A. Barton Hinkle on Ideology and Aversion to Truth


Hayden Planetarium

Conservatives and other non-liberals are not exactly allergic to what Stephen Colbert, the much-lionized author of the aphorism above, calls "truthiness": the quality a belief has of feeling it must be true, even if it isn't, because one so badly wants it to be true. If non-liberals fall prey to truthiness, then liberals fall prey to FBA: "fake but accurate." For a long time Neil deGrasse Tyson, the popular astrophysicist, told a fake-but-accurate story about Bush, which illustrated both Bush's ostensible stupidity and his ostensible religious bigotry. Eventually, Tyson conceded his memory was faulty and backed down.

When it comes to the truth, writes A. Barton Hinkle, the real bias is thinking any one side has a monopoly on it.