On False Truths

“There is a general and striking difference between the genuine effects of truth itself, and the effects of falsehood believed to be truth. Truth is naturally benign; but false-hood believed to be truth is always furious. The former delights in serenity, is mild and persuasive, and seeks not the auxiliary aid of invention. The latter sticks at nothing. It has naturally no morals. Every lie is welcome that suits its purpose. It is the innate character of the thing to act in this manner, and the criterion by which it may be known, whether in politics or religion. When any thing is attempted to be supported by lying, it is presumptive evidence that the thing so supported is a lie also. The stock on which a lie can be grafted must be of the same species as the graft.”
-Thomas Paine, Letter to the People of the United States, FederalCity, Lovett’s Hotel, Nov. 26, 1802

The truth need not be coerced, forced, or threatened. The truth is not supported by manipulation, obfuscation, or deception. And the truth bears no allegiance to anything but itself.

If you have to force truth down too many people’s throats, then maybe it isn’t true.


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