Several pundits have proposed we have entered a “post-truth” phase in society. I don’t agree – “post-truth” implies that we have moved past the truth on to something else. We haven’t. We won’t. We can’t. We can ignore truth – but like matter, truth cannot be destroyed.
As a society if we cannot debate based on truth, we are in for some tough sledding.
Several folks have already posted the clip of Tucker Carlson interviewing Yvette Felarca, a middle school teacher and supporter of the Berkeley “protests”. My apologies for the re-post but this is an important interview with a “regular person” of the left, a teacher who stands in front of 13 and 14-year-old kids every day, who truly believes she is speaking “truth”. I sensed no guile or deception in her delivery, she is 100% committed to what she says.
But a closer examination of what she said, in her own words, indicates she is arguing her perception and opinion and not in fact, the truth. Speaking of Milo Yiannopoulos, at the 5:25 mark, she states:
“He should not be allowed to speak in public to spread his racist and misogynist and homophobic lies. No, he does not have the right to do that. When he’s trying to…when he is using his speech to whip up attacks on people, no he doesn’t have the right to do that…to spread lies about our humanity…when you are trying to spread racism and hostility, misogyny, rape, whip up people to lynch people or to certainly have that mentality to rape people or to lynch them… “
I’m not a fan Yiannopoulos or Breitbart but because I AM a fan of the truth, I went back to look through things he has written and the available transcripts of speeches he has given – and I find no examples of him “using his speech to whip up attacks on people” or “spreading lies about our humanity” (whatever that means) – I do find several instances of him supporting lawful acts but never calling for people to be attacked. I have never seen instances where he – or anyone at Breitbart for that matter – are trying to spread “racism and hostility, misogyny, rape” or are trying to “whip up people to lynch people”.
She continued after Tucker asked about the First Amendment:
“The First Amendment is about free speech but that’s not an abstraction and if there was someone in my classroom who was espousing rape…or genocide…or attacks on Muslims, I would certainly make sure I stood up for the rest of my students…”
Well, la tee da, your Majesty, if I was faced with someone “espousing rape…or genocide…or attacks on Muslims”, I would have the same reaction. This is nothing more than virtue signaling combined with a couple of classic fallacies – she is proselytizing as to what her High Morality would not allow, implying that this is exactly what Yiannopoulos, Steve Bannon and the rest at Breitbart are doing and oh, by the way – she has the moral high ground.
Socratic learning has been largely replaced with regimented indoctrination, free thinking is not encouraged, and following the “system” is valued over critical thinking. Direct, vigorous debate and defending a position seem to be alien, just “sharing” opinions or presenting a list of facts is good enough. Knowledge is substituted for wisdom. It makes for an intense interest in politesse but leads to arrogant, undisciplined, unorganized thought, resulting in overt hostility to any challenge or correction.
Schools are now more focused on teaching what to think and not HOW to think. Objective truths and established facts are dismissed as opinion and opinion is accepted as fact – as in this case. I would say tagging Yiannopoulos, an immigrant, Jewish gay man with a black partner, as someone who is genocidal, racist, homophobic and misogynist is a pretty big stretch.
I’ve belonged to several country clubs in my life. I actually had a person tell me once that they knew how we talked about women and blacks in those locker rooms even though this person had never witnessed any such conversations, much less ever been in a locker room with me – but he “just knew” what was said. A century of constant stereotyping of conservatives/classic liberals by progressives has etched an indelible, dogmatic image of who we are in the progressive hivemind.
Ms. Felarca is an example of an America that has succumbed to this dogma of progressivism. What she does is infer from the things that have been said and it is clear she believes her inferences are true (or at least are the “revolutionary truth” – that set of words designed to advance the revolution). Sadly, there is nothing anyone can say to change the minds of anyone who believes they have found the revolutionary truth – not even the truth will sway them.
As I said – we are in for tough sledding.