Truth vs Facts: Who Knew There is a Difference?

The President’s campaign has funded a site called The Truth Over Facts. (https://www.thetruthoverfacts.com/)

When I read about it, it took me aback. Surely even the President knows that Truth and Facts are, or at least should be, interchangeable. But since he is the President—and has access to vast amounts of secret things like the alleged “Presidential Book of Secrets”—I thought due diligence required a more thorough look into the matter.

Could the President and his campaign be correct? Is there a difference between Truth and Facts? Could he be doing the country, nay the world, double nay the universe, great service by telling us the Truth over Facts?

I investigated the real meaning behind the words, Truth and Facts.

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary—which, in Truth, might be under the control of the Deep State but I don’t know this for a fact—the definition of these two words are, as I suspected, remarkably close.

Truth:

(1): the body of real things, events, and facts: ACTUALITY
2): the state of being the case: FACT
3) often capitalized: a transcendent fundamental or spiritual reality: a judgment, proposition, or idea that is true or accepted as true
truths of thermodynamics
c: the body of true statements and propositions
2a: the property (as of a statement) of being in accord with fact or reality
archaic: FIDELITY, CONSTANCY

Fact:

a: something that has actual existence
space exploration is now a fact
b: an actual occurrence
prove the fact of damage
2: a piece of information presented as having objective reality
These are the hard facts of the case.
3: the quality of being actual: ACTUALITY
a question of fact hinges on evidence

Now it would seem these words are so close in meaning as to be interchangeable. Could it be there were finer differences between them? Differences so subtle yet critical that Truth could hold sway over fact?

I turned to history to see if I could find an answer. There I found many examples of Truths that were, in fact (pun intended,) not Facts.

In Ancient Greece, the birthplace of Democracy, the Socratic method, and a host of other pinnacles of human achievement, the accepted Truth was a host of Gods ruled the world. They required devotions, worship, and sacrifice to appease their vanity and avoid their wrath.

It turned out not to be a fact.

In 17th century Europe, if one approached the most educated gentlemen—for they were all men as a related “truth” was women were unsuited for the rigors of intellectual pursuits and better suited to producing male heirs—and asked about the cause of shipwrecks, they would tell you the Truth. The accepted Truth was, shipwrecks are the work of Sea Witches.

It turned out not to be a fact.

In 18th and 19th century America, the accepted Truth was black men, women, and children were mere chattel, to be bought, traded, or disposed of as suited their masters. These people of color were inferior to the white man and in need of care. Good for manual labor and little else.

It turned out not to be a fact.

In the mid-20th century, in an educated, mostly Christian (if such an appellation carries any positive validity) Germany, an entire culture of people were slaughtered because the accepted Truth was the Jews were responsible for all of Germany’s problems. In Truth, the Jews were an inferior and debilitating race.

It turned out not to be a fact.

This brief romp through history caused me much consternation. If some closely held and accepted “Truths” could turn out not to be Facts, how can Truth over Fact be anything but the propagation of the opposite of Truth, which is lies?

According to Webster, an archaic meaning of Truth is: FIDELITY, CONSTANCY.

By creating a website inferring that there is a validity to Truth over Facts, Mr. Trump shows his Fidelity and Constancy to embracing anything that suits his purpose. As long as he and many of his supporters see it as Truth, they can ignore the Facts.

But I will give him this, the political process we embrace in America fosters creating truths that may conflict with facts.  People want to hear things they believe despite any facts to the contrary, and whoever fills that void we vote in. Mr. Trump understands this better than most.

I suppose Mr. Trump and his campaign strategists also deserve kudos for such a creative and inspiring title for the website. TruthOverFacts sounds infinitely better than ShitWeMadeUp.

Perhaps it is also time for Merriam-Webster to redefine Fact.

Fact:

The once precious, now lost, art of telling the Truth.

P.S. I didn’t think this was necessary to say, but it is likely the site is a poorly orchestrated parody and not intended to be real. The first hint, which I thought would be self evident to most, was the fact there is just the one page. Nevertheless, when the parody closely mimics the actual behavior of the creator it blurs the line. In simplest terms, he may have meant it as a parody or sarcasm but his reputation, for once, gave the site credibility in the sense that it was not out of the realm of possibility for Mr. Trump. Such are the tribulations of a fool who believes the pronouncement of a stable genius.

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California Verdict is Proof of American Rule of Law

The recent case of an illegal alien from Mexico found not guilty in the killing of a woman created a whirlwind of outrage. President Trump called the verdict “disgraceful.”  Pundits screamed that illegals are ruining the country.

(http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-ln-kathryn-steinle-verdict-20171130-story.html)

Once again, the President and those outraged by the verdict miss the point. 

This case was not about immigration status, it was not a forum for immigration policy, nor was it a platform to visit anger on illegal aliens because we are frustrated with the problem.

It was a criminal case, tried under criminal procedure, with a jury rendering a verdict.

Was the verdict just? If one has faith in the jury process, then of course it was.  It is in this very jury system in which we should take great pride.

Under our laws, only a jury may judge a defendant guilty. There are exceptions should a defendant choose to allow the judge to render the verdict, but even that choice lies with the defendant not the government. 

No one in government can decide the guilt or innocence of a defendant.

Not a prosecutor.

Not public opinion.

Not even the President of the United States. 

We do empower the President with the authority to pardon criminals, the intent being to right historical wrongs or situations in the best interest of the country. We may soon see such authority in action depending on what Mueller does next, but that is beside the point.

The power to judge a person guilty or innocent lies with a jury. It is the foundation of American jurisprudence and one we should zealously embrace and protect.

The founding fathers and the ensuing history of the courts have always leaned towards the importance of insuring the rights of the defendant over the demands of society.  History is full of examples where those in power perverted the process for political or social reasons and ultimately the courts reversed these verdicts.

We so enshrined the jury verdict that the rule of double jeopardy attaches to a not guilty verdict. Once a jury finds a defendant not guilty they cannot be tried again for the same crime. This shields the defendants from the power of government seeking to try and retry until they achieve their desired purpose.

Now, this case should bring outrage among Americans and those who have come to this country legally.  The outrage about our failed immigration system and inadequate protections should foster demands  for change. Those changes need more than a wall.

One could argue our outrage should be directed against the prosecutor or investigators who decided to over-charge in the case. Since our only look at the evidence presented at trial is tainted by the filter of reporters interpretations of testimony, we haven’t a reliable way to judge.

But this is not a matter about illegal aliens. We should take pride in the fact that our justice system strives to fairness. It seeks to focus on the evidence and elements of the crime charged, not the politics of the day.

Mr. Trump can tweet all day long, but our system rightfully prevents him from having any authority to determine guilt or innocence. No one knows what the future holds. But I would venture to say, in the event a member of Mr. Trump’s administration went to trial and the jury returned a not guilty verdict, the President would embrace the wisdom of that jury.

Of course, so far, those charged have opted out of facing a jury and went straight to “If you think I’m bad, let me tell you about…”

As a rather amusing talking head former prosecutor said, “when one a your homeboys starts talking, somebody goin’ to jail.” 

Now there’s something to wonder about.