The debate around truth is an age-old discussion about whether it is objective or subjective. For centuries, even millennia, philosophers have argued both sides of the nature of truth. The scientific revolution and Enlightenment were game-changers in this debate as the world started building a paradigm on the assumption of Objective Truth.
The idea of Objective Truth is that there is a Truth that is transcendent. It is true whether or not people acknowledge it or are even aware of it. Objective Truth is discoverable, and it is always true. Proponents who understand Objective Truth acknowledge the ability of biases, perceptions and ignorance to distort the truth and the impossibility of comprehending it in its entirety.
For instance, consider scientific discoveries. Radio waves, electricity and gravity all had the same properties and laws that define them before people understood them. They did not simply start working the way people know they do today when they were discovered, rather people learned their properties and how to harness and utilize them to the benefit of technology.
The Enlightenment and ideas of Natural Law
and Natural Rights
use this assumption as well. By assuming an Objective Truth, philosophers may then test their ideas against the laws of nature by implementing them. Once an idea is challenged by other philosophers and then tested in a real scenario, the results of it can be measured and analyzed.
This process has solidified the Bill of Rights as one of the most accurate and complete lists of inalienable rights, because following them has increased freedom and prosperity, while falling away from them reduces both. This fact is exactly what Postmodernists fear.
Postmodernism argues for a subjective truth, often called “my truth” or “my personal truth” in today’s world. The proponents of Postmodernism rely on a lack of understanding of truth, perception and philosophy by a large portion of the population to maintain the facade of plausibility.
Postmodernism would use the common knowledge of the unreliability of witness testimony, or just people’s recalling of events in general, as support for their position. However, a person being misguided by the senses or remembering something incorrectly does not change the event that actually occurred. The event has an objectively true set of facts. It occurred in a certain way, and someone recalling the wrong events does not change what occurred.
The same is true of the economic and political systems of both sides of this debate. The Objectivists would argue in favor of Capitalism because they cling to Enlightenment Values and the science of Economics that prove the viability of Capitalism mathematically. Postmodernists favor Socialism because they believe truth, and therefore reality, is malleable, so they attempt to shape a Utopian world through their politics and economics.
The idea of a “personal truth” is also disconnected from reality. There is no infinite set of ways a single event occurred, although there may be an infinite set of ways it could be viewed and have opinions crafted based on it. Postmodernists focus on the ways that people perceive an occurrence or a system as their experience of truth. An Objectivist would argue that their perception could be either true or false, and if there are multiple perceptions of one event, only one could be True.
Summary and Warning
The nature of truth has been long debated, and through the Enlightenment and Scientific Revolution, the side of Objective Truth has come out ahead. However, today there is a threat of Postmodernism closing in on the institutions built on the belief in an Objective Truth. The American brand of freedom and liberty is founded in an Objectivist paradigm, and the Subjectivism of Postmodernism is trying to tear these apart.
The threat that Postmodernism poses to the average life of the individual is dangerous, and must be thwarted. Even if Postmodernism is correct, which the evidence does not favor, it would be better to live by the ideas of Objectivism as this leads to people making choices with the belief that they control their destiny. By adhering to this philosophy, people have the mental framework to learn, grow and progress throughout life. This ability and opportunity Objectivism affords is undoubtedly beneficial, and it is surely something worth cherishing and protecting.
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