Saturday, November 19, 2016

Truth Matters

Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a New York senator and ambassador from my young adulthood to whom I might attribute my love for politics, famously asserted, "Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts." That quote has had quite a workout this past year, and if anything the recent election seems to have put the lie to it. Everyone, particularly Donald Trump and his supporters, are apparently entitled to their own facts, as if some objective concept called "truth" doesn't matter.

Let's set aside the questions of whether there is something like an Ultimate Truth or Cosmic Truth; those are both too broad and too big for a consideration of this Little Orange Man. But a few days ago I got into an argument with several co-workers, people who work with medicine and health care, for whom there has to be a down-to-the-bones truth that the body operates this way and these substances have this effect on it and cleaning the limbs this way affect it in this way in order for them to do their jobs and expect good results. They absolutely asserted that, bad as Trump "may be," Hillary Clinton was worse because she ignored the telephone call from the American embassy under attack in Libya.

Simply: Untrue. (Yes, I rely on "notoriously liberal" for information and credentialing because we need to have a final authority to which we can appeal, and while the site isn't perfect, and couldn't be, its fact-checkers try their best to both get at the truth and be objective and are free of the lure of advertisers and friends in high political places. Particularly now, when fake news sites are easy and profitable to create.)

It matters what is true, not only in political decisions but in everything. Medicine and biology is replicable and matters. Climate change theory is replicable and matters. Demographics matters. Donald Trump's lies matter, especially now he has won the election. This matters: Plain and simple, truth matters. Assert the truth in the face of lies.

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