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July 26, 2017 / compassioninpolitics

Is truth relative?

The Practical Implications:

Truth is the basis of justice. Truth is also the basis of survival. If there is no such thing as truth libraries, books, the internet, reference texts, and school and the university are a waste of time.

Math is also pretty objective: 2 + 2 = 4. I don’t think that ever changes. Thats pretty objective. Are you saying math isn’t true? Is 2 + 2 equal to something else today or right now?

Lets look at the issue contextually and more concretely:

A good example might be apple pie. People make apple pie differently. People have different conceptions about what an apple pie is, but we still have shared agreement. In fact this applies to cooking almost across the board: steaks, hamburgers, pizza, chicken tenders, chicken pot pie, etc.. (almost ad infinitum).

Every dictionary definitions is an area where there is some disagreement, but also some pretty amazing clarity, because they are printed and no one launches critiques about the latest version of Webster’s beyond a word or two—certainly not all say 10 million words. No, that would be absurd, but thats the kind of absurdity that a relativist proposes.

Its worth noting that there is a difference between the ideal and the real, but you don’t give up on the real or the ideal just because the real is always going to be partially imperfect.

The map never fits the territory exactly, but we don’t stop using maps, because they help us move forward. Maps are imperfect, but useful in reaching the truth.

The assumption behind the relativist’s argument is that if we can’t perceive objective truth it doesn’t exist or it doesn’t matter. Those are both false assumptions and false dilemmas.

The above proves there is not really such a thing as a relativist, because everyone lives as if there is some notion of the truth and that other beings on this planet should in some sense agree with your definition—that is they have notions of expectations about other individuals.

In fact, in a world of subjectivity, where humans don’t agree, we need that Objective truth that only a God can provide. That is you need someone higher to appeal to when there are differences of perspective or opinion.

A World without Ethics:

Truth relativists ultimately have to be moral relativists and thats a dead end, because it undermines our ability to have rights, justice, or a US Constitution. It undermines the ability to have duties, responsibilities, and ultimately civilization. Ethical objectivity (or something very akin to it) is the glue of relationship and civilization. We need shared understandings to have common ground and enough commonality and tranquility to have a peaceful community.

And if we look at the cultures which lack an understanding of respect for life or rights or human dignity—its precisely those societies that are falling apart. So the evening news is a rather large manifesto to not only the value of truth, but also the value of ethical virtue, ethical objectivity, and ultimately fairness and justice. When we sacrifice objectivity—the bottom falls out of the overall security of the people and rule of law—and with it goes pretty much everything we hold dear as a people.

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