"What is truth?"
Jesus never answered the question. but at the risk of being over the top presumptuous, I will.Potius Pilate
Truth is whatever you want it to be. Or more precisely it is whatever you can convince yourself it is, whether it is or is not.
When you have a great many people convinced that something is true, whether it is or it is not, you can have a movement. Nowhere is this flexibility or malleability of the truth more obvious than in politics. Progressives believe a great deal of things to be true which Conservatives are convinced are not true, and vise versa. One of my favorite quotes on the subjectivity of political truths comes from Ronald Reagan when he observed, "It isn't so much that liberals are ignorant. It's just that they know so many things that aren't so."
The reason the subject of truth in politics is so important is that it truly is the greatest weapon that Conservatives have in changing the Progressive/Liberal mind. As John Adams put it: "Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence."
But people sure do try, facts and evidence are so stubborn, that it is necessary for Progressives to actually change history in order to align it more closely with their desires. The facts and evidence is always getting in the way of their statist desires so they must manipulate history and evidence in order to align itself with their belief structure.
I once noted that I ceased to be a Liberal when I got tired of having to deny what I knew to be the truth about so many things that were looked upon as the truth by the left but were false. As I observed
Liberals generally live with a very complicated mindset where the simple truth must be defeated by ever more complex arguments and justifications. I suspect this is why most elitist intellectuals are liberals, the admission of the beauty of simplicity is anathema to their ego.Jean Kaufman recently had a wonderful and informative article over at PJ Media where she discusses her own conversion from liberal to conservative and why some people do and some people don't "get it."
One observation that she makes which is in line with my own experience, she explains like this
Rarely, if ever, are prospective changers actually seeking change. In fact their previous political positions on the left may be quite firmly and strongly held, and they would probably consider anyone quite mad who had the audacity to inform them of the transformation about to take place.For me personally the "buzzing fly" that was such an irritant was my life long love for history and my continuous irritation at the liberals for misrepresenting or out and out lying about historical facts. As I said Progressives are no longer just misrepresenting history they are simply re-writing it and indoctrinating today's youth with their new truth. Both very sad and very frightening but in the end self defeating. Facts are stubborn things.
But although they may not be interested in change, change is interested in them. It usually begins with something external, some new information encountered seemingly by accident, something that starts to bug the person because it contradicts or doesn’t fit easily into his or her pre-existing framework. It’s like a buzzing fly that won’t quit and can’t be ignored. It causes discomfort, a sense of unease, and the disequilibrium that comes from the dilemma known as cognitive dissonance.
It’s such an unpleasant experience that people are usually eager to resolve it. How they do that is one point at which changers split off from non-changers. The latter group, if faced with that very same information, might just swat that fly — that is, in their discomfort at the knowledge that seems incongruous with their previous beliefs, they would either discredit the new information, minimize it, rationalize it, or shut it out entirely, thus ending the discomfort and the dilemma.
But those who ultimately end up as changers can’t seem to put it away that easily. For them, something once seen cannot be unseen. Perhaps they have a different habit of mind to begin with, one more accustomed to challenging its own beliefs and assumptions, one more uncomfortable with contradictions.
The recent episode with the sequester is just another example of the Progressive's truth delusion. It is hard to say whether the Progressives are just so totally invested in public manipulation or perhaps they are so used to playing the "big lie" strategy that they no longer realize how far they have strayed from reality. In other words their lies have, for all practical purposes, become their truth. To remain a committed leftist today requires not just swatting at flies but rather to cease to even recognize them as being present at all.
I was struck by Obama's press conference after the photo op meeting he had with congressional leaders when he talked about the janitors at the Capitol having their pay cut due to the sequester. My initial reaction was that it was nothing more than one of his big lies in an attempt to manipulate public opinion which he hoped not to be called on. But in watching it again, it occurred to me that there may be something far deeper at work here. Progressives such as Obama are so used to dealing in false premises and a a false narrative that it becomes truth to them.
The idea that government is the source of prosperity is so ingrained in the psyche of the progressive mind that any cut to government will indeed create hardships for the nation. The janitor story was analogous to the destruction that progressives genuinely feel government cuts will inflict on America. So vested are they in the statist culture of the necessity for elitist control of society that any restrictions imposed on their designs they consider genuinely harmful to society.
Consider how clearly we on the right see the beauty and simplicity of free people operating in free markets as a means to a growing prosperity for everyone. The progressive too sees his far more complicated economic and political agenda as being the path to a more advanced society and anything that distracts from it or limits their ability to implement it is not only a threat that must be defeated it is viewed as harmful to society.
To put it simply, in their view, conservatives who wish to operate a more fiscal responsible government are in fact are limiting not just government and the progressive's power, but actually hurting society. If you honestly believe that society depends on government for its well being then it is only natural to believe that anything that restricts government harms society and people.
The fact that no form of statist governance has ever been successful, whether socialism, fascism, communism or any of their countless derivatives is not proof of its weakness in the progressive mind, it is instead viewed as not having been properly implemented. Rather than seeing the structural flaws in their design of a top down control of society, they just keep scabbing on more bulk in their never ending quest to shore up a failed political ideal.
Conservatives and Libertarians are not a political opponent to the the progressive, they are the enemy of their Utopian goals. The reverse is also true. progressives are not merely political opponents to those who believe in a constitutional republic, they are forces which seek to destroy the concept of individual liberty. Because individual liberty can not coexist, despite the bumper stickers, in the statist society which progressives seek to institute. The two political philosophies are diametrically opposed to one another. Our Declaration "That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men," is either true or it is not. There is no such thing as limited slavery, government is either the master of society or the individual is the master of his own fate and the two concepts must by their very nature be opposed to one another,
Subjugation for the greater good is still subjugation.
At its core we are engaged in the age old battle for human freedom only now it is in a nation ostensibly of free people where a great many of our fellow citizens believe in a false narrative that individual liberty is actually harmful to a society.
Winning the argument by convincing the other side of the truth in the superiority of individual liberty is the only way to avoid America's fall. This is why it is so vitally important that we who see clearly the superiority of the advantage of societies and governance based on individual liberty continuously point to both the truth and the falsehoods in our political and societal discourse. Not just because we are right and they are wrong, but so that the flies may irritate some on the other side to rethink their truths.