Is the Truth Really The First Casualty of War?

We all want to know the truth, but we don’t always want others to know it.

Depending on whether the truth smiles upon us, or on our enemies, that will determine whether the truth is fit for public consumption.  If you want the public – the simpletons who care only for facts – to be on your side, to join your struggle, you best make sure the truth is vetted for loyalty. Truth can be very fickle in wartime. Which is why it has long been observed that truth is the first casualty of war. Truth is nice, but winning is better. And if you take your raison d’être to be ideology and winning, truth is likely your most stubborn enemy.

Thus, we see that in politics, actual truth does not matter. In virtually every so called controversial subject, the actual truth is moot. And yes, there are two kinds of truth – truth and actual truth. Truth is what you need to know. But actual truth is what is. So, a Duke University girl did not actually get gang raped by some white preppies. What matters is that we think she did, because thinking she did, helps to demonize those other white preppies who might have – and the white culture that produced them.

So, Michael Brown did not actually have his hands up. What matters is that we think he did, since thinking he did will help demonize other white cops who may have shot another black suspect who did have his hands up, even if no suspect has actually been shot with his hands up.

So, the globe is not actually warming. That is an inconvenient truth. And counterproductive. What matters is that we think it is, because if we think it is, it will help convince you that we should redistribute our wealth to the third world, while increasing control of the means of production, i.e. energy, to the state. Noble causes, to be sure. Who are we to let truth get the way of what is right?

So, Donald Trump did not actually collude with the Russians to do anything, much less win an election. So, the Russians actually had no way of changing a single vote. That is not important. What is important is that we think they did because thinking they did will make us that much less receptive to a man who shouldn’t be president anyway. After all, he grabs women by the pussy – even if he hasn’t actually grabbed anyone by the vagina. That is not what’s important.

And on this goes. There is a theme here and it is this: Who needs to know the truth if knowing the truth does not help you fight the cause of social justice? Truth is a dangerous thing. If the masses know the truth, they might not want to join your fight, since most people, unlike you, are not motivated by an ideological cause, but simply by a need to do the right thing based upon factual information. What does actual truth do for you now? Or free speech for that matter. Or worse still, free speech that speaks the truth. Someone like that can do a lot of damage to a cause.

Superman considered it the highest of the three high virtues of America; Truth, Justice and the American way. And by truth, we assume, actual truth. Truth was, at one point in our history, so revered, it was not just a virtue, it was the first among them, at least to the kids who read comic books – whatever that truth was, ugly or otherwise. We hoped it wasn’t ugly, but you got to dance with the one who brought you.

That is virtue. And we can see why it is virtue. We can argue what the “American way” means, that is open to interpretation and the evolution of society. We can argue what constitutes justice, since it is not just the courts that dish it out, but poets, too. But we can not argue facts, as they, as John Adams noted, are stubborn things. If truths are self-evident, they are not open to interpretation. If the humanities and arts are the academic equivalent of social justice ideology, then math and sciences are the equivalent of truth. And therefore, since truth is so unaccommodating to the ideologue, in the existential war for social justice, it is Truth that becomes the first casualty.

One of the most iconic photos of the 20th century was one known as Saigon execution. We have all seen it. We don’t know the back story, but we assume true what we were told by the media. A right-wing South Vietnamese military man executes a citizen, perhaps a North Vietnamese sympathizer, with a shot to the head. Why would he do that? Because the regime was evil, killing not just communist warriors but men in plaid shirts whose only aim was to achieve independence for Viet Nam from its white colonial rulers. America supported the lackey South Vietnamese government, and thus, America was the one that metaphorically pulled the trigger on Mr. Plaid. The American war in Viet Nam against the communist north was not wrong because it was against communism, of course, but because it was against decency, freedom, and self-determination. And here in this iconic photo, we can see that message symbolized by a moment in time frozen forever, crystallizing the moral gulf between the west and the east. Time Magazine has it in the list of one of the most influential photos of all time. That means they acknowledge it had an anti-war impact. Unfortunately, that anti-war impact came at the cost of truth. Actual truth. The best kind.

What you are seeing in that photo is an execution alright. And the military man is South Vietnamese. But everything you naturally assumed, or were told, was not the truth. This great youtube video explains why “this is one of the most misunderstand photos of all time.”

The left has been fighting a war for the hearts of minds of the public, especially the young public, for many decades now. You win that kind of war by altering the truth to fit your agenda, your narrative. Or in some cases, outright replace the truth altogether. Whatever it takes. But that only becomes possible if you can control what is believed to be truth. To do that, you need to control what people hear and what people learn. So, you control the news, and you control the schools.  Control those, and the actual truth does not matter.

But because actual truth is rarely on the side of the ideologue, and since the Left, whether it be the old class struggle Left of the 20th century, or the new social justice Left of the 21st, has pitched itself into an ideological war with what is right and decent about the western world, it finds itself in a war not just with the ideologues of the Right, but in a war with truth itself.

So the truth, if it does not serve the cause, must be shown no mercy. In any revolution, in any war, in any struggle, truth can not be counted upon to have your back. The cause is paramount, and truth is often a traitor, changing sides at any moment.  It is often a spy, revealing facts that best not be revealed. It must be dealt with swiftly and decisively. And we all know how you deal with a traitor or spy in time of war. Put a gun to its head and pull the trigger.


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