a novel idea: seek the truth

These thoughts were stimulated by a January 7, 2014 column by Thomas Sowell, which is linked below.

What if everyone–right, left, center, off-the-page–committed themselves to doing the best they can (I am sure my pronoun use here is incorrect) to 1) finding the truth and 2) speaking only the truth, regardless of the personal, social, or political repercussions of doing so? This would apply to all subjects – political, economic, religious, moral, etc. Actually, I am not sure it is possible for politicians to do this, as Thomas Sowell points out below, but for the rest of us, we owe it to ourselves, to our children and grandchildren, to our world, to our God, to lift high the banner of the quest for truth. This translates into serious self-discipline whereby we do not, in the words of Dallas Willard, “speak in tones that do not encourage doubt” on matters we merely have opinions about. Ask yourself questions like, “Why do I believe this?” “Do I have any good reason for doing so?” “Who are my authorities on this matter, and what are their qualifications?” “How certain am I on this matter?” “Why do those who disagree on this subject disagree?” “What’s at issue here?” And what’s at issue here, in what I am talking about, is the fact that if we give up on truth, then our only alternative is a politics of raw power, wherein ‘truth’ is what those with the most coercive influence say it is. Hello Nietzsche.

Some honesty and humility would help. Let’s admit that we are all inclined at times to take cheap shots at the “enemy,” shots that consist of the thoughtless repetition of slogans and unfounded accusations and character assassinations. Some are more inclined than others, but we all know the temptation, and what it means to give in to it. Here the ancient wisdom of the book of James is pertinent: “Let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger.”  My tendencies lie in the opposite direction.

As I said above, I have my doubts about the capacity of the political class to actually care about the truth. This seems to be the case with New York’s new mayor, Bill de Blasio, as Sowell points out in this column on the “trickle-down” bogey man . . .