One of the hallmarks of Leftist ideology is the flexibility of the definition of truth. While conservatives largely believe that truth is objective, that Nature and Natural Law proscribe some verities that are eternal and unchanging, Progressives believe in the subjectivity of truth. For them, truth is your truth. What you believe, that is what is true to you.
When truth is subjective, it becomes malleable. You can stretch it like Silly Putty and imprint anything you want over it. By defining truth as subjective, you make it irrelevant. The notion of a subjective truth, that truth is what you want it to be, is really no different from the belief that truth does not exist. If it can be anything then it is, in fact, nothing.
For instance, this has been popping up on my Facebook page from so many self-satisfied Progressives:
Objectively, there is nothing true in this photograph. There has never been a bill before Congress whose purpose was “to redefine rape.” The bill (about federal funding for abortion) they are hyperventilating over was supported by Paul Ryan, but not co-sponsored by him. The wording in the bill made reference to “forcible rape”, and was designed to distinguish it from statutory rape (which is often consensual). The wording was changed before the bill was passed. With bipartisan support. I’m even willing to bet the paper the photo identifies with an arrow as the bill is not, in fact, the bill at all. When was the last time you saw a bill from Congress that could be held with a couple of fingers?
It would be one thing if this was some guy in his basement armed with a chip on his shoulder and Photoshop. But this photograph is brought to you by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and promoted on their Facebook page. This is an official lie. The question then becomes: Do the Democrats believe this stuff? Or is this merely their “truth.”
The picture, commented on by nearly 2000 people with furrowed brows and a palpable sense of moral outrage, promotes several lies to get a reaction. The truth? It doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is achieving the end result. Let the truth be damned. Or as Georg Wilhelm Hegel, the spirit guide for Marx and Engels, wrote: “If the facts do not agree with the theory, so much the worse for the facts.”
Don’t believe me that Progressives view the truth as irrelevant? Consider this exchange between CNN’s Anderson Cooper (no Tea Partier) and the odious Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Congresswoman and chair of the Democratic National Committee. She is the public face of the DNC, handpicked for the role by Barack Obama, the one who appears on every talk show to espouse the Democrat view in an official capacity.
Many of the things she says in this interview are also factually not true and Cooper, to his credit, holds her feet to the fire. Finally, when Cooper has backed her into a corner over her lies she unleashes the truth about the truth: “It doesn’t matter,” she says around the 2:50 mark when confronted with the fact that she purposefully misquoted a Los Angeles Times article in a fundraising email to make a case that is untrue. When pressed with the question “Do you acknowledge that what you quoted…was incorrect?” Wasserman Schultz replies “No” even though it is empirically, factually incorrect. When pressed further, with the full quote read to her she replies again, with no small degree of exasperation in her voice: “It doesn’t matter.”
Again, this is not the usual exaggerations and distortions that are the stock and trade of politicians of all stripes. The DCCC and Wasserman Schultz are acting as what philosopher Eric Voeglin referred to as “intellectual swindlers.” They know what they are saying is untrue, yet persist in saying it to achieve their goals.
Another example of how this works is also going viral in Progressive circles. Again, it’s popping up regularly on my Facebook page:
The comments on Facebook are all solidly in the “Wow! This guy is really sticking it to the Tea Party!” category. What none of the posters have commented on is the fact that radio host Michael Graham’s side of the argument has been completely edited out. What was, in reality, a dialogue that clearly shows Michael Higgins’s contempt for Israel via a ranting, scattered polemic, has been turned into a monologue where Higgins takes on the Tea Party. The self-congratulation of the Progressives over this is astounding. It is simply assumed that Higgins, the very far Left, virulently anti-Israel president of Ireland has destroyed Graham’s argument. This is clearly not true if you listen to the entire debate. It’s 20 minutes long, but worth hearing if the short version makes your blood boil. In context, Higgins evades questions and substitutes invective and name-calling for answers to Graham’s reasonable, though sometimes equally heated, questions. The truth here has simply been silenced, the detritus rearranged and the context warped. This was done for no reason at all, except to create a new truth.
It’s often been said that, for the Progressives, politics is war. It’s a favorite cliché of the Left to declare that various problems facing America should be looked at as “the moral equivalent of war.” They speak in militaristic terms: War on Poverty, War on Crime, War on Drugs. They talk of Republicans as waging a “War on women.” Well as Samuel Johnson wrote, “Among the calamities of war may be justly numbered the diminution of the love of truth, by the falsehoods which interest dictates and credulity encourages.”
Truth, for the Left, is not what is. It is what you say.