Here’s a question: does the truth matter?
I read an alt-right opinion piece recently advocating strict adherence to veracity in all debates on national questions. It culminated with The truth matters. That’s a bracing proclamation. Though is it a true one?
Such truth-will-set-us-free sentiments sprout periodically from our dissident loam. And each time I look for my bottle of Round Up. That is because the truth may matter much for personal relationships and spiritual edification. But if we’re bound to the truth…it offers little while unfertilized. Societies, and movements within them, are animated by narratives, not facts. And the degree of required overlap between the two is demonstrably small.
Of course every non-white group wields its cherished grievances, many of which bearing only a sliver born of reality. Though none lose their vigor from the absence. Trayvon Martin was stalked and murdered by a hispanic white man. Michael Brown was kneeling, arms raised, pleading for mercy when he fell to a fusillade of hate. Have the contradictions of mere desiccated facts diminished the power of these stories to motivate their audience? Similarly, has the precious truth–no matter how vivid–indelibly etched the names of Brad Heyka, Heather Muller, Aaron Sander, Jason Befort, Channon Christian, and Christopher Newsom into society’s consciousness? Examples could be catalogued until the WordPress servers groaned under strain.
And when facts and narrative come into conflict, the results are never in doubt. It’s remarkable to imagine the multiple millions of otherwise sentient whites who walk about with sufficient cognitive force to actually feed themselves while still embracing a comic caricature view of race. One that sees blacks without agency and whites without virtue (and both without existence). Perhaps a dry recitation of facts would disabuse them of this notion. Though I wouldn’t invest much hope in the endeavor.
Not that I suggest lavishing your audience with lies. Outside obvious parody, I’ve never written a word in these pages I knew to be false. That is because the truth offers an ample enough palette to paint our position. Though there should be a general recognition that Col. Mustard in the study with a candlestick is not what moves men to purpose.
If there were an Internet ludus for rhetorical combat, it should emphasize that victories are won through the heart more than the head. And if you prefer dialectic engagement, don’t be so foolish as to imagine your enemies will reciprocate.
So does the truth really matter? If you’re working in physics or oncology, yes. Though if you’d like your posterity to follow…speak to the soul.