Vassar: Facts exist to support any argument

Ethan Vassar

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

The phrase “fact of the matter” is used to emphasize an apparent, ultimate truth of an issue. Many politicians will use the phrase “veraciously” to signal the legitimacy of their argument and convince others that it is the only correct viewpoint on an issue.

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However, there is never just one truth on any given subject. Furthermore — and despite America’s lengthy infatuation with the two-party system — there are more than just two derivative truths. There may be two sides to a coin, but no issue can be viewed in such simplistic terms. There are facts, figures and data to support a multitude of differing stances on a given issue, so there is not just one fact of a matter, but several. 

There is one world, but more than seven billion different interpretations of it, thus every human experiences the world differently.

Similarly, there is not one Colorado State University, but tens of thousands of interpretations of it. Students, professors and staff all experience life at the university differently. Within each of these groups, there exist more contrast between students and professors from all nine colleges at CSU. This variety spawns facts to support any argument.

It is important to be objective and realize that facts can be found to support any argument and justify any opinion.

The argument over Greek life is one example in the collegiate environment. Facts exist to support the argument that fraternities and sororities are beneficial to their colleges and the community. According to the most recent National Panhellenic Council report, sorority women across the country logged in two-and-a-half million hours of community service and raised almost $13 million for philanthropic purposes. The Sigma Chi fraternity has pledged to donate $10 million to cancer research by 2022.

These facts show that Greek life is helpful — but surprise! — there are also facts that support a different argument.

The claim that Greek life is damaging to communities is supported by various instances of misconduct. The Sigma Chi chapter at CSU was cited for an alcohol violation and aiding and abetting in 2012, resulting in probation and an investigation in 2016

To the cancer patient who received exceptional care from Sigma Chi’s donation, Greek life may have saved their life. To the guy who was hazed, Greek life may have ruined his life.

It is important to note that assuming Greek life is only either beneficial or detrimental is a false dilemma. Those who went to small colleges without Brads and Beckys may be indifferent on the matter. Some may see Greek life as admirable, considering the rich history many fraternities and sororities have.

Greek life can be defined with many other adjectives, but America’s compulsion to make issues black and white creates a distorted polarization as it does with so many issues. Therefore, being objective is important in today’s world. 

Ben Shapiro, author, commentator and reluctant face of the “owning the libs meme,” has famously said: “Facts don’t care about your feelings.” Expanding upon Shapiro’s catchphrase, it is our feelings about the facts that inform our opinions on issues.

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We all want to have our opinions validated and seek facts that make us that feel they are. Thanks to the internet, it’s easier than ever to be exposed only to the same types of content that support our feelings on an issue. But the real world doesn’t have algorithms that show us only what we’re comfortable with.

It is important to be objective and realize that facts can be found to support any argument and justify any opinion.

Does this mean you should research every angle of an issue and read every dissertation pertaining to it before forming an opinion? No, but it does mean be objective and keep an open mind because no matter how strongly you feel about something, there is some data out there to prove you wrong and prove another argument right. 

Ethan Vassar can be reached at letters@collegian.com or on Twitter @ethan_vassar.