Lies and Perspectival Truth


Some of us deserve to apologize for acting as if truth is just a matter of perspective. Such an attitude contributes to the mockery of expertise and authority, even when it is legitimate. Opinions become parents of beliefs, and then gain currency as disrespect for the truth of anything and everything grows into an immense, aggressive weed.

Surely, the link between perception and truth is problematic, but to then say, as a popular meme proclaims “There is no truth, only perception.” is to engage in destructive simplification. When 98% of our most august scientific body says “Climate change is caused by human behavior”, we do need to acknowledge that some thoughtful people disagree. However, that those who disagree are but a trickle compared to a Columbia River of opinion  blaming humans for climate change is for me about as close to truth as we can expect to come for most policy questions, and we should just for simplicity sake call that dominant opinion “truth” and get to work with the full recognition that we might be wrong.

These thoughts emerged as I tried to understand how an adult could say that “climate change” is an idea is a Chinese scam. But then I saw David Hare’s “Stuff Happens”. Eureka.  I was making a faulty assumption. I stupidly thught people might believe what they say. Encountering this paly about the decision to start the Iraq War reminds us of the ease with which some lie and lie and lie to attain their ends.

Listen to our future President when asked whether to unify the nation, he should admit that some things he said were untrue.  His response was a puzzled “No, I won.”

Add a Comment