Wednesday, August 09, 2006

From the Memory Hole: Truthiness

Stephen Colbert's concept of "truthiness" increasingly applies to pundits and commentators in many aspects of the foreign policy debate. Colbert's explanation of "truthiness" from last year I think bears to be re-examined. I especially think it important because those of you familiar with the writings and speeches of Nixon Center president Dimitri K. Simes know that he is a believer in the maxim that you are entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts--but increasingly that is no longer the operating rule.

It used to be, everyone was entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts. But that's not the case anymore. Facts matter not at all. Perception is everything. It's certainty. People love the president because he's certain of his choices as a leader, even if the facts that back him up don't seem to exist. It's the fact that he's certain that is very appealing to a certain section of the country. I really feel a dichotomy in the American populace. What is important? What you want to be true, or what is true?

Truthiness is "What I say is right, and [nothing] anyone else says could possibly be true." It's not only that I feel it to be true, but that I feel it to be true. There's not only an emotional quality, but there's a selfish quality.

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