The Constitution of Knowledge: A Defense of Truth

Book review by Deane Barker tags: critical-thinking, misinformation

This is a polemic against misinformation. It was written post-Trump, and Trump informs and motivates a lot of it.

The author is retaliating against what he sees as the basic corruption of truth. We’ve arrived at a point in society where we can simply deny any truth that we don’t like and limit anyone’s right to disagree with us.

He claims we need a “Constitution of Knowledge,” which are a set of basic principles we agree on, like the ones we agreed on to start the country.

The author is gay and very prominent in the LGBT rights movement. I mention this because he mentions it, often, to provide context to some very conservative positions on “cancel culture,” and the Leftward leanings of academia. He’s furious about the suppression of conservative voices. He doesn’t agree with many of these voices, but he sees it as a basic violation of the Constitution of Knowledge. He claims it is “unconstitutional” to equate someone’s opinion with trauma.

I’ve read quite a few of these lately – The Scout Mindset and Calling Bullshit come to mind. They’re fun, and I nod my head a lot, but other than a motivational screed that encourages me to stand up for truth, I don’t know that they help a lot.

I had breakfast with a friend the other day, and he said “the biggest problem in America is that the Internet and social media are making people dumber and dumber every day, and there doesn’t seem to be a way to stop it.”


Book Info

Jonathan Rauch
  • I have read this book. According to my records, I completed it on .
  • A hardcover copy of this book is currently in my home library.

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