Is truth irrelevant?

(The following is a guest post by Thomas Sowell, a national treasure.)


It is amazing how many people seem to have discovered last Wednesday that riots are wrong — when many of those same people apparently had not noticed that when riots went on, for weeks or even months, in various cities across the country last year.*

For too many people, especially in the media, what is right and wrong, true or false, depends on who it helps or hurts politically. Too many media people who are supposed to be reporters act as if they are combatants in political wars.

Someone once said that, in a war, truth is the first casualty. That has certainly been so in the media — and in much of academia as well.

One of the most grotesque distortions growing out of this carelessness with the facts has been a removal of Abraham Lincoln’s name and statues from various places, on grounds that he saw black people only as property.

Such criticisms betray an incredible ignorance of history — or else a complete disregard of truth.

As a lawyer, Abraham Lincoln knew that there was nothing in the Constitution which authorized him or any other president to free slaves. But he also knew that a military commander in wartime can legally seize the property of an enemy nation. Defining slaves as property gave President Lincoln the only legal authority he had to seize them during the Civil War. And once they were seized as property, he could then free them as human beings.

But, if the Emancipation Proclamation had based its action on defining the slaves as human beings, with a right to be free, the Supreme Court of that era would undoubtedly have declared it unconstitutional.

Millions of human beings would have remained slaves. Would ringing rhetoric be worth that price?

As for the claim that Lincoln did not regard black people as human, he invited Frederick Douglass to the White House.

Gross distortions of history, in order to get Abraham Lincoln’s name removed from schools tells us a lot about what is wrong with American education today.

Many schools are closed because of the coronavirus and the teachers unions. And many schools in minority neighborhoods failed to teach children enough math and English, back when they were still open. So it is incredible that school authorities have time to spend on ideological crusades like removing names and statues from schools.

Such criticisms betray an incredible ignorance of history — or else a complete disregard of truth.

Unfortunately, too many American educational institutions — from elementary schools to universities — have become indoctrination centers. The riots that swept across the country last year are fruits of that indoctrination and the utter disregard for other people’s rights that accompanied those riots.

At the heart of that indoctrination is a sense of grievance and victimhood when others have better outcomes — which are automatically called “privileges” and never called “achievements,” regardless of what the actual facts are.

Facts don’t matter in such issues, any more than facts mattered when smearing Lincoln.

Any “under-representation” of any group in any endeavor can be taken as evidence or proof of discriminatory bias. But those who argue this way cannot show us any society — anywhere in the world, or at any time during thousands of years of recorded history — that had all groups represented proportionally in all endeavors.

In America’s National Hockey League, for example, there are more players from Canada than there are players from the United States. There are also more players from Sweden than from California, even though California’s population is nearly four times the population of Sweden.

Californians are more “under-represented” in the NHL than women are in Silicon Valley. But no one can claim that this is due to discriminatory bias by the NHL. It is far more obviously due to people growing up in cold climates being more likely to have ice-skating experience.

This is one of many factors that produce skewed statistics in many endeavors. Discriminatory bias is among those factors. But it has no monopoly.

Yet who cares about facts any more, in this age of indoctrination?


Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.

* Felipe’s note: Last year’s widespread, leftist riots were scarcely reported in the mainstream media, so if you get “informed” by CNN, The New York Times, The Washington Post, etc., it’s why you are ignorant of them.

30 thoughts on “Is truth irrelevant?

  1. Really the dimwitted followers of the Dem dogma have recall of what is put in front of their nose at any time. Weak-minded and dogmatic thinkers. At least those are the ones who can be called to the fore to cause trouble. There are legions of silent believers of the truth who can see through the smoke and mirrors, but their candidate lost, so the winners take great pleasure in poking the bear. Ignorance in general and of history emboldens these cretins to make up the lies.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The arbiters of truth are now Google, Twitter, Amazon, Wokepedia, Facebook and the MSM. Anyone who questions their truth will be silenced. I don’t know where all of this is going. I’m just along for the ride.

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  3. If you are brave enough to speak the truth you will be vilified and the scarlet letter will be marked on you in the online world. Honest Abe started the end of slavery in North and South America and should be the shining light in the darkness that is the cancel culture run amuck.

    I have asked some Biden people who are so happy that Trump is getting cancelled if they have burnt any good books lately. That usually brings the conversation to a close.

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    1. Karlos: Read it again. He wrote “America’s National Hockey League.” And in subsequent mentions, he wrote NHL.

      But more importantly, that is the part that caught your eye?

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  4. I have to wonder how many of those Silicon Valley internet wonders make more than $400,000 a year? I hope they enjoy paying their new taxes.
    The small businesses that the Democrats want to put out of business with this tax were already out of business due to their Covid shutdown.

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  5. Now I see that some bigshot rhinos want President Trump “purged” from the party. Somehow I think it should be the other way around. McConnell and Bolton need to go. Bolton never says no to a war anytime, anyplace.

    Are they also going to “purge” seventy five million Americans from what they see as “their party?” No, the rhinos must go. Their time is up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Señor Gill: It’s all political theater. Trump will not be ejected from office in his final days. He will not be impeached. He will fly to Florida on inauguration day.

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  6. Lots of two-income earner families can be at the $400K and above. The don’t consider themselves millionaires. Creepy Joe needs to be aware of that.

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    1. Carole: Creepy Joe needs to be aware of lots of things. But not to worry. The Hoor Harris will be president in no time. That’s my new name for her. The hoor. And I don’t think it’s off-base, based on her history.

      I generally avoid unpleasant epithets, but I am going to make an exception for her.

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      1. Sadly, and I say this as your friend. Calling Harris names, especially that one, does not reflect well on you. You can almost certainly do much better.

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        1. Kim: My usual epithets are nincompoop and ignoramus. When I use the latter it is not used so much as an insult as what it really means, which is ignorant, lacking information. However, we live in very challenging times. The soon-to-be president initiated her career rise in politics by getting naked and lying on her back with powerful California politico Willie Brown when she was in her late 20s and he was in his 60s. If Brown had looked like Denzel Washington we might think it was something other than what it actually was.

          No, she’s a hoor, and that’s what I’m gonna call her. No more Mr. Nice Guy.

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        2. Kim, P.S.: But I doubt you’ll be seeing many references to the Hoor Harris hereabouts in the future. I am so disgusted and disappointed with what’s happening in my former nation that I only skim U.S. news nowadays, and I do not think many political items will be appearing here in the future. What’s the point? The nation has sunk into a sea of stupidity and corruption.

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