“You are entitled to your opinion. But you are not entitled to your own facts.”
– Daniel Patrick Moynihan, former US Senator
Mark Twain once said, “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes.” One needs to only casually glance at the deeply drawn lines of divisiveness that is today’s world, to see the almost Dr. Seuss-like cadence with the 1960s – albeit with one glaring difference. Although the fallacy of “us against them” was just as rampant in the 60s as it is today, the sanctity of truth prevailed. Amidst black against white, young versus old, liberal against conservative, and rich versus poor, beliefs and opinions varied, but fact was fact, opinion was opinion, and we recognized the difference between the two.
Unfortunately, we now live in the world of “alternative facts” – an abandonment of truth, reason, and logic, with the reduced presence of honorable intention.
Since we are in the world of rhyme, maybe a Dr. Seuss-like verse can guide us back to the sanctity of truth?
“We need to condemn
Us against them
And restore for our youth
The goodness of truth.”
Although the First Amendment protects our right to free speech, there is no unalienable right to deceive. Free speech does not mean freedom from responsibility, and for any that attempts to use the shield of unnecessary censorship in the advancement of falsehood, that pretext needs to be stopped in its tracks. Free speech does not mean freedom from the obligation to speak the truth.
Which leads us to the all-important question: “Why is truth so important?”
Answer: Simply because truth is paramount to the evolution of humankind.
Truth is the foundation upon which humanity ascends, for truth enlightens and truth reveals. Most importantly, truth is the manner by which we bring about positive and lasting change. Subsequently, if there is a lack of honesty, there is no foundation upon which we reach new heights; for building upon fallacy is akin to constructing a house on sand – an endeavor subject to sudden shifting, eventual damage and probable collapse.
So how do we restore the sanctity of truth?
We challenge fallacy with fact.
We hold every person who violates truth accountable.
Most importantly, we vigilantly seek that which is true.
Or in the words of Dr. Seuss:
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
We must “care a whole awful lot” about truth, which means avidly defending its sanctity whenever, and wherever it is challenged.
Never should we apathetically accept fallacy in any form.
Never should we ever accept any intent to mislead.
That is why we must rise above the swirling sea of fallacy that is our everyday existence, and not allow any instance of deception to enter our society. Truth is not disposable and facts matter. That is why whenever any deceit attempts to slither into our world, we must unite and eradicate it. That is why wherever truth is assailed, we stand in defense.
Fortunately, fallacy cannot survive when confronted with the power of truth; the only caveat is that truth demands that we act, and that we persevere; for when it comes to defending the sanctity of truth, action taken to defend it is always successful. Success not being a matter of “if” but “when”:
“And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed!”
Know that for those truly dedicated to eradicating fallacy there is a Sword of Truth. Now for many, the Sword of Truth is not available, for they are unaware of its existence. Then there are others who are faintly aware of its existence, yet its power escapes them, for it is not theirs to wield. Fortunately, there are those rare few, who like a samurai, use the Sword of Truth to right wrongs, defend the downtrodden, and lift humanity to the good, the true and the beautiful. Frederick Douglas held the Sword of Truth in his hands, as did Abraham Lincoln and Robert Kennedy. However, Martin Luther King Jr. might have been the greatest ever to wield its power, for he transformed the use of the Sword of Truth into a true art form.
The fact that truth is paramount to the evolution of humankind is the very reason we are currently witnessing a massive assault upon truth. This chaotic onslaught launched purely to obstruct the forward movement of humanity. Fortunately, humanity has a sixth sense, an innate awareness of right and wrong…what is true and what is not. It is that sense that we speak to with the power of truth. That is why we must throw aside the comfort and apathy of silence and in unison speak our truth – speak the truth.
It is said there is strength in numbers and there is no greater number than the sum of our humanity. Moreover, the strength inherent within the sum of our humanity is found in the fact that it is not arithmetic, but exponential. Most importantly, when you combine the strength of numbers with the power of truth, it is a truly indomitable force.
With that truth in hand, it is fitting that we end this article with the wisdom of Dr. Seuss:
“You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”
It is time that we steer ourselves back to the sanctity of truth.
Seth Adamson is an Author, Teacher and Counselor specializing in Relating and Personal Transformation. His first three books “The Art of Relating” – “hu·man·u·ni·ty” and “raise-istance” are available on amazon.com. Seth is also the founder and Executive Director of the One Humanity Foundation and the Worldwide Coalition for Peace. Seth’s podcast “The Art of Relating” debuts in early 2023.