Or is it all relative...
The Senate hearing on Judge Kavanaugh has much larger implications than just who gets to fill an empty Supreme Court seat. It is ultimately determining if we are going to continue to be a nation of laws or if we are going to allow our post-modern mindset to continue to sink us into the mud pit of emotion-based decision making. After the testimony given last week by both Judge Kavanaugh and Ford, the news analysts went crazy trying to decide who was more sincere or whose testimony was more convincing. The problem with all of this is that it doesn’t matter who was sincere or convincing. This isn’t like they’re trying to convince us of their favorite flavor of ice cream. We’re talking about an event that either did or did not take place. It matters what the facts are.
This is the problem with post-modernism, which says that truth itself is relative. It uses phrases like “My truth is different from your truth” or “What is true for you may not be true for me.” Or in the words of a former President accused of sexual misconduct, “It depends upon what the meaning of the word 'is' is" (and that case had physical evidence to corroborate the accusation). People like to embrace the post-modern ideology because it seems so freeing. It makes all things flexible enough to include anything. Our society thinks that “truth” is just so limiting and exclusive. The proposed solution is to just move beyond truth to make it subjective to the individual. That way no one is answerable to anyone. You can’t tell me what I did was wrong – because your truth is not my truth!
Well, at least post-modernists got one part right. Truth is limiting and truth does exclude. Truth, by definition, must exclude the false. So when we hear the testimony from Judge Kavanaugh and Ford, it doesn’t matter who appeared more sincere, it matters what the truth is. The truth of what actually happened 36 years ago should exclude all statements that claim something different. If what Ford claims is the truth, then it shouldn’t matter “how sincere” Judge Kavanaugh appeared. If what Judge Kavanaugh claims about what happened 36 years ago is the truth, then it shouldn’t matter “how sincere” Ford appeared. Isn’t this what this nation should be about? Especially when we’re talking about someone who is going to sit on the Highest Court in the land?? Don’t we want the Supreme Court Justices to rule according to the facts and merits of the case in relation to the Constitution instead of how they feel about it or how emotionally drawn to the defendants they are?
For example, in 2006 three Duke Lacrosse team members were wrongfully accused of raping a stripper at a party. At the time of the case, the media drew every social-justice line you could draw between these young men and the woman accusing them of rape. As we watched the case unfold, you could either feel sympathy for the young men whose reputations and careers were being destroyed or you could feel sympathy for this young woman whose life was ruined by this horrific event. But only the truth can determine where your sympathy should fall. Your sympathy for the young men is only valid if they were wrongfully accused. Otherwise, how could anyone possibly sympathize with three men who gang raped someone at a party, no matter what her profession was? And your sympathy for the young woman is only valid if these three men really did that to her. Otherwise, how could you possibly sympathize with someone who fabricated this story just to get attention? The point is only the truth of the situation, not her truth vs. their truth, but the actual truth can tell us the proper way to feel about this case. Turns out we could sympathize with these kids whose lives were destroyed – and a coach who stood by them who lost his job – because they were wrongfully accused.
On the other hand, in California Brock Turner was convicted of raping an unconscious girl. Through the trial and especially during the sentencing, his attorneys and family begged for sympathy for Brock. He was an Olympic-hopeful swimmer at Stanford and his future was now jeopardized; his reputation ruined. Were Brock actually innocent of that crime, then we would be justified in sympathizing with his plight. However, that pesky thing, the truth, comes in and shows us that we should not sympathize with his ruined future, but sympathize with the young girl who was the victim.
It wasn’t the Duke Lacrosse players’ truth vs. the accuser’s truth. And it wasn’t Brock’s truth vs. the victim’s truth. It was the absolute, objective truth of what happened. It wasn’t who appeared more convincing or more sincere, but who was right. These examples highlight the failings of post-modernism. Truth is not subjective What does the evidence say actually happened? Whose story can be corroborated by something other than just an emotional response?
This is where the idea of absolute, objective truth is not only necessary, but in a way it is more freeing than post-modernism. The facts and evidence tell us what happened so that we are no longer drug around by unreliable emotions, fickle desires, and personal biases. We can instead determine what the facts are, what the absolute truth is, and make decisions based on that. And from that position of knowledge of the truth, we can then allow our emotions to follow – feel anger towards one party because it is fully justified. Feel sympathy towards the other party because it is fully justified, not just because we prefer that person, or the situation was horrible, or they cried a lot on the stand. But feel that way because it is truth, and therefore it is right. That is the proper order of things. The danger to our society is when we allow the emotional circumstances of something and the fluid definition of “subjective truths” rule over our judgments. This won’t just cost us a controversial Supreme Court seat, but the very moral fiber of our society itself. Innocent until proven guilty? No longer. Guilt or innocence decided by an emotional plea by one party? Apparently so.