Maybe the world has always been like this and I’m just slowly picking it up. Perhaps truth has always been a moveable feast, principles were things you bragged about but never kept, and one day your word might not be worth the paper it’s written on the next.
Then maybe there is something back to the idea that we are now living in what can specifically be called the post-truth era.
This is a time, as defined by the Cambridge Dictionary, when “people are more likely to accept an argument based on their emotions and beliefs than one based on facts”.
Funny that at this point in our rational and intellectual development we find ourselves back in a form of pre-Enlightenment discourse in which whisper, rumor, and superstition have taken the lead over empirically verified certainties.
Not that truth has always been the guiding principle of modern man. Joseph Goebbels preached that the bigger the lie, the more likely it becomes its own fake truth.
Indeed, the world has always been full of charlatans who made a living from whoppers and did well. But that feels different.
A peculiar alignment of the stars makes the outrageous lie a routine on the great stages of the world today.
donald trump insisted that the truth is just a confection, and when confronted with irrefutable facts, they simply called it fake news.
The Brexit campaign was based on cynical lies, the most famous of which were painted on the side of a bus.
The pandemic has been a particularly odious example of the post-truth world in which we live.
This was not an argument about competing political ideologies or strategies, but the denial of undeniable facts, proven in laboratories and expounded by epidemiologists.
Just recently, Vladimir Putin systematically lied to 145 million Russians about the war in Ukraine. Which of course is not a war, but simply a “special operation”.
The victims of all this are the gullible, the imbecile and the uneducated.
However, the winners are those who create doubt and confusion to intentionally undermine democracy and institutions.
Last week Barack Obama summed it up neatly when he said: “People like Putin, Steve Bannon (Trump’s old horse whisperer) understand that it is not necessary for people to believe disinformation. All you have to do is flood a country’s public square with enough raw sewage.”
It would not be fair to speak Boris Johnsons name in the same breath as some of the previously name-checked villains, but the British Prime Minister has been known to only ever accidentally tell the truth.
It’s so amusing to watch him in India last week pushing a trade deal with the old colony while in the same breath brazenly bragging about the possibility of tearing up the deal he’s just signed with the EU over the Northern Ireland Protocol has signed.
It would never have occurred to Boris that a man’s word is his obligation. Probably because in this post-truth age it no longer needs to be.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/donald-trump-brexit-and-now-boris-johnson-lies-win-out-in-this-scary-post-truth-world-41587087.html Donald Trump, Brexit and now Boris Johnson: lies prevail in this spooky world after the truth