Democrats or Republicans — Whom to believe?

It is an unfortunate truism of politics that partisans tend to believe the worst about members of the opposite party and no amount of facts — if, indeed, facts can be agreed upon — move people from their entrenched positions. Largely, I think, it’s all about gaining or keeping power and not actually discovering the truth or solving problems.

In a relativistic age when everyone has their own “truth,” how does one discern what is objectively true and what is false? And the even bigger question is how does one persuade someone who refuses to believe irrefutable facts that they are wrong?

If everyone has their own “truth” then nothing can be said to be true. If we no longer teach – even impose – virtue and the importance of good character, then we get their opposite. Seeking to appease everyone with a claim that we must accept almost everything, we jettison the value of honor, self-control and integrity. If bad character always seems to win, what’s the point of modeling the good?

Which brings me to the case of Hunter Biden and two conflicting positions.

Attorney General Merrick Garland says David Weiss, the U.S. Attorney for Delaware who spent five years investigating Hunter Biden and came up with conclusions that were already known, because Biden has admitted to them, had full authority to bring whatever charges he wished against the president’s son.

Those suspecting far more crooked behavior on the part of Hunter and other members of his family, including his father, think there is much more to discover and that Weiss did not dig far enough into the business dealings of Hunter, “the big guy” and “Mr. ten percent,” aka Joe Biden.

Two IRS whistleblowers have testified before a closed House Ways and Means Committee executive meeting. They told a story that contradicts what Garland and Weiss have said. One of them, Gary Shapley, has spent 14 years with the tax agency.

He claims, according to the released transcript of his testimony, that he was blocked from pursuing leads when it appeared things were getting too close to higher-ups.

Shapley says the Justice Department, its tax division and Weiss’ office “provided preferential treatment and unchecked conflicts of interest.”

Predictably, Democrats deny all this. Are they saying Shapley is lying? What possible motive could he have as he has served under Republican and Democratic presidents and is regarded within the IRS as one of its top investigators?

There is only one way to discover the truth in all this and that is for Shapley, the anonymous whistleblower, Attorney General Garland, Weiss, and anyone and everyone else with knowledge about Hunter’s activities beyond the felony gun and tax evasion plea deal to be put under oath and publicly testify. These would include witnesses to Shapley’s claims that he expressed frustration as he sought to advance his investigation.

In a statement, Ways and Means Chairman Jason Smith said: “IRS employees who blew the whistle on this abuse were retaliated against, despite a commitment IRS Commissioner (Daniel) Werfel made before the Ways and Means Committee to uphold their legal protections. They were removed from this investigation after they responsibly worked through the chain of command to raise (their) concerns.”

Character matters. Good character guards against bad behavior and protects against allegations of wrongdoing.

Jim Rohn, an American entrepreneur, observed: “Character isn’t something you were born with and can’t change, like your fingerprints. It’s something you weren’t born with and must take responsibility for forming.”

If one has bad character – like Hunter Biden and, yes, Donald Trump, anything is believable.

Readers may email Cal Thomas at tcaeditors@tribpub.com.