One of the most contemptible aspects of modern society is the postmodernist-influenced rejection of objective truth. (Closely related to this is the rejection of absolute right and wrong, which is the most evil philosophy in human history.) Postmoderns see truth as a reflection of societal biases, filtered through our subjective belief systems and experiences.
This is absolute nonsense.
Now, let me tip my hat to the immediate objection to my statement – yes, our perceptions are influenced by the society where we live, and our experiences. However, this should be a motivation to seek objective truth as supported by verifiable facts, not a rejection of truth altogether.
Here is the problem with this philosophy – it obliterates any chance of reasonable dialogue, as well as any chance to compromise and see things from another person’s perspective. If we cannot agree that there are verifiable facts – objective truth – then we cannot even have a starting point from which to have a discussion. Instead of advancing tolerance, it instead deepens the divides between us.
This is because we all know, inherently, that objective truth exists independent of our own beliefs and biases. When someone lies to us or lies about us, especially on a matter important to us, we are annoyed or even angry regardless of whether we call them on it. We can object and pretend we really believe that “I have my truth and you have your truth” but deep down none of us actually believe that.
A difference of opinion is not the same as a dispute over facts. In a difference of opinion, one side may be right and one may be wrong, both sides may be wrong, or both sides may be both right and wrong. With objective, verifiable facts, one side is right and one side is wrong. This is where the local newspaper has failed the last couple months.
I reported a comment that accused me of doing something I did not do, and I got an e-mail from the Herald-Times editor saying he would not take down a comment because of the author’s “opinion.” I also criticized the editorial page’s decision to print two letters accusing the Boys and Girls Club of neglecting girls on the basis of a program they were running for boys. Another commenter said the H-T should not be the arbiter of which opinions are true and false – something the H-T editor would likely agree with.
The problem with these arguments is obvious. The accusation against me was not an “opinion” – it was a fabrication with no factual evidence to back it up. The accusations against the Boys and Girls Club were false accusations based on nothing but speculation. There are objective, verifiable facts on both cases – that I did not do what I was accused of doing and that the Boys and Girls Club does not neglect girls.
The Herald-Times allegedly has a policy of screening letters for factual statements, as well as removing comments that make defamatory accusations. They failed in both cases.