, dispossessed Cambyses, had always belonged to our dynasty. After that Gaumâta, the Magian, had dispossessed Cambyses of Persia and Media, and of the other provinces, he did according to his will. He became king.
- King Darius says: There was no man, either Persian or Mede or of our own dynasty, who took the kingdom from Gaumâta, the Magian. The people feared him exceedingly, for he slew many who had known the real Smerdis. For this reason did he slay them, 'that they may not know that I am not Smerdis, the son of Cyrus.' There was none who dared to act against Gaumâta, the Magian, until I came. Then I prayed to Ahuramazda; Ahuramazda brought me help. On the tenth day of the month Bâgayâdiš (29 September 522 BC) I, with a few men, slew that Gaumâta, the Magian, and the chief men who were his followers. At the stronghold called Sikayauvatiš, in the district called Nisaia in Media, I slew him; I dispossessed him of the kingdom. By the grace of Ahuramazda I became king; Ahuramazda granted me the kingdom.
- King Darius says: The kingdom that had been wrested from our line I brought back and I reestablished it on its foundation. The temples which Gaumâta, the Magian, had destroyed, I restored to the people, and the pasture lands, and the herds and the dwelling places, and the houses which Gaumâta, the Magian, had taken away. I settled the people in their place, the people of Persia, and Media, and the other provinces. I restored that which had been taken away, as it was in the days of old. This did I by the grace of Ahuramazda, I labored until I had established our dynasty in its place, as in the days of old; I labored, by the grace of Ahuramazda, so that Gaumâta, the Magian, did not dispossess our house.
(Behistun Inscription, column 1, lines 10-15)
Thus, at least, did Darius (claim to) come to power in Persia. But the king of Persia is also the ‘king of kings’ (Persian: shahanshah), the ruler of the universe -- The King, as even the Greeks acknowledged (LINK TO COSMOPOLIS). So the inscription goes on to tell how Darius conquered many other kings, non-Persians who had also ‘lied to the people’.
The list of lying kings
The Persian defeats other kings precisely because they are liars. The link between truth-telling and universal rule is explicit. At the end, Darius summarizes his universal rule against all pretenders -- the kings whose pictures form the bottom half of the inscription -- by accusing every other king of ‘lying’ (Old Persian: adurujiya, literally ‘he lied’) that they were kings or sons of kings:
- King Darius says: This is what I have done. By the grace of Ahuramazda have I always acted. After I became king, I fought nineteen battles in a single year and by the grace of Ahuramazda I overthrew nine kings and I made them captive.
- One was named Gaumâta, the Magian; he lied, saying 'I am Smerdis [Bardiya], the son of Cyrus [Kûruš].' He made Persia to revolt.
- Another was named Âššina, the Elamite [Ûvjiya]; he lied, saying: 'I am king the king of Elam.' He made Elam to revolt.
- Another was named Nidintu-Bêl [Naditabaira], the Babylonian [Bâbiruviya]; he lied, saying: 'I am Nebuchadnezzar [Nabukudracara], the son of Nabonidus [Nabunaita].' He made Babylon to revolt.
- Another was named Martiya, the Persian; he lied, saying: 'I am Ummanniš, the king of Elam.' He made Elam to revolt.
- Another was Phraortes [Fravartiš], the Mede [Mâda]; he lied, saying: 'I am Khshathrita, of the dynasty of Cyaxares [Uvaxštra].' He made Media to revolt.
- Another was Tritantaechmes [Ciçataxma], the Sagartian [Asagartiya]; he lied, saying: 'I am king in Sagartia, of the dynasty of Cyaxares [Uvaxštra].' He made Sagartia to revolt.
- Another was named Frâda, of Margiana; he lied, saying: 'I am king of Margiana [Marguš].' He made Margiana to revolt.
- Another was Vahyazdâta, a Persian; he lied, saying: 'I am Smerdis [Bardiya], the son of Cyrus [Kûruš].' He made Persia to revolt.
- Another was Arakha, an Armenian [Arminiya]; he lied, saying: 'I am Nebuchadnezzar, [Nabu-kudra-asura], son of Nabonidus.' He made Babylon to revolt.
- King Darius says: These nine king did I capture in these wars.
- King Darius says: As to these provinces which revolted, lies made them revolt, so that they deceived the people. Then Ahuramazda delivered them into my hand; and I did unto them according to my will.
- King Darius says: You who shall be king hereafter, protect yourself vigorously from lies; punish the liars well, if thus you shall think, 'May my country be secure!'
