Truth and Consequences

Article excerpt

Justice has been long demanded by abused minorities, but truth has in this country lately been abused and denigrated as a concept.

We and our children should never be persuaded to give up on the possibility of attaining justice. But if we become persuaded that truth is an outmoded concept, then it is hard to see how we can maintain our expectations that justice will prevail in our society.

On what else but the possibility of arriving at the truth can justice depend? I believe I can imagine hearing some group of abused people angrily offering revenge as a basis for justice. But when the revenge has been accomplished, the justification for hurting the enemy will inevitably try to invoke the truth of the prior abuse by the enemy. So we are back to truth as the only basis for justice.

In principle, I think many people would agree. So why has truth itself come to be such an abused concept in the past decade or so? I think it has a lot to do with the inconvenience of the truth for those whose inclination toward self-gratification exceeds their concern for the welfare of others - the selfish. Have the selfish in this country risen to more than numerical dominance in the `90s? Apparently so, although those who are the most selfish would deny this whole line of thinking.

As experience in the legal system shows, criminals are unlikely to bring forth or admit the truth as it pertains to their wrongdoing. Although President Clinton has acknowledged wrongdoing, he has not been specific, has quickly attempted to change the subject, and has put the blame on others - in short, withheld the truth while holding a position of defiance inside a whirlwind of evidence and charges. …