Thursday, September 16, 2004

The Truth Shall (Not) Set You Free

The recent polarization in the electorate seems to be based on a fundamental difference in the perception of reality. Now CBS has chosen to weigh in on reality, accusing Bush of a fraud concerning his service 30 years ago in the Texas Air National Guard. CBS has, after a five-year investigation, presented some memos as proof that Bush did not fulfill the requirements. The only problem is that the memos are rather obvious fakes. Apparently this is more blatant lying in order to elect Kerry. Yesterday even CBS admitted that the documents are not "authentic" but says that they are "accurate" in some deeper sense, whatever that means.

CBS seems to be saying "It's true if I say it's true" and the facts be damned. That standard for truth means that objective truth stands for nothing, evidence stands for nothing, and all that matters is true belief. This has always been the standard of the religious fanatic. It's like the old saw "God exists because the Bible is the word of God because the Bible says so."

"It's true if I say so" has of course been the position of Marxists throughout the Twentieth Century. It didn't matter if those Koolaks literally committed crimes against the state because their crimes were true to those who could see. It is also, not coincidentally, the standard for truth among the "post-modernists" who have taken over much of academia: it doesn't matter what Shakespeare said; all that matters is what I say he said. As a formula for raw power, I guess you can't beat it. If you're a person for whom the end justifies the means then this sort of reasoning is tailor-made for you.

"Bush lied, people died." "Bush was AWOL." These statements are now articles of religious faith among some Democrats. There's no nicer way to put it. Whether these statements are true or not no longer matters in the proximate sense because according to the Democratic partisans they are true in the ultimate sense.

As far as I'm concerned, this is complete cloud cuckoo land territory.

Here's what Donald Sensing has to say about it.

CBS News has admitted there is controversy about the authenticity of the forged memos it showed on 60 Minutes II last week, but has never come close to admitting the memos are phonies. Instead, today's statement by the news division's president, Andrew Heyward, lays out the New Truth:
We established to our satisfaction that the memos were accurate... .
Meaning, of course, that CBSN is really saying: Forgeries, schmorgeries, the memos say Bush was a shirker and that's good enough for us. In the first nightly newscast after the forgery broke and which I recorded, Dan Rather explicitly said that "the key questions" were what mattered, not the documents' legacy. The "key questions" were, of course, solely those casting aspersions on Bush's Air Guard service.

But we cannot bifurcate the memos from their accusations. We cannot separate the message from the messenger. Here's why the memos' authenticity does matter: if the memos carrying the accusations do not matter, then why bother with memos at all?...

The authenticity of the memos is the most important aspect of this whole scandal. If documents can be forged, handed to co-conspiratorial media and used to hammer or destroy a political figure without regard to the fact that the documents are forged, then what the Left has long claimed about America will come true: we are not far removed from a Gestapo regime. Only the Left will itself will have brought it about, and the Left will be the new reichsfuhrers.

But maybe that's the point, do you suppose?


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