Jefferson on the Truth

I read a quote in The Federalist the other day that stuck with me. It was Jefferson on the papers of his day:

Perhaps an editor might begin a reformation in some such way as this: divide his paper into four chapters, heading the first, Truths, 2nd, Probabilities, 3rd, Possibilities, 4th, Lies. The first chapter would be very short, as it would contain little more than authentic papers and information from such sources as the editor would be willing to risk his own reputation for their truth. The second would contain what, from a mature consideration of all circumstances, his judgment should conclude to be probably true. This, however, should rather contain too little than too much. The third and fourth should be professedly for those readers who would rather have lies for their money than the blank paper they would occupy.

I’ve been thinking about this for a while. I’ve marked some of my Russ Martin posts to gather them in the sidebar later. I think I am going to begin rating all of my posts. I could do it with categories, but I am wondering if there is a better way. I only want four ratings: Truth, Probability, Possibility and Lies (usually about White Glenn).

If it works here, maybe we can get other blogs to do it. P6 is pretty bad about just posting an article and leaving me no way of knowing if he actually believes any of the article or is willing to stake his reputation on it.


  1. P6 says:

    Convincing people my opinions are correct is not my goal, Phelps. I’m presenting issues that I think need discussion. One of the biggest problems I see among honest thinkers is leaving out the important stuff.

    I’ll participate in those discussions, of course.

  2. Phelps says:

    The way you said that would lead me to believe that you want people to think that your opinions don’t matter.