Truth, Untruth, and the danger of worshipping Power
My first few posts have dealt with the need to believe Truth exists, and, more importantly, that need to spend our lives trying to discover its reality. Most contemporary thinkers in the academy dismiss the notion of Truth; for them, anything an individual comes to view as true is a product of a “constructed” reality, a reality most often imposed on them unconsciously by the society or culture in which they were raised. More sinister yet, such truths are imposed on the unwitting members of society by the powerful, who get to define the truth as they wish it to be seen, so that we come to see truth as grounded in power, rather than God, nature, or any kind of universal, objective force.
The problem is that one must choose which God to worship—the God of Truth, or the god of Untruth—and that choice requires a leap of faith. When you argue with most of our academic elite today, they will agree that all truth claims are grounded in power; what they are less likely to admit is that they have come to that belief by an act of faith. The most trouble that I got in as a doctoral student in graduate school was when I argued that an individual’s understanding of truth was constructed, but that it did not follow that Truth itself was a construct. The idea that we construct our understanding of truth is common sense 101. The idea that there is no such thing as Truth, and that we make it up as we go, leads to nowhere.
Why nowhere, you ask?
Because it means that nothing is real, and all attempts to prove otherwise are foolish. This wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for the fact that the Untruth crowd still concocts ways to use power to impose a reality on the societies in which they live and seek influence. Most modern members of the progressive left admirably seek to bring about a state of “social justice” in our often unjust world, but the assumptions that underpin their cause denies the very notion that such justice exists. It’s just a “constructed” idea of social justice that they would like the rest of society to accept because of the power of their collective wills.
Now, like Socrates—who spent his life trying to define Justice (among other things)—I have some real sympathy for the Truth of the fact that injustice really exists in the world, and that human beings and the societies they live in should be about the business of bringing about a just State. But justice can’t be just some made-up idea, a political platform that can be slapped together and shoved down the collective throats of the just and unjust alike. No—it has to be grounded in reality. And it must bring about Justice For All—not just some marginalized or persecuted group. If we fail to come to grips with the fact that Justice is a universal Truth whose reality ALL human beings deserve to be subject to–and beneficiaries of–then the political powers of the day will simply continue to abuse their power to subjugate, marginalize, and persecute the politically out-of-favor groups of tomorrow.
And we will be nowhere all over again.