post truth

masen, 31 May 2018

it’s rare to see a government exercise a great deal of transparency in its operation. but what we’re seeing in 2018 in America is undeniably a new era in public dishonesty. the highest levels of leadership in this country are openly spreading rumors and falsehoods for political gain.

it is acceptable to deny scientific research and competent investigation using the very principals on which the scientific method is based: objectivity. sowing distrust in the process by convincing the voting and non-thinking public that unless something can be completely proven, then the leading hypothesis cannot be trusted at all. obviously climate science denial is nothing new, but it feels different in 2018. it feels like politicians and corporations are winning the information war. it feels like propagandists and authoritarians are winning the information war. too many people have given up on trust in scientific consensus and now vote based on feelings and manipulation.

it’s a dangerous road for a democracy. it erodes our freedom because the public lacks an anchor point for trusting authority, so anyone can be an authority. if we can’t trust what our government is saying because it is obviously fabricated, then it becomes hard to trust any authority, even the trustworthy ones. when the public is led to distrust actual scientific consensus, then it becomes possible to politically motivate the population with outright lies. and once people believe the lies, it’s the beginning of the end.

i want to believe that the internet will be the tool to liberate information and let the truth rise to the surface. but as we’ve seen with the 2016 presidential election and the rise of ludicrous conspiracy theories, the internet is just as much a tool for mass deceit and propaganda. people need to re-learn critical thinking and analysis. we need stronger institutions that can be trusted.

thinking beyond politics, it is imperative to come to the middle, where actual truth lives. political motivation on both extremes is too strong to want to solve this problem as it benefits both sides (although it seems the right most-recently).

ref: what we talk about when we talk about post truth