Not only do women like Dr. Ford, who bravely comes forward, need to be heard, but they need to be believed.—Sen. Maize Hirono (D), Hawaii
One of the most troubling aspects of the Kavanaugh nomination debacle, aside from the refutation of the jurisprudential presumption of innocence and the burden of proof, was the exposure of the ongoing perversion of truth in our public discourse. Victor Davis Hanson said it well: “Truth, due process, evidence, rights of the accused. All are swept aside in pursuit of the progressive agenda. George Orwell’s 1949 dystopian novel 1984 is no longer fiction. We are living it right now”. And Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos identifies the culprit: “The pernicious philosophy of relativism teaches that there is no objective truth. Nothing is objectively good or objectively evil. ‘Truth’ is only personal point of view–you have your truth and I have mine–fleeting circumstance and one’s own desires. And those views, those experiences, those desires can be understood only by those who live them. Nothing else and no one else matters”.
And this kind of truth has taken on several forms. One is “poetic truth”, so well defined by Shelby Steele in the context of racial politics as a narrative that disregards the actual truth in order to assert a larger essential truth that supports one’s ideological position and that defends the sovereignty of one’s ideological identity by taking license with reality and fact, in this case that America is an intractably racist society. This brand of truth is manifest throughout our elite universities as students and left-leaning faculties interpret every issue through the prism of identity politics, social justice, and the essential truths of progressive ideology.
Another kind is “therapeutic truth”, much in evidence in the Kavanaugh hearings, in which the therapist’s job is, according to psychoanalyst Erica Komisar, “to emphasize and believe the patient’s story, not test it against objective reality, and in which in many cases therapy leads patients to change the stories they tell themselves to heal their emotional wounds”.
Of course these diversions grow from relativism’s primary product, the 20th century notion of “postmodernism”, the philosophical concept that there is no universal truth and, in particular, no moral truth and no natural law, a concept which is anathema to the Western intellectual tradition. It is nihilistic to its core and totally destructive of the foundation for the rule of law so necessary for the survival of a democratic republic. Without this foundation, we can’t run a country, a judiciary, or a Senate. We must stop this post-truth cancer before it completely seeps into and corrupts our jurisprudence and social order.