Friday, May 18, 2012

In Pursuit of the Truth

I hear so many people say we need to see the truth, we need to know the truth, or we need to get to the truth, and so on and so forth.  The longer I am around the more I realize people don’t really want the truth, they want the story to support their already held beliefs.
If, for example, you believe that people who hold strong religious beliefs are nuts, you will believe any story that supports that supposition.  On the other hand if there is some tangential connection between something you believe and those with opposing views, then clearly they are moving to your side, and see the wisdom of your position, not the other way around.
I sit in meeting after meeting where someone will say we have to put the interest of the “warfighter” first.  A pet cliché in the military, but very few do. Since the “warfighter” is a nameless group it usually falls to the generals to discern what is in their interest.  Only rarely does anyone ever really ask someone fresh from combat what he or she needs, and then if it isn’t in line with what the General wants they clearly don’t understand the big picture.
Take for example three separate stories in the news this week.  First we have the on-going public debate over the Travon Martin – George Zimmerman case.  Here we have each side offering fresh and contradictory details on the shooting.  The question is why?  The obvious answer is to keep the case alive in the court of public opinion so that it can be used to support other agendas, or color a potential jury pool so they carry in the preconceived facts of the case.
Next we have the John Edwards trial where his defenders argue that the misuse of campaign funds is okay if he was only trying to cover his infidelities from his dying wife.  Really?
And last, but certainly not least we have the interesting tale of a liberal law professor who claims to be 1/32 Cherokee Indian because one of her family told her she was, she has high cheek bones, and she sent a couple of possibly plagiarized recipes into the “POW WOW CHOW” cook book her cousin was publishing.  As a lifelong victim she appears unable to actually say perhaps she was wrong and move on.  Obviously these attacks on her play into a belief scheme where she is fighting against the oppression of the white man, as she has done all her life.
I guess we all have our own truths?  Except we really don’t!  We may fool others, we may even fool ourselves, but truth and the facts that support the truth don’t change, no matter how hard we try to spin them.

1 comment:

W.B. Picklesworth said...

One way that I notice what is truth is when I am called to defend that with which I strongly disagree. It leaves a certain satisfaction on the table to not simplify to the black and white so as to glory in it. I confess that I do not always do what is right and true.

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