Evaluating facts

February 4, 2017 — Facebook

The following is my response to a column in the Tulsa World by Grant Gebetsberger.

While I commend Mr. Gebetsberger on his concern over the current obsession with “alternative facts”, I have my own concerns about the effect his education has had on his sense of intellectual and moral self-reliance. Mr. Gebetsberger states in his column that he has been taught to hold a high regard for the facts — but then goes on to say that the behavior he has seen from adults such as President Trump has left him “lacking strong guidance”.

Mr. Gebetsberger is at the age when he is seeking out and choosing his own values, but he does not seem to have discovered the fact that it is his own mind that must ultimately make the decisions regarding those values. He is right to call out the adults in his life for their failure to uphold the values needed to live as a human being, but he is wrong to think that he should be dependent on them, alone, to bring those values to his attention. Ultimately, it is his own mind that he must be able to rely on to live his life. He is right to think that he should be guided by objective facts, but wrong if he thinks that he should leave it to others to evaluate those facts for him. It is his own judgement that he must live by as an adult, guided by his own mind’s perception and evaluation of objective facts.

As an adult, I would counsel Mr. Gebetsberger to look beyond those adults offered to him as examples by our current culture, and to explore the vast realm of human literature and the examples that abound therein. The world’s literature teems with stories of individuals struggling with differing values. Many succeed. Many fail. Each example can be instructive. But if I were to name the one author that gets most directly to the heart of the matter of values and how to choose them, it would be Ayn Rand. I think Mr. Gebetsberger is at the perfect age to tackle Atlas Shrugged.

Mr. Gebetsberger: make your own mind and its uncompromised perception of the facts your highest value, and you will be able to choose your own values for your self, you will have a healthy self-reliance — and you will be on your way to a successful adulthood.

Rob Abiera