ROMNEY WORDSWORTH – I want to take a time out from my usual current events topics to have a discussion of the truth, because until we understand what the truth is, a discussion of anything else is meaningless. Truth is reality as it actually exists, not as we necessarily perceive it, or as we would wish it to be. Truth is trans-cultural; if something is true, it is true for all persons at all times. For example, “2+2=4” is true for everyone, everywhere, all the time. Truth is unchanging, even though our beliefs about the truth may change. For example, when humanity began to believe the Earth was round rather than flat, such beliefs were, and still are, irrelevant to the immutable fact that the Earth is a sphere.
By the same token, beliefs can not change a fact. For that reason, it is of absolutely no consequence whatsoever how many scientists say they are unified in their belief in man made global warming. Weight of opinion does not make something true. The truth is not influenced by consensus. Just ask Galileo. The truth is not altered by the attitude or the reputation of the person who speaks it accurately. If Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton say that the sky is blue on a sunny day, the sky is still blue no matter how you happen to feel about Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.
All truths are absolute and exclusive. There is no relativity in real truth. If the color of my eyes are hazel, that is an absolute fact that excludes all other possible eye colors. All religions make absolute truth claims, although not all of them can be true. Even the secular humanist and the atheist make absolute, exclusive truth claims, the same as the theist or the Christian does. As to the existence of God, for example, only one school of thought can be right, to the exclusion of all the others.
We demand the truth in many aspects of our lives. We demand the truth from our loved ones. No one wants lies from their spouse or children. We demand the truth from our doctors. No one wants an incorrect diagnosis or not to know their true medical condition. We demand the truth from stock brokers, butchers, bankers, and all the other vendors that we routinely interact with. No one wants to have defective products or services sold to them. We demand the truth from our courts. No one wants the innocent to be unfairly convicted.
It is a curiosity of the modern world, therefore, that so many Americans today no longer expect, or demand, the truth from our news media or those holding public office. A corollary curiosity of the modern world is that so many Americans today aren’t interested in the truth when it comes to morality, religion, or God. Indeed, the modern conventional wisdom of the Pop Culture is that there are no absolute truths when it comes to morality, religion, or God.
A common statement heard in the salons and the classrooms of America today is that: “All truth is relative.” Another one is: “There are no absolutes.” A third is that: “There is no truth.” These are actually all examples of what is known as a Self-Defeating Statement. A Self-Defeating Statement is one that fails to meet its own standard. For instance, the statement “there is no truth” claims to be true and thus defeats itself. It’s like saying: “I can’t speak of word of English.”
Thus, to the cosmopolitan agnostic who declares (no doubt loudly and in a boorish manner) that “there are no absolutes”, one only need reply: “Are you absolutely sure of that? Isn’t your statement itself one that asserts an absolute?” If there really were no truth, then why try to learn anything? Why should any student listen to any professor if he doesn’t have the truth? What’s the point of going to school, or more pertinently, paying for college?
In another vein, what’s the point of obeying moral proscriptions against cheating or stealing if there is no truth? Ideas have consequences, and if you subscribe to nihilism as a society, than that is precisely what you will get. False ideas about the truth lead to false ideas about life. If you deny the concept of an absolute, unchanging truth, then you deny the concept of any true religion or morality.
So truth exists. It cannot be denied. Those who try to deny truth make self-defeating truth claims that there is no truth.
Speaking the Truth can set you free. Speaking the Truth can make you very powerful. I see that the latest poll for Florida has Donald Trump at an astounding 48%. Trump regularly speaks the truth, and damn the consequences. Hillary Clinton is seeing her support among voters younger than 50 evaporate. Many are discovering her role in enabling Bill Clinton’s serial sexual assaults. For Liars, the Truth is like a Blood Hound. It will track you down tirelessly no matter how hard you try to hide from it.