This is not a piece criticizing relativism, though that is certainly worthy of criticism. No, this is a piece about something else, far more sinister and close to home.
See, relativism is simply stating that truth is hard if not impossible to discern because we all view whatever truth is differently, effectively meaning that a single “truth” is essentially out of reach. This has its dangers, but it does not proffer the danger that the topic of this essay will address.
This topic is that we have abandoned giving credence to facts, let alone truth. Once facts are gone, then nothing of substance can remain.
Let me give an example: health care. This particular topic is crazy complicated, and that I think best exemplifies my point and why I choose it as an example. There is a debate in the US these days on how much government should pay for health care. Usually, it is presented in such a way as to suggest that more people should have access to health care.
This presentation is important, and it sprang out of the supposed rising cost of health care. Apparently, many people cannot afford health care, and that is fine as an argument. We all want as many people as possible to get basic care. I do not think you will find many opposed to that premise. However, note the following shift in logic in determining how to solve problem: rather than address the higher costs, the argument has turned from cost to coverage.
Coverage is great, but it completely masks the costs. Coverage makes cost irrelevant. As long as someone else is paying, who cares what it costs? Yet this is precisely what the current direction of the discussion is saying: we need other people to pay for the costs of medical care so that the people covered don’t have to. This does not solve the problem of high cost, though.
It does not address it so much so that few people really know what items cost. Sure, there is an explanation of benefits, but those are convoluted and hard to understand. I will bet that most people do not read them precisely because they make no sense to them. And even if you can make them out, how much can you really know about what a trip to the doctor costs, and even then, the bottom question for you is what you have to pay.
The facts in this set up is what does medical care cost. As consumers, it is something we should want to know, but we do not know it. And finding it out is darn near impossible because the insurance companies, not the providers, tell us what it costs. And the insurance companies are the groups that provide the “coverage”. And the politicians pushing for greater government control of health care use the goal of greater coverage as fodder for their argument. The insurance companies can charge whatever they want because no one can hold them accountable.
I think this is all a game to manipulate the situation to the betterment of government and insurance companies. The politicians are generally left leaning, and use similar tactics in other areas, like gun control. Facts have little meaning if you first cannot get to them and second if they are to be manipulated.
Its no wonder people are confused and frustrated. Its no wonder people will fall for anything. A leaving of facts behind is far more dangerous than a wondering search for an unidentifiable truth. Of course, the two go hand in hand, but as long as we may have facts as a north-star, we can guide our way. Once facts go, we have no idea where we are heading.
And that is a problem.