Here’s an email I received this morning:
“Matt, I don’t know why your station lets a prick like you stay on the air. You seem to always think your right about everything like everything you say is somehow automatically the truth. Things aren’t as black and white as you make them out to be. Did you ever consider talking about an issue from more than just one side? More people would listen if they didn’t have to turn on the radio to hear some assh*le screaming his opinions like they’re facts.”
Nothing particularly notable about this message, which is why I’m sharing it with you. I get this sort of thing all the time. Even before I got into radio, probably 80 percent of the debates I had with anyone of the liberal persuasion would end with them whimpering about how I should stop ‘thinking I’m right all the time.’ Intellectual discussions would devolve into me getting lectured about my tone of voice. Arguments over who is wrong and who is right would end abruptly as my opponent suddenly declares that the truth of the matter is forever hidden somewhere inside a murky “grey area,” and therefore the entire conversation has been a pointless waste of time.
See, I’ve always lived by the philosophy that you should only speak when you’ve got something to say, and you should only say what you believe to be true, and you should say what you believe to be true with a passion that reveals the certainty with which you believe it. This stands in stark contrast to the mainstream method of speaking even when you’ve got nothing to say, and saying what you don’t necessarily believe, and saying what you don’t necessarily believe with a suffocating fear of offending the people who may not agree with whatever half hearted suggestion you timidly whispered.
It’s no wonder that we live in a country where the most common verbal crutches are words and phrases such as “like” and “you know” and “just sayin’.” Verbal escape hatches are hinged to declarative statements, protecting the communicator from having to stand by their remarks.
Yesterday I was discussing the NSA phone surveillance program with someone. Here’s what he said: “I dunno, it seems like it’s, like, unconstitutional, you know? But a lot of people think it’s OK.”
Wow. That statement is an absolute marvel of diffidence, yet this is how most people communicate nowadays. Let’s dissect it so we can all learn how to adroitly avoid ever taking a stand on anything. First, begin your assertion by saying “I dunno.” This alerts the listener to the fact that you have no understanding of the issue you’re about to tackle. Next, couch your declaration in a few “likes.” Are you saying the program is unconstitutional? No, you’re saying it’s LIKE unconstitutional, which means it resembles or is similar to unconstitutional, but it may still be constitutional. Thirdly, check the temperature of the listener by asking them if they know and agree with the sentence you just uttered. Finally, remember to quickly add the “but some people disagree” qualifier. There. Now you’ve gone from saying something solid and explicit, to muttering something vague and barely decipherable. Well, at least you can’t be accused of “always thinking you’re right,” because, clearly, you don’t think you’re necessarily correct about anything you’ve just taken the time to articulate.
This is the sort of confusion that comes with relativism. Unfortunately, relativism — the rejection of objective truth — is now entirely mainstream. That’s why an MSNBC host felt completely comfortable a few days ago when she suggested that the life of an unborn child begins whenever the mother feels like it begins. Post modern liberals have long insisted that questions of morality are relative and subjective, but now they’ve graduated to insisting that even the laws of biology and science depend on the whims of the individual. This is what I call the Wile E. Coyote Principle. It’s the belief that scientific truths don’t apply to those who decide to reject them. Think of the coyote running off the cliff and traversing across the sky, not falling to his (temporary) demise until he actually looks down and realizes that there is no ground beneath his feet. That, in effect, is an illustration of modern relativism.
There is no level of insanity to which a relativist won’t descend. Insanity is, in fact, their goal. They wish to obfuscate every issue by dumping a wheelbarrow full of putrid, steaming nonsense on top of it. The whole thing is self defeating. After all, if truth is relative, then the truth that truth is relative is also, itself, relative. Their philosophy is so ridiculous that it collapses before you can even get to the next sentence. Or maybe I shouldn’t be calling it a philosophy at all. It’s really just an excuse. An excuse to live a life of intellectual laziness, moral apathy, and spiritual cowardice. That’s why they attack you for committing the sin of believing what you say, and saying what you believe in a persuasive and forceful manner meant to communicate, you know, like, the confidence you have in, like, the idea you’re expressing, or whatever. You know?
But then again, some people disagree with everything I’ve said, and that’s totally cool.