Truthfulness, the Test of Reason

Many of us fail to recognize the profound significance of truthfulness as a principle, whether in society or in our personal lives.  A failure of moral responsibility, this has caused a growing loss of trust in America that has persisted for decades.

We now find ourselves unwilling to believe anything we are not already prepared to believe.  Any conflicting evidence remains ignored.

While the practical value of truthfulness should be apparent, a consistent pattern of intentional manipulation and deceit can be difficult to recognize.

In my view, each of us is personally responsible for the investigation of truth.  As a first principle, this requires us to question what we are hearing—and to do so with resolute consistency.

A serious investigation of truth makes it necessary to re-evaluate our own assumptions on a regular basis.

Human beings are born with the capacity for reasoning.  Yet, we can be misled.  Reason is not a window to the truth.  Do we really understand this?

Reason is a tool that allows us to investigate the truth.  We have to do the work.

How can we distinguish truth from dishonesty and manipulation?  What signals or signposts can alert us that something is not adding up?

Please permit me to make a suggestion.

Let’s start by thinking about what trust is and what it depends on.

Opinion polls have reported deteriorating trust among Americans for more than half a century.  Mostly we don’t believe in it any more. 

And yet security, civil order and effective governance all depend on trust.  Without this assurance, liberty and justice will remain elusive and the fabric of this nation will continue to disintegrate.

Trust is the substance of integrity.  Trust is essential for building a future we can believe in.  But, we cannot start trusting people simply because we wish for it.  The reality we live in right now is decidedly untrustworthy.

This problem can seem like a bleak and insurmountable barrier.  But we are not helpless. 

Recovering dependability in our lives will require an unyielding commitment to truthfulness.  This will take time and patience and determination.

We face a steep learning curve.  How do we begin?

You will find my answer challenging, because the ultimate test for honesty and truthfulness is in the crucible of interpersonal relationships.  Failures of integrity are readily exposed in fully engaged relationships.

If we are prepared to get serious, I suggest that the place to work on trustworthiness is with the people we need (or hope) to have in our lives when hardship arrives.

This is why local communities are so important.

Working with neighbors calls for sensitivity, respectfulness, and dedication.  Good relationships are built.  They are highly sensitive to the truth.  They take time and rarely come easily.

Of course, having dissimilar neighbors does not allow for thin skin.  However, safety allows us no alternative to building trustworthy interpersonal relationships.

We will win a few and lose a few, but the ones we win will buy us increasing security—and move the nation forward.

Authentic community is a haven of safety and a foundation for personal identity and development.

It is also the ground on which the diverse intermediate associations of a strong civil society can be built—which will provide us with personal choices, and protect America from an overbearing central government.

Rising above our differences to create value from a diversity of knowledge and skills will provide incalculable insurance in the dangerous years ahead.

Regular readers know I will not take sides in partisan conflict. This blog has remained strictly non-partisan from inception.

I am simply arguing for first things first.  Our first responsibility as loyal Americans must be to respect the United States Constitution and adhere to ethical integrity within the framework and processes of the law. 

Without constitutional order, wrongs cannot be corrected.

Both neighborhood safety and, indeed, the prosperity of this nation, will depend on the foundation of local well-being and rational collaboration—without regard for religion or philosophy or the color of our skin.

Without moral responsibility and constructive action nothing can work.  There will be no recovery from the coming collapse without authentic local communities and resourceful neighbors.

Tom.

You may watch for the next post on or about February 16.