Does it seem to you that we see more and more examples of agenda over integrity? Said differently, are politicians, people on social media and the media themselves holding out something less than the truth in order to make a point? Or win an election? Or to get something they want? If they are doing that, that’s what I mean by a triumph of agenda over integrity.
I see this everywhere; in politicians of all stripes, and on all sides of almost every discussion, from education debates to social issues to road funding. Perhaps you see this happening more on one side or the other—I see it happening equally on all sides of almost every issue.
BTW, to get our thought juices flowing, where do you go to get trustworthy, neutral reporting? You know, the kind of reporting that is NOT all-but written before the interviews and other “research” are even started. I go to the same place where I know that I can find a unicorn farm.
Sometimes adhering to, “The truth, whole truth and nothing but the truth.” is ignored simply in order to win. This works for those who actually believe that all’s fair in love and war. Others hide behind the end justifying the means, feeling that this reason for playing fast and loose with the truth it morally superior to lying simply to win; it is not. It’s still just Truth Decay. Means are ends in and of themselves, and they cannot be fairly or morally manipulated in order to achieve any particular end result. No matter how moral or important you think that result might be. You’ve heard that it is not the destination, it is the journey. Well, that’s true. Here, the journey is the means, and the destination is the desired results. It is all journey. It is all just a series of means, and any achieved end is simply another means to another end.
Side point: We’re not talking about people who use cliches, catch phrases and insults in discussions as substitutes for facts, logic and honest debate. That’s as wrong as lying, but it is different topic.
Say what you mean. Not doing that is another example of truth decay. Remember the whole truth part? For example, if you are for open borders, don’t just stay that walls don’t work. Or claim that people who want walls are all racist. Stand up for yourself and say that you want open borders. Similarly, if you are for no additional gun control, don’t hide behind law enforcement failures, and the sloppiness involved when some people slip by on pre-purchase background checks. Just stand up and say what you mean.
And opinions masquerading as facts, portrayed as facts, pretending to be facts and logic, are another example. Pretending is, well, lying. We are not kids anymore, where pretending can be a growth tool. Here, pretending is just more Truth Decay.
As in the law, where much goes to intent, the same is true here. If the intent is to spin the facts, make what shold be clear intentionally fuzzy because of an agenda, then you are lying–or being lied to.
The principle here is: let facts and logic discover, uncover, reveal the agenda, not use the agenda to “create” the supporting facts and logic. Repeat.
“Stolen honor” used to be in the news. Included videos of people dressed up a military when they were not. And there’s always the money from stolen taxpayers under false (there’s that word again) pretenses. Stop me if you’ve heard this one: “We need to raise taxes, or you lose LEO, fire, schools or roads.” Why is fat never never on the chopping block? Bigger buildings, lavish pensions, layers of marginally useful administrators are some examples. If politicians tell you the truth about why new taxes are needed and use our money efficiently, it is legal and beneficial taxation. If they disguise the real reasons, and use our money inefficiently, it is theft by extortion. “More money in taxes, or I take away your cops and teachers.”
Here are a couple examples from advertisers. “Overweight? Not your fault. Take this pill and lose 40 pounds. No dieting and no exercise.” What better example of Truth Decay can there be than this; preying on the overweight and desperate? Trading that desperation for profit.
Here are some other examples that are just as heinous. “Call us and get your credit debt dramatically reduced or eliminated.” Same thing with taxes owed. If someone gets away with not paying for what they bought, or what they owe on their income, do you think the credit card companies and government won’t get it from the rest of us? Don’t be silly. If these get-out-of your-responsibilities companies were to tell the truth in their advertising, they’d say, “You owe the money, and we can get you out of it. Just don’t tell your neighbors that we sent your bill to them.” How well do you think that would work? No wonder they indulge in Truth Decay to make a dishonest buck.
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It is time for our usual parting thought. For us at Results With Reason, it is not simply change your thinking, change your life. It is change your thinking, change your actions, change the world. And if you can do it in love and enjoy the people around you at the same time, all the better. Remember: Knowledge by itself is the booby prize.
Will Luden, writing from my home office at 7,200’ in Colorado Springs.