Thursday, January 14, 2010

Inconvenient Truths

Why bother with facts when you can traffic in myth and opinion? Truth be told, myth and opinion are much better at firing up your emotional gases. And when it comes to feeling like you belong to a group, true belief will always outweigh true facts.

To serve these purposes public debate often distorts reality. Beliefs that are manifest untruths come to be taken as conventional wisdom, and facts that might contradict those beliefs are simply occluded. We pretend that if we don't look at them they are not there.

In the end, of course, reality bites. You can only get away with willful blindness for so long. As the old saying goes, forewarned is forearmed.

How better to demonstrate the extent to which we are wedded to myths and fictions than to throw out a few facts. That is what Victor Davis Hanson does in a column today. Link here.

His topics range widely, from illegal immigration to Iraq to affirmative action to the Ivy League to the Middle East. Hanson engages a wonderful exercise in debunkery, or better, in giving voice to some unspeakable truths. I recommend it highly.

No comments: