The Collision Between Truth and Ideology

Paul V. Hartman

It has been said by the Clinton White House, without challenge from what we used to call the "major media", that "Truth" is "whatever we want it to be." I have been reading what some philosophers have had to say about it.

We can all agree that what is "True" is not shared by all people. Even those who agree with us in what we believe to be True are believing it to be true through their own filters.

Perhaps we can agree that what we believe to be true is merely an approximation that will, someday, be distilled or clarified.

The assumption shared by many 18th and 19th Century philosophers was that the pursuit of truth would lead to the discovery of firm scientific principles which would in turn lead to the formation of a just society. In this regard, the premise was based on three ideas:

1. All genuine questions must have one true answer and one only, all the rest being errors.

2. There must be a dependable path toward the discovery of these truths.

3. True answers, when found, must necessarily be compatible with one another and form a single whole, for one truth may not be incompatible with another: that we know a priori.

This is the "monologic" concept of truth, and most physicists accept it as they search for the Unifying Theory that Einstein said would unite all the physical laws of the universe.

Does this concept work in non-scientific areas of Truth? In practice, no. Many utopian societies have come and gone, most recently the one built on the framework of Marx. As Lenin insisted, once the enlightened one has the "truth", there is no reason to refrain from sacrificing the lives of those who disagree. On such a principle have millions of souls in this century gone to early graves.

This essay was written while Bill Clinton occupied the White House.

--= The Hartman Web Site © , 1996- 2008   All rights reserved. =--