The following is my script for a speech I made in my school’s Oxford-style debate competition which was held today, on 2022-12-25. The motion of the debate was “All Truth is Subjective”, I was the opposition’s 1st speaker. Our team went on to win the debate.
The topic of objective reality versus relativism intrigues me. It reminds me of a characteristic development children go through from toddlers into adolescents; which is the attained ability of understanding that there exists beings outside of itself that have different personalities and thoughts than the infant itself. This relates to the relativists argument as, in its essence, in its maximal state, it is the rule of me, myself and I.
The relativist argument attempts to answer a very demanding question: “How do we live our lives?”; unfortunately, its answer raises more issues than it solves. Objective morality, becomes subjective. Concrete communities and human interactions become non-existent. And political structures become tyrannies.
In terms of morality, the relativists’ viewpoint is that there exists no right or wrong but mine, there is no divine to guide us. All judgments become self-centered and emotional. The implications of abolishing objective truth does not end with “Live and Let Live”; abolishing objective truth means the abolishment of God, of the divine. The German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche has an infamous quote, “God is dead and we have killed him”. Of-course he is wrong. Friedrich is said to be referring to The Enlightenment philosophers, however a more relevant interpretation is the comment on the self-centric nature of relative truth. Relative Truth implies that humans are capable of mustering perfect moral systems; that outside of our brains, there exist nothing but us, and us is everything.
When it comes to communities and relationships between people, the existence of those are inconceivable under the relativists point of view. How would a relation with another person exist, if there is nothing outside my creation? This trickles down into practical issues, for example, the definitions of family, mother and father are nothing without acknowledging an external bond between people. And on a larger scale, expertise would no longer exist. By definition, an “expert” is someone who has knowledge of the observable, but if there is nothing to observe outside of ourselves, knowledge would be nothing but a useless gimmick. Furthermore, the existence of technology depends on two things; our ability to agree on facts, and our ability to prove that those facts work in the real world. Both conditions can not exist in relativist thinking without impossible mental gymnastics.
Of-course, any ideological answer to the question of “How To Live?”, would have political implications. It does not matter what a political system is, democratic, republic or monarch, if that system does not synchronize itself with reality, tyranny will prevail. From George Orwell’s 1984 novel, “WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, AND IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH”, there is no refute to these statements without acknowledging a reality outside of yourself. You will not be able to gauge policies. It is only then tyranny previals, when truth is obstructed, hidden from the masses, when the fictitious reality created by the narcissistic self is expanded to everyone it becomes hell.
To end my speech, I want to raise a logical problem. The statement, “Truth is Subjective”, or any of its iterations, for it to be taken seriously, there is a need to explain why that statement “Truth is Subjective” should be considered as a fact, a truth, if the implications of the statement defy its predicates. How would you declare a statement that contradicts its own-self? Furthermore, I would like to see my opposition answer this question: Why can I not declare myself as a winner of this debate?
And Thank You.