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Sunday, August 26, 2018

Liberals Long Ago Abandoned the Idea that “Truth is Truth”

At the end of 2016—and as they themselves declared, much in response to the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States—Oxford Dictionaries named “post-truth” as its 2016 “word of the year.” In other words, because Donald Trump had ascended to the White House, the largest university press in the world decided that much of the American electorate had simply abandoned the truth. Like-minded liberals the world over have decided that we who elected Mr. Trump must be taught a lesson.

Such efforts demonstrate a particularly rich hypocrisy and blind ignorance of their own condition, for in their lust to rule their own world, modern liberals long ago decided to cast aside the fundamental axioms that comprise absolute truth. For such liberals, the age-old quest for “what is truth” has been abandoned or become a foolish and fruitless exercise where “relativism” rules the day.

This is particularly true for liberals in politics, media, and academia—i.e., those leading the charge in trying to reverse the results of the 2016 U.S. Presidential election. As Ravi Zacharias noted is his column addressing Oxford’s “post-truth” conclusions,
These two bastions of values, the academy and the media—where relativism flows in their veins—have become the town criers of this new word. Castigating the politicians, they untruthfully predicted the destination of the untruthful. Excoriating an electorate gone amuck, they wondered how people could be duped into a lie. Having themselves swallowed a camel, they were now straining at a gnat. They are the primary carriers of manipulation with words and repeating distortions often enough to make them into truths. They are the origin of this reality of caring not for truth but for impact and for the manipulation of all thinking. Their victory is pyrrhic.
Knowing well that those after his boss “are the primary carriers of manipulation with words and repeating distortions often enough to make them into truths,” Rudy Giuliani recently told NBC’s Chuck Todd,
…I am not going to be rushed into having him testify so that he gets trapped into perjury. And when you tell me that, you know, he should testify because he’s going to tell the truth and he shouldn’t worry, well that’s so silly because it’s somebody’s version of the truth. Not the truth.
After this statement, shaking his head, Mr. Todd laughingly concluded that “Truth is truth.” Mr. Giuliani should have asked, “Whose Truth, Chuck?” Nevertheless, and again, understanding well who he’s dealing with, Mr. Giuliani regrettably declared that “Truth isn’t truth.” Knowing they had a meme with which they could skewer President Trump and his supporters, gleeful liberals across the U.S. seized upon Giuliani’s three words and enthusiastically engaged in scurrilous scoffing and merciless mocking. In one of the greatest acts of hypocrisy in human history, it was as if in unison they were declaring, “See, we told you dupes that these guys were fools and liars!”

In spite of their recent crowing about “the truth,” few things in the universe are as blind or ambivalent as the truth detectors employed by today’s left. In other words, modern liberalism is notoriously bankrupt and decidedly lost when it comes to producing or discerning the truth.

If there is anything, there is truth. As Thomas Aquinas put it,
The existence of truth is self-evident. For whoever denies the existence of truth grants that truth does not exist: and, if truth does not exist, then the proposition ‘Truth does not exist’ is true: and if there is anything true, there must be truth.
Such a conclusion is in direct contradiction with modern liberalism. John Dewey, a humanist and one of the founding thinkers behind modern liberalism, put it this way,
There is no God and there is no soul. Hence, there are no needs for the props of traditional religion. With dogma and creed excluded, then immutable truth is also dead and buried. There is no room for fixed, natural law or moral absolutes.
In other words, to admit that there is “immutable truth” is to admit that God exists. Since many want nothing to do with His moral law—especially on matters in the sexual realm—then there can be no truth. Thus, one could say that efforts of modern liberalism could be succinctly summed up as a “war on the truth.”

The consequences of such selfish pursuits have been tragically profound. Virtually every institution that truth-deprived modern liberalism has infected has been corrupted. Whether politics, education, entertainment, corporations, the church, or the family, every significant institution upon which any sound society rests becomes vulnerable to all sorts of nonsense, chaos, and evil once the godless relativism that permeates modern liberalism takes hold.

As we have so often heard, “the truth will set us free.” Sadly, many today have twisted this to mean that “I get to make my own truth so I’m free to do as I please.” No. As Dr. Zacharias reminds us, “True freedom is not the liberty to do as we please; rather, it is to do as we ought. For that we need the truth.”

Just prior to His final act on earth, at one of the most pivotal points in human history, Jesus was asked by Pilate (John 18:37): “What is truth?” Everything precious in the universe hinges on how that question is answered. If we want an honest answer, must look to the One who made the universe and who told us, “I am the truth.”

One of my graduate school mathematics texts—Roads to Geometry—begins with this declaration: “The truth of these axioms [the presuppositions upon which the mathematics is rightfully developed] is not at issue—just the readers’ willingness to accept them as true.” The Bible could end with the same.

(See this column at American Thinker.)

Copyright 2018, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor is the author of the The Miracle and Magnificence of America

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