Saturday, September 19, 2009

Truth - It is Time to Start Talking Again

Audacity of Logic readers have come to expect critical thinking and logical presentation of facts in all of our commentaries, so let's talk about some hot button issues.  The Attorney General of the United States said that Americans did not have the guts to talk about racism today.  I think he is perhaps correct, but not because we are cowards and all racists at heart.  I believe he threw that out knowing that in March of 2009, we would not engage.  I believe in March, he was right.  I believe in September, he will be proven wrong.

For the past few decades, we as a people have been told not to critically discuss issues amongst ourselves that would cause disagreements and lead to fiery debate.  You know the adage and the admonition that you should not discuss politics or religion and let us not forget the untouchable subject of racism.

I must ask though, are we better off as a nation and a people because we are so "civil" to each other or have we lost one of the things that made us fundamentally alive?  What happens to a people when they stop discussing the most important issues of our day?  I believe we stop being a people that will speak the truth and are poorer in spirit for it.  I believe that each of us begins to create our own realities based on our feelings and not the facts.  I believe we will make for ourselves political ideologies and spiritual truths that are not well grounded in truth, but instead a collection of our own personal conclusions.  We hold on to these personal convictions and because we live in a society that does not demand we defend our convictions in a logical manner, we are left with half formed gushy convictions that do not serve us or society well.  We become offended and defensive when someone questions us or challenges us about these personal truths.  When forced to defend them, we feel personally attacked.  We do not like coming out of our comfort zone and will gather around ourselves like minded people who condemn the questioner or challenger instead of defending our convictions.

Absolute truth has been stripped of its ability and purpose to cleave between bone and sinew, to separate the facts from the emotions.  The rejection of absolute truth as a building block and premise of civil society has the effect of denigrating the society to a group of  wishy washy citizens easily led down the path of what feels good.  Absolute truth though, does not change based on your feelings, see it is stronger than our rationales, it does not alter with the political or social climate of the times.  Absolute truth remains a bulwark against our own personal suppositions.

Absolute truth stands boldly before failed ideology and calls it out.  I can feel the bristling out there, but you must choose, if we are to continue living in a civil society, we MUST choose.  Let us take some obvious examples - Murder is wrong.  Absolute truth, right?  But is it in our society still?  Or do we have circumstantial rationale for even that?  Having sex with children is wrong.  But some will say, that is just the way I am and it is okay for me.  How about cheating on a test?  What about lying?  What about adultery?  Today, we can come up with scenarios that excuse all or most of this behavior.  Is it any wonder then, that we are rejecting the foundations of our Republic and leaning toward the mob rule of Democracy?  Law says something is bad and forbidden, man can rationalize the behavior and we are much more comfortable with that.

We see this today in our political exchanges.  When we can not prove our point, we name call and ridicule.  Is there any more blaring case before us today than the Joe Wilson/Barack Obama tempest?  Joe Wilson's outburst was against etiquette, but he was right.  Once it was discovered that he was right, well then, he was called a racist.  What would have been so wrong about saying, you know, after we looked into it, the President had misspoke and here is what we are going to do about it.

Both sides decry the other when they are faced with the truth.  An honest person will concede.  I find that while doing that initially is painful, it leads to a wealth and a depth and a breadth of understanding I did not enjoy here to fore.  I am enriched when I realize I was mistaken and give the other person their due for presenting truth.  Why is that seen today as weakness?  It is strength of character and soundness of mind that recognizes and acknowledges our own fallibility. Weakness is actually holding on to false ideals when presented with logical facts to the contrary. 

Ideology above facts or truth.  Win at all costs.  Name call and demean.  Lie about your opponent to suit your needs.  The ends justify the means.  You are a troglodyte stuck in an outmoded and outdated mind set.

Folks, it is time to engage.  It is time to stop being afraid of confrontation.  It is time to hold what you believe in up to the glaring light of the sun to determine if it can withstand the light of day.  After all, our convictions and faith, for which we base our lives must be able to stand up to scrutiny, otherwise we ourselves can not stand up to scrutiny.  That my friends is worse than being uncomfortable.

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