7/27/2019—The New York Times columnist Roger Cohen wrote a column about the inhumanity of Donald Trump today. It was pretty searing in its depiction of Trump’s reaction to Nadia Murad at a meeting on July 17.
But Trump was not the point, really. Cohen started out with the notion of truth as an absolute commitment. Cohen begins with a quote from Robert Musil: “No culture can rest on a crooked relationship to truth.”
But what Cohen doesn’t realize, or doesn’t want to realize, is that the attack on truth did not begin and does not rest on Trump or Boris Johnson. Nihilism began on the Left, with sophisticated opinion. And it is with us still.
When will the Left accept responsibility for paving the way for the death of truth and, more importantly, come to a decision about truth? (I’m talking to you, Mark Lilla) Are there universal truths about humans and the universe? Is nationalism false because of those universal truths? If so, identity politics and the anti-appropriation movement are also false.
Cohen is right on the disease but wrong on source and on the cure.