Two questions every writer encounters: “Why write?” and “What do I write about?” Novelists have a natural answer: tell a story. Non-fiction writers illuminate ideas. Political writers have a more complicated task. The field is crowded, noisy, and poorly argued. TV news channels provide 24/7 insights from opinion writers posing as analysts. Anyone can throw up a blog and pontificate about culture and the political process.
Why write, then?
I write because I have a conviction. A conviction that objective truth, not opinion, is missing and needed. Opinion pages suffer across the country from a dearth of objective truth. When I say objective truth, I do not mean facts reported by journalists. Journalists recite facts from events. Opinion columns attempt to derive narrative and meaning from facts to drive popular sentiment. Op-ed pieces using “conventional wisdom” are the worst offenders. Conventional wisdom is nothing more than a popular opinion repeated enough among Washington D.C. elites to be claimed as truth. Objective truth is none of these things.
What do I mean then?
Objective truth is a set of principles, existing apart from fact and opinion, which are inherently true, regardless of public sentiment, conventional wisdom, or opinion. To be more precise: objective truth is the moral code of the universe; a natural law guiding human knowledge and wisdom. Thomas Jefferson relied on it in the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The key phrase here is: “self-evident truth.” Objective truth is a first principle of the universe and must be recognized by all men, king or peasant. These principals are true no matter what direction law, public sentiment, or history moves. It is objective truth because it can never change. It is, for all intents and purposes, no different than a law of nature. Both are self-evident and can be discovered by mankind.
Why does this matter?
Modern political discourse centers on the group “narrative.” A narrative is a worldview; the rose-tinted glasses through which a political faction wants you to interpret the world. Factions push narratives to drive news cycles and shape public sentiment. To a faction, objective truth is irrelevant, what matters is protecting the narrative. The faction’s goal is shaping public sentiment so the narrative becomes conventional wisdom. News stories reciting facts are tailored to support whatever narrative is important for the news cycle. Conventional wisdom then becomes the politically correct belief system that requires obedience in popular culture.
Narrative pushing is not unique to party or ideology. Pundits emerge to spin facts in support of the narrative with each viral news cycle. Whatever narrative gains the most traction during the news cycle “wins” and is “true.” Thus, new conventional wisdom is prepared for the next news cycle. If you can string together enough of these “wins” pundits can begin saying: “The American people think/believe [conventional wisdom].” The only principles at play are group narrative protection and security. Anyone who ventures outside the group is shunned as a traitor. It should be no surprise to find Americans becoming so divisive. The only choice in modern political discourse: pick a narrative, protect the group, fight the enemy, and support the narrative/cause.
The goal should be: find objective truth and adhere to it. Instead, pundits fight each other like the people in Plato’s allegorical cave. They argue about shadows on a blank wall, not knowing their own enslavement to a cave of darkness. The goal of the political writer should be to point outside the cave, outside the echo chamber, and towards the light. Only in the light of truth can we see and have direction. Objective truth frees us to walk in light and leave a darkened cave. Narratives keep us chained to guessing shadow shapes on a wall.
The consequences are clear when placing narrative over objective truth: false beliefs. Dr. Tim Groseclose, professor of Economics and Political Science at UCLA, researched how media outlets engage in slanting news towards predetermined narratives in his book “Left Turn.” News agencies cherry-pick facts and stories to support personal bias. The result is pushing public opinion in the direction of a reporter’s personal bias. Academia is in worse shape. The political bias of researchers is being uncovered by Heterodox Academy. Academic researchers lack alternative perspectives to override their own personal biases. This is leading to researchers finding issues with the reproducibility of research studies. Studies produced with biased researchers cannot be reproduced. This leaves academia resting on weak foundations and not objective truth. Academics and pundits relying on poor research and bias-ridden journalism then construct and push unsound narratives. The cycle of false narratives and beliefs burrows further into the public conscious with each news cycle or bad study released.
Modern punditry rejects objective truth and pushes narrative into truth’s place. Divisions created by narratives are hardened by narrative fundamentalists. News cycles shove people into group narratives and out of objective truth and national unity. In doing this, modern punditry is fundamentally flawed and damaging to our national interest. The way forward involves rejecting narratives not based on objective truth. Without an objective truth at the center, a narrative is more likely than not to be false. Objective truth should be the main lens we view our culture, not narratives.
So, again, why do I write?
I write because objective truth exists. Objective truth applies to our culture. Objective truth can liberate us from divisive entrenched narratives. I write because politics needs more objective truth and less narrative pushing. I write in defense of objective truth because I see so few defending it. Will everything I write here appeal to objective truth or be objectively true? I doubt it. I am a human. Failure is to be expected. I make no claim to perfection or a full understanding of objective truth. However, I will pursue objective truth. I pursue it because it is sadly missing in the Washington D.C. Beltway. Truth may be self evident, but we only see it once we leave our cave of ignorance. Objective truth leads us away from shadow guessing narratives to a bright light of truth. This is the Beltway Outsiders purpose: Bring objective truth from outside the Beltway in to provide leadership founded on objective truth. I pray we are successful in this mission.
As for what I’ll write about?
Everything objective truth touches.