I am running into this a lot lately. More so than usual though I have been aware of the phenomenon for a very long time. I am going to be arrogant here, maybe, in saying that I am very uncomfortable with the truths I hold, most of the time. I somehow feel that what I know and understand resides in a tentative state and that with my kind of thoughtfulness comes an considerable amount of discomfort. I sometimes think that it is that discomfort that keeps me alive, the drive to discover the comfortable position what gives me reason to consider another breath.
I say this now because of the divide that exists in this United States of America is often characterized as difference of opinion. Again, boldly going forth, I think it has more to do with quality of opinion, some opinion the result of an unwillingness to study while resisting prejudice, long enough at least to familiarize oneself with enough information to earn the right to say “I understand what they are saying,” “I understand their position,” before making the claim that “they” are wrong.
Now there is much that gets said that, at face value, is, to thoughtful people, patently wrong. But there is much that gets said, or, in the case of what has motivated this outburst, much that some want to hide, because they fear that thoughts and the act of speaking the words that describe them may undermine their present system of belief, show that what they have accepted as real and right may be neither.
What set this off is that part of current American discourse that concerns NOT looking into things, the demonizing of honest attempts to do what is necessary to get at truth. Recent spats over whether or not to investigate this or that or he or she should be confounding to a people that wishes to base decision making on the best information, on what can be agreed upon to be the best truth available at a given time.
What has resulted is a game of offense and defense that would be comical if the consequences of its being played weren’t so dire. The current debate over global warming is an example, a number of organizations (corporations, for example) and individuals are doing what they can to prevent the process of getting at the truth from taking place. New Mexico’s attempt to ignore global warming and the theory of evolution in its science curriculum is but one example. Somehow, the decision to do so was overturned, the sponsors of deception publicly called out and shown to be foolish by a lot of sensible New Mexicans.
Certainly, Trump fans who are forever finding ways to discredit investigations into his and his campaign’s dealings with Russia are examples of people who only seek “truths” that reinforce the truths they already hold, many of these truths that stand as such in their minds because they will not and do not allow themselves to pursue any kind of information that may show that that in which they believe has no basis in truth.
It isn’t only a game played by conservatives. Many who consider themselves liberals believe what they believe because they understand themselves to be liberal and, ironically, are not liberals because they know that there are real grounded truths that recommend liberal positions, but remain liberal in good part because they avoid that that might disturb their liberalism and lives based in their belief in their own liberality.
So, why should anyone be too disturbed about inquiries concerning what some claim to be misdeeds by those identifying as liberal, the recent announcement that congressional committees would be looking into uranium deals made during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State? It seems obvious to me why it would be that, despite the fact that motives for such investigation are other than a desire to discover truth, there are aspects to the case that raise legitimate questions. In regard to James Comey, really, considering what he did in regard to Hillary Clinton’s run for the presidency, questions about his motives related to matters Trumpian should be taken as fair ones even if he now seems to be serving the liberal side.
I have posted several times now my reaction to authorities on colleges campuses, with “liberal” students’ support, refusing to allow speakers holding certain kinds of ideas from speaking on at their institutions of learning. One of the most offensive iteration of this was when President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran was invited to speak at Columbia (Columbia speech). The protests were proper reaction up to the point that they would have prevented Ahmadinejad from speaking, something some who where in protest of his appearance tried to do and though was the right thing to do, liberal included.
The truth is not just important, it is essential to good decision making. I will admit to holding on too long to believing what was terribly wrong with one of my favorite film makers, Woody Allen. He is and has been a horrible human being for a good part of the time that I helped to keep him rich and powerful by paying the price of admission. The “wrong truth” for me for a long time.
And the operations of the Clinton campaign? Guilty of no violations of proper conduct, conduct befitting an organization of moral turpitude and honest to the point of deserving respect? The democratic party? Oh yes, nasty people like Julian were prying into its secrets and, when those secrets were made public, so many a good liberal, instead of screaming at the DNC for truths revealed, screamed instead at people like Julian who, by the way, many were very happy about when the secrets he was revealing showed very bad behavior on the part of the opposition. Horrible republicans for latching onto this handed to them (probably paid for by them) opposition research? Worse somehow that the Hillary campaign paying for the research that became “the dossier”?
Only if one wants to make truth what he or she wants it to be and nothing more.