Contrary to popular belief, Conservatives are indeed entitled to their own facts:
I wrote this today in response to Chris Mathews report on Benghazi last night on Hardball (2-24-14). I used to post a lot in this forum years ago and thought some here may enjoy it. However, I won't be sticking around for debate.
Understanding the totality and implications of philosophical arguments eludes me, much as it does for those with much greater minds than my own. Therefore, I won't pretend to present all the arguments and counter-arguments to what I am about to say. However, the Republican Benghazi position and most similar political arguments are seemingly, at their core, mostly about cognitive relativism versus philosophical realism.
Realists tend to believe in the existence and knowability of an objective reality independent of subjective perceptions and beliefs. It is an extension of the subjective mind into the physical world. For the realist, truth is objective and provable with observation and experimentation, while the subjective is exclusively construed by the individual mind and simply represents value judgments.
Furthermore, the realist understands that what they believe now is only an approximation of objective reality; and that every new observation and experiment brings them closer to understanding that objective reality. This methodology is most often refered to as science. We can only confirm or deny something based upon this methodology. Beyond subjective opinion and faith, the scientific method is the only truth servicing tool we possess.
Contrarily, relativism presents that truth is always relative to a particular standpoint or individual, and no one standpoint has greater or lesser value than another. Therefore, It contends the existence of multiple truths; perhaps even as many truths as there are subjective minds. In other words, relativists tend to believe they construct their own reality. As a result, they tend to value tradition and subjective faith over emperical experimental/observational evidence, datum, and science.
When a relativist discovers what is true for them, they seem to be satisfied and tend to look no further. Therefore, observational and experimental evidence become irrelevant, and exposure to it will almost always be ineffective in changing their subjective view. As a result, relativists/conservatives do not tend to easily learn, grow, develop or change; rather, they tend to become stuck in the subjective reality of their own creation.
Relativists are able to avoid cognitive dissonance by exclusively seeking truth that is consistent with their other established beliefs. Therefore, truth is only relative to their subjective established belief system and they naturally tend to value ideological validation over the pursuit of the objective.Moreover, for the relativist, knowledge and truth are mostly social constructs. They are almost exclusively determined by culture and politics and primarily serve the interests of the existing power structures. Therefore, the relativist tends to be intellectually passive and to value faith over reason. Their views seem to be shaped by the subjective and self-serving rather than the rational; and their truth tends to be closely associated with value based interests such as wealth, status, and power. Relativism is subjectively self-serving. It tends to validate oneself and protect one's ego.
Those that describe themselves as Liberals seem to tend to sit on the side of realism; while those that consider themselves Conservative seem to trend toward relativist thinking. In Ayn Rand’s The Virtue of Selfishness, Rand contends rational self-interest is the greatest moral standard and selflessness is the worst immorality. Although we need to be careful as to avoid misconstruing Rand's Moral Objectivism as it relates to her conceptionalization of rational self-interest with Philosophical Objectivism that holds that facts exist regardless of whether a conscious being is there to know them; it is easy to understand why the conservative minded relativists are so attracted to her ideology.
Feel free to repost elsewhere.