TGIF: No Truth!

A few days ago I was at a conference in Montreal, and a Canadian gentleman, trying to grasp what’s happening to America, asked me a simple question: “What do you fear most these days?”

I paused for a second, like a spectator waiting to see what would come out of my own mouth. Two things came out: “I fear we’re seeing the end of ‘truth’ — that we simply can’t agree any more on basic facts. And I fear that we’re becoming Sunnis and Shiites…but the sectarianism that has destroyed nation-states in the Middle East is now infecting us.”…

So when I got home, I called my teacher and friend Dov Seidman…and asked him what he thought was happening to us.

“What we’re experiencing is an assault on the very foundations of our society and democracy — the twin pillars of truth and trust,” Seidman responded. “What makes us Americans is that we signed up to have a relationship with ideals that are greater than us and with truths that we agreed were so self-evident they would be the foundation of our shared journey toward a more perfect union — and of respectful disagreement along the way…

But when there is no “we” anymore, because “we” no longer share basic truths, Seidman argued, “then there is no legitimate authority and no unifying basis for our continued association.”…

While our system can’t function without leaders with formal authority, what makes it really work, he added, is “when leaders occupying those formal positions — from business to politics to schools to sports — have moral authority. Leaders with moral authority understand what they can demand of others and what they must inspire in them. They also understand that formal authority can be won or seized, but moral authority has to be earned every day by how they lead. And we don’t have enough of these leaders.”

In fact, we have so few we’ve forgotten what they look like. Leaders with moral authority have several things in common, said Seidman: “They trust people with the truth — however bright or dark. They’re animated by values — especially humility — and principles of probity, so they do the right things, especially when they’re difficult or unpopular. And they enlist people in noble purposes and onto journeys worthy of their dedication.”

~ Thomas L. Friedman, excerpts from Where Did the People Go (NY Times, June 21, 2017)


Notes:

  • Post Inspiration: “We are living in a time when lies are sanctioned. We have always lived in that time, but now the lies are publicly, rhetorically sanctioned. And something tribal has happened, which means that nobody gives a shit whether ­somebody’s lying or not because he’s on my side or she’s on my side. In the end, will truth matter? Of course truth will matter. Truth isn’t relative. But there’s going to be a great sacrifice on the way to getting truth to matter to us again, to finding out why it does, and God knows what shape that sacrifice will take.” By Ali Smith, from the Art of Fiction No. 236 (The Paris Review, Summer 2017)
  • Portrait: (via mennyfox55)

Comments

  1. Bam. Thomas Friedman nails it as he usually does – eloquently. Integrity, moral authority a shared understanding of human truths and rights – how far off course we have veered.

    Liked by 8 people

  2. tears fall on fallow ground

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This phenomena is not unique to America; similar divisions are evident here in the UK, we are divided on many different axis each with their own truth, motivated by short-termism and personal gain.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Exactly!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. “United we stand divided we fall”. To me, it feels like we are falling. Scary.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    A perfect statement to end the week … Why? Because truly there is no ‘truth’ anymore … we don’t believe elected officials, trusted institutions, established policies … it seems to me this is a worldwide reality! 😪
    This helps me understand so much of the current reality I perceive!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The sadness I feel for my country is sometimes overwhelming. These words speak truth. There is a serious need to let ones heart direct ones path, not just our brain. We seem to be on a path of what’s good for me and not what’s good for us. Mental justification only. That’s what happens when we loose heart. Love is from ones heart, not ones brain. We have both and we should use both together. Thanks David for these thoughtful and truthful words.

    Liked by 5 people

  8. all so true, this truth about the untruths. we need leaders to rise above and lead.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This touches the heart of it all. Well said.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Interesting read thank you. Please feel free to check out our account and site at https://theagapecompany.wordpress.com/

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Friedman has given voice to my fears. I am so very, very concerned for our nation…

    Liked by 1 person

  12. The future hasn’t been written yet … and I believe that the calling and yearning of humanity to come together is still possible. However, there will be a high price to pay for those who have supported the selfishness and greed of the old system.
    I hope we can handle it 🙏

    Liked by 1 person

  13. It is morality that is missing on so many levels.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. You knew I could not be silent for this post! Direct and uncomfortable – I am particularly taken by the paragraph on moral leaders. People are seeking something genuine and good. People are afraid those things have “left the building”.
    I have work to do. Thank you for continuing to nudge and inspire.
    Have a good weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. What a simple question yet the answers are so horrible. All over the world people are afraid of fundamentalism and terrorism. These people will not stop even if the whole world comes to their side. They will invent something else to terrorize.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. great article David

    Liked by 1 person

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