There are not two sides to every story… – The Daily Advance

Posted By on October 22, 2021

Weve all heard the notion, There are two sides to every story.

It isnt true. There are many stories that do not have two sides.

Southlake, Texas is a community that lies next door to the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. It achieved notoriety last week about this very issue.

An administrator with the Carroll Independent School District in Southlake was meeting with teachers to instruct them on how to stock their classroom libraries when the subject of recent statewide legislation, as well as the Holocaust, came up.

Just try to remember the concepts of [House Bill] 3979, the admin could be heard saying on tape. And make sure that if you have a book on the Holocaust, that you have one that has an opposing, that has other perspectives.

The Texas State House Bill 3979, which went into effect last month, mandates that if public school teachers choose to discuss current events or widely debated or controversial public policy or social issues, they should present numerous points of view without giving deference to any one perspective.

Its one thing to talk with youth about issues about which people of good will express different rational ideas from different responsible perspectives. This, I think, is what the Texas bill was aiming at.

But note the qualifiers here: people of good will rational ideas responsible perspectives. Holocaust denial is another thing altogether. Such an opposing perspective fails all three of these qualifiers.

Any denial (or diminishment) of the fact that over six million Jews were slaughtered by the Third Reich (along with the killing of Gypsies, Jehovahs Witnesses, homosexuals, blacks, the physically and mentally disabled, Communists and Social Democrats, dissenting clergy, prisoners of war, Slavic peoples and many individuals from the artistic communities whose works Hitler condemned) is at least irrational, irresponsible, and likely of bad will.

We are caught in a Wild, Wild West moment where the Two sides to every story adage is hauled out to justify every alt narrative: like alternative science, or big lie, or Q theory, or any one of the myriad of fables cooked up in the fetid hothouse of extremist politics.

The strategy of these fabulists is simple and effective. They count on decent people, who want to be reasonable and courteous, to give equal weight to all sides (which is a terrible mistake: all sides are certainly not of equal weight). They attack any appearance of rationality and responsibility. And when the last qualifier goodwill finally falls, thats when the kraken of mob violence is unleashed.

That is the very moment when a malevolent crank is able to lead a bunch of brown-shirted Sturmabteilung, out of a failed beer hall putsch in 1923, to deform Germany from a democratic republic into an authoritarian fascist state.

There is no reason to believe that the same thing would never happen here.

When it comes to historic evils, there are no two sides. Denial of hard realities is never just another perspective. One may not like various realities like pandemics and elections but the facts remain, and cooking up conspiracy theories will only damage the warp and weave of the fabric of society.

Im happy to report that the Southlake school district has tried to put things to rights. Superintendent Lane Ledbetter apologized on Facebook (of all things):

As the Superintendent of Schools, I express my sincere apology regarding the online article and news story released today, his statement reads. Additionally, we recognize there are not two sides of the Holocaust, he continued. As if that ever needed to be said.

In Germany today, there are not two sides of the Holocaust, nor of the entire Nazi legacy. The Nazi party is banned. Swastikas are verboten. Commemorations have been expunged and toppled. No one needs memorials to remember that horrible past.

Why? Because decent Germans dont want another beer hall putsch. They know, from ghastly experience, that a failed unpunished coup is only practice for a successful one later on.

Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts. So said U.S. Secretary of Defense James R. Schlesinger in 1975.

It holds true today. There may be different opinions. But theres only one story.

Thadd White is Group Editor of the Bertie Ledger-Advance, Chowan Herald, Perquimans Weekly, The Enterprise & Eastern North Carolina Living. He can be reached via email at

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There are not two sides to every story... - The Daily Advance

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