Can a society which welcomes diversity find room in its group hug to embrace truth?
One would think that the answer should be yes. After all, if every person, idea, or viewpoint is allowed, then why not truth?
Sadly, the answer seems to be no, at least according to the Alberta Department of Education. As the Calgary Herald explains, private schools which include a reference to the “truth of the Word of God” in their anti-bullying statements are facing a loss of funding and accreditation:
“’The unchangeable and infallible truth of the Word of God . . .’ allegedly violates the School Act requirement that ‘diversity’ must be respected. In the document sent to schools, the word truth is highlighted in yellow by the government, in a colour-coded document now nicknamed the ‘rainbow reprimand.’
Everything highlighted in yellow contains ‘language which suggests alternative viewpoints are not equally legitimate, which is disrespectful of diversity,” states the NDP government.
In other words, schools must teach only relativism, no absolutes are allowed….”
Sadly, this decline of support for truth is not a new thing, nor is it limited to Canadian education departments going after those with religious inclinations. In 2016, a National Curriculum Survey produced by the ACT found that only 20 percent of American college freshman were able to discern the difference between fact and opinion. Two years later, Pew Research reported that only 25 percent of American adults were able to fully differentiate between opinion and factual statements from news media.
These results are undoubtedly the result of extensive teaching on toleration, which has elevated all opinions and gradually watered-down respect for the truth. As Dr. Everett Piper explains in his book, Not a Day Care, students have been taught that “their subjective feelings, ideas, hopes, and dreams… are the measure of all that is true and right.” As a result, “today’s millennials are not so much confident in their beliefs as they are arrogant in their opinions and disdainful of others.”
The irony is, many act in this intolerant way all in the name of tolerance, thinking it to be a chief American virtue. But America’s founders didn’t exactly see it that way. John Leland, a close friend and influencer of James Madison once said:
“Government should protect every man in thinking and speaking freely, and see that one does not abuse another. The liberty I contend for, is more than toleration. The very idea of toleration is despicable; it supposes that some have a pre-eminence above the rest, to grant indulgence….”
Has our culture of “tolerance” devolved into this state? Does it grant to every individual the right to elevate his own opinions, all while suppressing truth? And if so, will such a state only squelch the diversity of thought and practice that modern man is trying to promote?
Annie Holmquist is editor of Intellectual Takeout, an online magazine and sister publication of Chronicles.