(Behistun Inscription, column 4, lines 52-55)
- King Darius says: On this account Ahuramazda brought me help, and all the other gods, all that there are, because I was not wicked, nor was I a liar, nor was I a despot, neither I nor any of my family. I have ruled according to righteousness. Neither to the weak nor to the powerful did I do wrong. Whosoever helped my house, him I favored; he who was hostile, him I destroyed.
- King Darius says: You who may be king hereafter, whosoever shall be a liar or a rebel, or shall not be friendly, punish him!
(Behistun Inscription, column 4, lines 63-64)
Herodotus’ nope: Darius came to power by justifying lies
Herodotus’ version of Darius’ rise to power is rather different. Herodotus agrees that the man Darius overthrew claimed to be a man he was not. (NOTE ON EARLESS SMERDIS AND THE AVESTAN HEARING-DESTROYER) But in Herodotus’ version of the coup, Darius’ plan worked only because Darius not only invented a clever lie, but also insisted that some lies are acceptable, even necessary:
To this [Darius has just tried to force his fellow conspirators to act immediately, or else Darius will reveal the conspiracy to the pretend-king] Otanes [a co-conspirator with close ties to the royal family, who had been more or less the leader of the coup until Darius joined] replied, seeing Darius' vehemence, “Since you force us to hurry and will tolerate no delay, tell us now yourself how we shall pass into the palace and attack them. For you know yourself, I suppose, if not because you have seen them then you have heard, that guards are stationed all around; how shall we go past the guards?”  “Otanes,” answered Darius, “there are many things that cannot be described in words, but in deed; and there are other things that can be described in words, but nothing illustrious comes of them. You know well that the guards who are set are easy to go by.  There is no one who will not allow us to pass, from respect or from fear, because of who we are; and further, I have myself the best pretext for entering, for I shall say that I have just arrived from Persia and have a message for the king from my father.  When it is necessary to lie, lie (ἔνθα γάρ τι δεῖ ψεῦδος λέγεσθαι, λεγέσθω). For we want the same thing, liars and those who tell the truth; some lie to win credence and advantage by lies, while others tell the truth in order to obtain some advantage by the truth and to be more trusted; thus we approach the same ends by different means.  If the hope of advantage were taken away, the truth-teller would be as ready to lie as the liar to tell the truth. Now if any of the watchmen willingly let us pass, it will be better for him later. But if any tries to withstand us, let us note him as an enemy, and so thrust ourselves in and begin our work.”
Herodotus’ depiction of Darius seems so directly opposed to the story carved on Mount Behistun that some scholars believe that Darius commissioned the inscription precisely in order to claim legitimacy for a rule that was obviously illegitimate -- or that Herodotus actually saw the inscription (or a copy) and directly attacked Darius’ claim that he came to power by siding with the truth against the lie.
Truth and fitting-together: arda/asha
Darius’ cosmic role: I am the servant of God
(2) King Darius says: My father is Hystaspes [Vištâspa]; the father of Hystaspes was Arsames [Aršâma]; the father of Arsameswas Ariaramnes [Ariyâramna]; the father of Ariaramnes was Teispes [Cišpiš]; the father of Teispes was Achaemenes[Haxâmaniš].
(3) King Darius says: That is why we are called Achaemenids; from antiquity we have been noble; from antiquity has our dynasty been royal.
(4) King Darius says: Eight of my dynasty were kings before me; I am the ninth. Nine in succession we have been kings.
(6) King Darius says: These are the countries which are subject unto me, and by the grace of Ahuramazda I became king of them: Persia [Pârsa], Elam [Ûvja], Babylonia [Bâbiruš], Assyria [Athurâ], Arabia [Arabâya], Egypt [Mudrâya], the countries by the Sea, Lydia [Sparda], the Greeks [Yauna (Ionia)], Media [Mâda], Armenia [Armina], Cappadocia [Katpatuka], Parthia[Parthava], Drangiana [Zraka], Aria [Haraiva], Chorasmia [Uvârazmîy], Bactria [Bâxtriš], Sogdia [Suguda], Gandhara [Gadâra], Scythia [Saka], Sattagydia [Thataguš], Arachosia [Harauvatiš] and Maka [Maka]; twenty-three lands in all.
(7) King Darius says: These are the countries which are subject to me; by the grace of Ahuramazda they became subject to me; they brought tribute unto me. Whatsoever commands have been laid on them by me, by night or by day, have been performed by them.
(8) King Darius says: Within these lands, whosoever was a friend, him have I surely protected; whosoever was hostile, him have I utterly destroyed. By the grace of Ahuramazdathese lands have conformed to my decrees; as it was commanded unto them by me, so was it done.