Nothing But The Facts…



Photo by Jacrews7, remixed by me, subject to this creative commons license

Daniel Patrick Moynihan once said, “Everyone is   entitled to his  own opinions, but not his own facts.” The more partisan one becomes the more the quote is forgotten. The partisan starts with a belief and then hunts for “facts” that support her position.

A majority of Republicans believe Obama has raised their income taxes. Of course the opposite is true. The sad part of this is that we are dealing with a simple fact. All one has to do is compare tax rates. It’s not a matter of interpretation. And, of course, the stimulus package was one third tax breaks and Social Security taxes have been reduced. Income tax rates are lower than they have been in decades. This is a simple fact – a matter of arithmetic.

We on the left can fall into the same trap. In the 1930’s, in the midst of the Great Depression,  the ideological allure of communism led many to blind themselves to the brutal truth of the nightmare in Russia and the crippling flaws of socialism. Today too many Democrats want to ignore Obama’s escalation of the suppression of civil rights in his continuation of the never ending War on Terror.

History is slippery business. The simple facts may be relatively easy. We invaded Iraq in 2003. There were no weapons of mass destruction. Over five thousand Americans died in the war. The last troops left in 2011.

The real facts are still hotly debated. The war was – or wasn’t – a legitimate response to September 11. The removal of Saddam Hussein was – or wasn’t – worth the cost in lives and treasure. The Bush administration followed the right – or wrong – strategy in its War of Terror. The messy, chaotic march of history often allows all sides to have their own facts. The Civil War ended over one hundred fifty years ago and what it was really all about is still contested even today. I wouldn’t be surprised if there aren’t still contentious arguments over the Peloponnesian War.


Athens Peloponnese (Greece)

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