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Assertion has Replaced Truth

Check out Lorie Byrd's column in today's Washington Examiner. She writes that assertions have taken the place of truth in political discourse, undermining our ability to civilly argue and debate facts.

When assertion replaces truth, language no longer has definite meaning assigned to it, and civility becomes a thing of nostalgia, the table is set for a dysfunctional debate that not only fails to educate the public, but misleads and misinforms them continually. Just as those in the new media forced those at CBS to confront the truth of their fake documents, those interested in preserving truth in our political debate have many battles to fight in the days to come.

Read the rest of it.

Comments (18)

didn't Stephen Colbert make... (Below threshold)
sean nyc/aa:

didn't Stephen Colbert make the same assertion by coming up the word truthiness?

The common utterance among ... (Below threshold)
Dan Patterson:

The common utterance among the all-too-educated lefties seems to be some version of "That's YOUR understanding of the truth". How can one make a cogent argument with the opposition so mired in adolescence? Poor schooling and a general removal of authority results in 30 year-old children. That adult child nonsense is why the gap between a conversation with a 19 year-old Marine and one with a 50 year-old newspaper reporter or a tenured professor is so shameful and startling.

Children have no place in adult business--whether that business is politics, farming, or making love it is best left to the adults.

Dan Patterson
Arrogant Infidel

And, as sean nyc/ aa demons... (Below threshold)

And, as sean nyc/ aa demonstrates so well, satire has replaced critical thinking.

It is the logical consequen... (Below threshold)

It is the logical consequene of moral relativism, that all constructs are equivalent. So it isn't that assertion has replaced truth in the liberal mind, but rather, it is that philisophically, assertion is just as valid as truth.

lol, Kim. Are you sure you ... (Below threshold)

lol, Kim. Are you sure you should be the one writing about responsible journalism?

After all, you wrote that Jews had to wear badges in Iran. That turned out to be false, as everyone with sense realized. Did you even correct yourself, or apologize for misleading your readers?

You also made a huge factual error in your reporting on Haditha, which you corrected. You also made large errors in reporting on the "Iraqi Document Dump" story.

Again - are you sure you should be writing on these kinds of topics?

Keep the laughs coming though. Wizbang rox0rs.

I guess that's kind of what... (Below threshold)

I guess that's kind of what moral relativism means, McCain, but no liberal holds that mentality. Anarchists might, but they tend not to figure too heavily in serious politics.

So who are you arguing against? Ward Churchill? Tell you what: you and Ward can go duke it out, and leave serious discussion to serious people. Because if you sincerely believe that "philosophically, assertion is just as valid as truth" for liberals, then you are, in fact, guilty of the same thing that you are whining about. You could never substantiate that claim. I expect you think that way because you don't know any actual liberals. It sucks not being allowed into the cool parties. I'd be bitter too.

You want to talk about assertions-as-truth? Ask any fundamentalist Christian/Muslim how they feel about the Bible/Qur'an. Then ask them to stop making mere assertions and to defend their beliefs with verifiable statements and supporting evidence.

When people say that the age of wonk has passed, I think they are making a non-partisan statement about the state of the discourse in the U.S. It would benefit both sides to try and shift politics away from talking points and sound bytes, to measured argument. I'm not holding my breath.

Poor Bemused, if only no li... (Below threshold)

Poor Bemused, if only no liberal held that mentality, but you know better.

Since you soak a lot of your ideas from DailyKos (Rove "cut a deal" for example), tell me why a DailyKos article in which Karl Rove chastises Democrats for inconsistency on Iraq is titled "Rove continues to smear war heroes."

And while you are at it, tell me why your assertion of Rove "cutting a deal" is as important as the fact that he was exonnerated. That is really the point of this thread, that assertions are as important to liberals as facts. Say your own words ain't so, Bemused.

McCain, I don't read the Da... (Below threshold)

McCain, I don't read the Daily Kos. As far as liberal blogs go, I read Yglesias, JM Marshall, Atrios, TBogg, and Jesus' General. I'm happy that you read it, though. It's good to step outside of our respective echo chambers once in awhile. That's why I come here.

The possibility of Rove having cut a deal just seemed obvious to me, as it's a good reason for charges not to be laid against someone who is being investigated. A more common reason is that they didn't do anything. I was just pointing out that it is a possibility, and hoping that he did in fact give Fitzgerald solid evidence that Darth Cheney eats babies. Are you surprised that I passionately dislike the most effective political mind in the history of the GOP?

Bemused, you still don't ge... (Below threshold)

Bemused, you still don't get it.

This is a thread about assertion (without fact) being treated as fact. Your post is an assertion without factual basis.

You just illustrated Lori's point for her. So, you're guilty as charged!

And, as sean nyc/ aa dem... (Below threshold)
sean nyc/aa:

And, as sean nyc/ aa demonstrates so well, satire has replaced critical thinking. kbiel

I'll let the dark lord himself respond for me:

"I ... think we will be greeted as liberators." Dick Cheney

Your point would be valid, ... (Below threshold)

Your point would be valid, Mitchell, if I worked for a major news outlet, or if I even had a blog of my own. When I explicitly wish that Rove was guilty of something, and deny the impossibility of it (just to piss people off), it's not the same thing as Frank Rich doing it, mmkay? I'm quite aware of my own unimportance, which I think is relevant here.

I think you underestimate y... (Below threshold)

I think you underestimate your irrelevance. Who is actually pissed off that you make factless assertions about Karl Rove? His mom probably cares, but what we are looking for here is reasoned analysis. You are simply a waste of reading space.

However, while you are confessing to your shortcomings, such as making baseless assertions, let me point out another of your character flaws. Earlier you said that you know no Democrat who equates assertions with facts. You made that statement as some sort of response to what is obvious to everyone else, which is that you are a moral relativist. Now you confess that you do it yourself, which was also obvious, and which also happens to make you a hypocrite or a liar, or both.

Hey McCain, if typing slowe... (Below threshold)

Hey McCain, if typing slower improved your ability to read what I post, I'd do it. I never said that Democrats don't do the truthiness thing; I said that liberals are not moral relativists. Liberals do not equal either Democrats or Marxists. I suspect you don't really know what a liberal is. Ever heard of John Dewey? Walt Whitman? You guys had JFK (not a relativist), and we had Trudeau (ditto). If someone who is a hardcore leftist (and therefore not in fact a liberal) says something stupid and relativistic, hold them accountable for it. But don't take neo-Marxist idiocy to be an indictment of a political philosophy that can be traced back to Kant and Rousseau. Don't call liberals relativists. Bush's foreign policy, inept though it may be, smacks of Wilsonian liberalism.

So I'm not a liar, or a hypocrite, but you might very well be an idiot; then again, you might just be tired. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt.

"I ... think we wi... (Below threshold)
"I ... think we will be greeted as liberators." Dick Cheney

Posted by: sean nyc/aa

And in mnay parts of Iraq, the troops were.

on a day when the President... (Below threshold)

on a day when the President flew into Iraq and met the new Iraqi government...

on a day when the "special" prosecutor FINALLY had to admit there was no Mayo on the HAM-SANDWICH he was trying to indict...

on a day when the Commerce department released the full and dramatic economic news showing huge reduction in the deficit...

CBS ran the "Audit of FEMA" story as their NUMBER ONE story on CBS Radio. In fact, they broke in at the BOTTOM of each hour to run a "Special Report" on it!!! All freaking day!

"FEMA Audit"??? THAT was the biggest story of the day according to CBS??? Wow.

Bemused, this isn't a class... (Below threshold)

Bemused, this isn't a class exam where citing literary giants wins you some points from a bored professor. You are obviously very young, and with experience, you will learn not to hide behind others when your words are examined. I am talking about you, and I am talking about liberals. Your own words give you away as a moral relativist as I have demonstrated. And the fact that liberals are generally moral relativists is truth.

Now go read Montaigne. I refer you to him so you can learn not to take yourself so seriously, which will help enlighten you still further about your self-confessed but still misunderstood irrelevance. Self-confessed but misunderstood irrelevance would be a trait best associated with Rousseau. You claim to have read him, but you did not learn well.

Bemused, gotta side with Mc... (Below threshold)

Bemused, gotta side with McCain on this one.

Consider these "truths" as you know them, just of the top of my head:

1. We stole the 2000 election.
2. We stole the 2004 election.
3. Bush lied, people died.
4. Not enough troops
5. Up-armor
6. Body Armor
7. Losing in Iraq
8. Those Evil Evangelicals
9. Tax Cuts for the Rich
10. Trent Lott force to resign over nothing.
11. The Evil Karl Rove
12. Chimpy McHitler
13. Haditha
14. Rush Limbaugh
15. Ann Coulter
16. Right wing haters
17. Gitmo
18. Culture of Kruption.
19. Katrina failures
20. CIA leaks about torture and black prisons
21. Halliburton
22. ANWR drilling

The thread that ties all of these "truths" together is that they're all based on partisan and highly emotional assertions, not evidence. These issues are taken as a matter of faith by many liberals, but none of these swirling "controversies" -- none of them -- have ever been proven, despite the best efforts of the media, liberal blogs, and hordes of hysterical but emotionally immature True Believers. As soon as today's meme is issued by the DNC and beaten to death by liberal media and sputtering politicians, each story is true. Facts later. Much later, preferably after the next election. None of these concocted controvresies has any basis in fact.

Well, except for the first two. Heh.

bemused, here are a few mor... (Below threshold)

bemused, here are a few more "truths" you should reconsider:

23. Domestic Spying
24. NSA deals with the phone companies
25. Iran Invasion Imminent
26. Vietnam Gas Warfare (one of my personal favorites)
27. The "Living Constitution" and that pesky 2nd Amendment
28. Raging Unemployment
29. The military as a home for the otherwise pathetically unemployable
30. The Evil Patriot Act
31. Those military baby killers
32. Those Little Eichmans (hey, wasn't that Ward Churchill over there? Under that rock!)
33. Joe Wilson's Yellow Cake testimony is true.
34. George Galloway is a great man.
35. Valerie Plame was a covert operative
35. Swift Boat Vets are lying
36. Gore actually won.
37. We preyed on your fears
38. Bush blew up the World Trade Center towers
39. Bush blew up the levees
40. People are Born Gay
41. Cindy Sheehan is a Great American
42. The breathless Countdown to 2000 Military Deaths
43. Bush has secret plans to bring back the Draft
44. Lucy Ramirez and the National Guard documents

Oh, yeah. Did I mention Haditha?

Someplace along the line, the Democrat Party lost the distinction between "loyal opposition" and self-serving sedition. Much like the "communist under every rock" hysteria of the 50's, you actually believe these confections and repeat them endlessly to each other until they have become a central part of your collective belief system.

While I admire your tenacity, I worry about your grasp of what truth really is and whether you take your freedom for granted.






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