The most disturbing problem of our time is an indifference to truth – or to what seems like truth. The postmodern position is that the right to truth is baseless because everything depends on perspective. Lying, meanwhile, has shamelessly survived for centuries. In 1914, just before the beginning of World War I, Franz Kafka wrote in "The Trial”: "'It is not necessary to accept everything as true, one must only accept it as necessary.' 'A melancholy conclusion...it turns lying into a universal principle.'" A generation later, George Orwell spoke to us about the Ministry of Truth in his satire of Soviet totalitarianism in his book, "1984." According to the Ministry of Truth, "Black is white" and light is darkness. Truth, for the Ministry of Truth, is what is convenient – and what is hidden.
The worst part is that this indifference to truth can be seen everywhere and reaches its peak in the rise of political deception of the public. Elections are won with broad lies and truths turn into fictions. One of the weaknesses of the Anglo-Saxon model is that in these times, lying is seen as common currency. Brexit and Trump's victory were both the result of deception.
Politicians who let themselves be carried away by their own wishes, by fantasies or by emotions cannot effectively represent a society that is highly complex, pluralized, varied and contradictory. As stated by Pope Paul VI: "The truth cannot impose itself except by virtue of its own truth, as it makes its entrance into the mind at once quietly and with power."
The devil is the father of lying and confuses people with "alternative facts," as a Trump spokesperson has coined them. "Post-truth is pre-fascism," states Timothy Snyder in his cutting work, "On Tyranny." If political decisions are based on uncertain, untrue and false facts, we run the risk of catastrophic failure.
If a politician acts as if his positions are the only ones that exist, we creep closer to authoritarianism. A free system only works if we rely on the system of checks and balances to handle disagreements when the three powers collide. "Truth," as stated by the 18th century rabbi, Baal Shem Tov, "is always in exile." The worst that could happen is that, when someone makes a statement based on evidence of extant facts, they are called crazy or ignorant or are disregarded.
Giving up on facts is tantamount to giving up on freedom. "If nothing is true," says Snyder, "then no one can criticize power because there is no basis upon which to do so. If nothing is true, then all is spectacle." Those who have the most money pay for the fireworks, while we all watch the fleeting, fantastical spectacle of illumination. Behind it, there is nothing.
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