Are All Truth Claims About Power?

I’m a control freak. You can interpret a lot of what I do as an attempt to control my environment. On some level, control is akin to power. In fact, I think it’s a form of bullying to try to ‘control’ others by means of an airtight argument.

The French philosopher Foucault writes: ‘Truth is a thing of this world. It is produced only by multiple forms of constraint and that includes the regular effects of power.’ Inspired by Foucault, many say that all truth-claims are power plays. When you claim to have the truth, you are trying to get power and control over other people.

— Timothy Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism, 37

Truth claims are another means to control, to wield power. In fact, disciples of Foucault condemn both Christianity and Objectivism on that basis. (I hasten to add that, in doing so, they also condemn themselves on their own terms.)

Those who don’t believe that truth is absolute often point to this idea to invalidate absolutes. If someone is making a true claim, then they are doing it to gain some form of power, therefore we can disregard that claim. Since both Objectivism and Christianity make absolute truth claims, they have widely been disregarded on this basis. Of course, “All truth claims are a bid for power” is itself a truth claim, therefore itself a bid for power. So we can disregard that claim as well.

Have you encountered people who wield truth as a weapon in a bid for power or control? How does that phenomenon relate to Christians and/or followers of Ayn Rand?