Truthiness is a word that didn’t exist in the 1880s. It hardly exists now, except in the political and entertainment worlds. A funny guy named Stephen Colbert invented it to carry a TV show about fake truth. It was made up stuff, what Angus would have called lies.
But the darker side of all that funnin’ is a sad state of affairs among whole blocks of young people these days. They don’t seem much interested in what older people call moral facts. Philosophers have been writing and talking about objective moral facts for centuries. But in this so-called “new age,” younger people often fail to distinguish between facts, which can be proven, or at least tested, and opinions, which is what someone thinks, feels, or believes.
In the sparsely populated world Angus rode in, a man’s promise was worth something. The promise was an opinion, as in “OK, I believe it’s do that.” That made it hard fact. One that everyone could count on because a man was only as good as what he promised he’d do. If you did the opposite, you broke your promise. So, they were careful, more or less.A highly respected Arizona editor saw this as the moral relativism of “truthiness.” That would have made no sense to Angus. These days when one person disagrees with another’s opinion about race, they get puffed up about it to the point of labeling the other person as either racist or ignorant. That happens when truthiness is used to test an opinion. It’s not like a promise, which is only as good as the man who makes it. Angus would have seen it that way.