The Simple Truths Thesis is that within some domain of inquiry or dispute, there is a set of truths that only the wicked, stupid, or mendacious would question or deny. (Philosophy15 video on it here) Some domains of inquiry admit of simple truths, for sure. But even in those domains, not all truths within them are so simple. The core problem with the simple truths thesis is that there’s a difference between being wrong and being irrational. It’s possible to be rational and wrong, to make a mistake, to be led astray by some piece of evidence or a theory. And to have one’s defaults set on interpreting those with whom one disagrees as being on the wrong side of a simple truth is to set oneself up for being deaf to all criticism.
A perfect recent instance of Simple Truths being wielded to defend against criticism is by President Donald Trump in his AP interview over the weekend. Transcript here. When asked about criticism he’s received over whether he’s not kept his campaign promise to label China a currency manipulator, Trump replies that they’ve, since he’s taken office, not been so bad. Oh, and he can’t call them out on it if he’s also hoping to get help from them on North Korea. But what does he think of the criticism?
And the media, some of them get it, in all fairness. But you know some of them either don’t get it, in which case they’re very stupid people, or they just don’t want to say it.
Stupid or mendacious. Those are the only options.