Blogs > Liberty and Power > Politics Breeds Relativism

Sep 9, 2004 8:02 am

Politics Breeds Relativism

Thanks, Aeon, for that link to the article"Who Cares About the Truth?" It occurs to me that politics, democratic politics included, breeds relativism. Candidates and parties constantly argue over things that most people have no way of sorting out for themselves. So they decide who's right by party (or sometimes personal) identification? Did John Kerry deserve his medals or not? The answer depends on whether you are a Democrat or a Republican. Did George Bush fulfill his Air National Guard obligation? Same answer. Are tax cuts good for"the economy"? Same answer again. Should Dick Cheney be able to have secret meetings on energy policy? Should Hillary Clinton be able to have secret meetings on health policy? Just tell me the party affiliation and I'll let you know. It's all relative. There is no absolute truth.

If we could say nothing else about politics, that would be a damning indictment.

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Aeon J. Skoble - 9/8/2004

That's exactly right. As far back as Socrates and Plato, this has been a robust critique of democratic institutions - they do tend to foster relativism. If we can vote John Doe into office by majority rule, he is therefore justified in doing things. But just because most people agree about something doesn't necessarily make it true or just or right. Big problem.