Has truth died? Are we in an era of post truth? Has our ability to reason died?
With the rise of digital culture — phenomenon such as fake news and the rise of digital dictatorships have posed new challenges.
No longer is inquiry, reasoning and truth important in our political discourse. Instead, we have become a nation of angry, unreasonable and dogmatic partisans.
It turns out that we are “political animals” — not in the Aristotelian sense — but in the sense that we no longer reason as humans in our political discourse. We have become primitive and tribal — just like animals.
Unfortunately, we no longer care about enlightenment principles such as reason and truth that made current day Western civilization possible. Information and complex discourse’s have been condensed into 140 characters known as tweets.
Our political divisions have caused the formation of echo chamber’s that lead to dogmatic partisanship. No longer do we use facts, reason or scholarship to construct the best possible arguments. Instead, we have appealed to ideology and emotion over reason, scholarship and truth.
Current right-wing populism has shattered the liberal democratic consensus and presents a unique danger to western civilization. In some discourses, there can be no compromise between two extremes — so one must take a moral position — like in the case of Nazi Germany.
However, I argue precisely that truth and reason are a desirable moral virtue in themselves and that empathy is not at odds with truth and reason. Life’s biggest moral and political questions can be found apropos truth and reason.
It was for the pursuit of truth, that Saudi Journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed. We are all in debt to him and must uphold the truth at all cost. The truth comes with sacrifices, but we must remain loyal to it.
Like Noam Chomsky claimed in his 1988 book Manufacturing Consent — the mainstream media have limited the scope of what can be covered through framing — and is getting caught up in its own ideological propaganda.
This is best seen with the mainstream media’s obsession with political correctness and its fear of inciting backlash with taboo topics. Even corporations are using the current moment to sell products to a politically correct demographic — and this is best seen in the Gillette ad about toxic masculinity.
Not that the ad was poor — but I don’t think Gillette care about toxic masculinity in the slightest — but instead are appealing to the emotions of easily manipulatable simple minded “activists” to sell products.
The New York Times, NPR and the BBC are still providing quality journalism — but they also make silly mistakes and seem to be limiting the conversation through outdated formats and banal subjects.
This is perhaps why many now rely on partisan rubbish such as Breitbart, The Huffington Post and somewhat more reasonable commentary like Quillette.
Some mainstream media outlets and the twitter sphere all seem to be framing situations in an untruthful way that ignites anger and tribalism — and this was best seen in the Covington Catholic School pro-life rally fiasco.
The mainstream media willingly told lies — and took the whole story grossly out of context. First, the mainstream media completely ignored the homophobic and racist slurs coming from the Black Hebrew Israelites. Secondly, they whipped up a pornography of anger without facts — one in which we began to hate immature sixteen-year-old boys. This begs the question: How will America view the mainstream media after such a careless mistake?
This incident also represents the dangers of twitter culture — since twitter has provided a space for phony outrage over truth. I am not at all defending misguided kids who are tribal and seem to be fairly close minded and uneducated — but it’s not just the kids’ fault — but also the fault of the parents who raised them with such narrow beliefs. As a society, it is dogmatic and unethical to demonize kids.
The mainstream media have usually done its job very well — but it seems like in some cases — emotions and ideology have overtaken the truth. Like historian Niall Ferguson says — we really have become a “emocracy over a civil democracy”. Both liberals and right-wingers have resorted to emotions, instincts, identity and tribalism over truth, reason and progress.
There is a vital importance in maintaining truth to sustain democratic institutions and our own ethics. Immanuel Kant’s categorical imperative states that our actions should be desirable in the sense that they can become universal law.
John Stuart Mill states that our actions should have the best possible consequences. Truth is a virtue that would benefit our universal laws — and will therefore lead to the best possible outcomes.
In the final analysis, we are in an era of complete stupidity. Our own President is bringing us to a so called “post truth” and “alternative facts” era — and this ideology will lead our nation to a certain stupid and dogmatic subjectivity about vital political and moral questions.
Our opportunist President has no ethics and no conception of truth and reason. He is concerned about brainwashing, tribalism, power and ideology as opposed to the advancement of our human civilization. On the radical left, the postmodern approach of their being no truth and that truth is irrelevant is preposterous.
Democrat representative Alexandria Ocasio Cortez said in an interview that “I think that there’s a lot of people more concerned about being precisely, factually, and semantically correct than about being morally right”.
I would tell Cortez that being factually correct is being morally right — and truth and morality are not at odds but are intertwined. Jamal Khashoggi’s murder by the tyrants of the House of Saud is an example of how important the truth is — and just how noble of a pursuit it is.