Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Rewriting History and Ignoring Facts

HT: Keith Parsons.

This essay accuses the right wing of just this. Hmmm, let's see how conservatives are going to respond. I know! With a tu quoque! We can produce a litany of where liberals have rewritten history and ignored facts. That will show that there is nothing wrong with what these conservatives have done.

Well, I really do think facts matter, so it does matter to me when facts are ignored, whether by Republicans or Democrats.

After 9/11 I was willing to cut the Bush administration quite a lot of slack. I was willing to concede that if Saddam really did have WMDs, and if there was any likelihood of handing those off to al-Qaeda, that a pre-emptive war might be justified. What infuriated me was that after a search of Iraq and WMDs were not found, the Bush administration didn't say "Well, OK, we thought, based on our best evidence, that there were WMDs, but there weren't. We were mistaken, but it was an honest error, based on probable cause." I could have respected that. But what we got was a bunch of stuff about what an awful dictator Saddam was, and that "freedom is on the march." In fact, Bush shot a video mocking the fact that there were no WMDs found. It was as if the WMDs mattered, and mattered profoundly, when we were justifying the invasion, but somehow didn't matter once we actually invaded.

I think it is a besetting temptation of anyone who believes in some particular ideology to put ideology over facts and information. This can happen on both sides of the debates in theistic and Christian apologetics. I'm going to leave it open as to whether Democrats or liberals are just as guilty as Republicans and conservatives in this matter. What I am going to contend, is that this is a temptation that has to be fought.

This is from the Wikipedia entry on Reagan's Surgeon General, C. Everett Koop. Koop was an opponent of abortion who co-authored books like Whatever Happened to the Human Race with Francis Schaeffer. However,

Though Koop was philosophically opposed to abortion on personal and religious grounds, he declined to state that abortion procedures performed by qualified medical professionals posed a substantial health risk to the women whose pregnancies were being terminated, despite political pressure to endorse such a position.

In other words, facts and evidence mattered to C. Everett Koop, and he refused to subordinate them to ideology. What we need are more Koops on both sides of the aisle.

No comments: