Trump lies about six times a day. But is it just a symptom of a larger problem?

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Trump lies about six times a day. But is it just a symptom of a larger problem? Empty Trump lies about six times a day. But is it just a symptom of a larger problem?

Post by Ben Reilly on Mon Jul 16, 2018 8:21 pm

Two of the most monstrous regimes in human history came to power in the 20th century, and both were predicated on the violation and despoiling of truth, on the knowledge that cynicism and weariness and fear can make people susceptible to the lies and false promises of leaders bent on unconditional power. As Hannah Arendt wrote in her 1951 book The Origins of Totalitarianism, “The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the convinced communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction (ie the reality of experience) and the distinction between true and false (ie the standards of thought) no longer exist.”

Arendt’s words increasingly sound less like a dispatch from another century than a chilling description of the political and cultural landscape we inhabit today – a world in which fake news and lies are pumped out in industrial volume by Russian troll factories, emitted in an endless stream from the mouth and Twitter feed of the president of the United States, and sent flying across the world through social media accounts at lightning speed. Nationalism, tribalism, dislocation, fear of social change and the hatred of outsiders are on the rise again as people, locked in their partisan silos and filter bubbles, are losing a sense of shared reality and the ability to communicate across social and sectarian lines.

This is not to draw a direct analogy between today’s circumstances and the overwhelming horrors of the second world war era, but to look at some of the conditions and attitudes – what Margaret Atwood has called the “danger flags” in George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four and Animal Farm – that make a people susceptible to demagoguery and political manipulation, and nations easy prey for would-be autocrats. To examine how a disregard for facts, the displacement of reason by emotion, and the corrosion of language are diminishing the value of truth, and what that means for the world.

The term “truth decay” has joined the post-truth lexicon that includes such now familiar phrases as “fake news” and “alternative facts”. And it’s not just fake news either: it’s also fake science (manufactured by climate change deniers and anti-vaxxers, who oppose vaccination), fake history (promoted by Holocaust revisionists and white supremacists), fake Americans on Facebook (created by Russian trolls), and fake followers and “likes” on social media (generated by bots).

Donald Trump, the 45th president of the US, lies so prolifically and with such velocity that the Washington Post calculated he’d made 2,140 false or misleading claims during his first year in office – an average of 5.9 a day. His lies – about everything from the investigations into Russian interference in the election, to his popularity and achievements, to how much TV he watches – are only the brightest blinking red light among many warnings of his assault on democratic institutions and norms. He routinely assails the press, the justice system, the intelligence agencies, the electoral system and the civil servants who make the US government tick.

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/jul/14/the-death-of-truth-how-we-gave-up-on-facts-and-ended-up-with-trump?CMP=fb_gu

This has been going on for a long time, pretty much since the right wing dubbed the media "left wing."

“There is some strategy to it [bashing the ‘liberal’ media]…. If you watch any great coach, what they try to do is ‘work the refs.’ Maybe the ref will cut you a little slack on the next one.” - Republican chair Rich Bond

“There were days and times and events we might have had some complaints [but] on balance I don’t think we had anything to complain about." - James Baker, Reagan's chief of staff

“I’ve gotten balanced coverage, and broad coverage–all we could have asked. For heaven sakes, we kid about the ‘liberal media,’ but every Republican on earth does that.” - Pat Buchanan, arch-conservative Republican perennial candidate

At some point, the right finds that it either faces reality or collapses under the weight of its own lies, George W. Bush style.

And when you look at the answers to "Do conservatives ever become liberal?" on Quora, overwhelmingly people who say they did say that it was because they realized the right was lying to them: https://www.quora.com/Do-conservatives-ever-become-liberal

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Trump lies about six times a day. But is it just a symptom of a larger problem? Empty Re: Trump lies about six times a day. But is it just a symptom of a larger problem?

Post by eddie on Mon Jul 16, 2018 8:27 pm

A very interesting article.
I love “truth decay”. That is a fucking horny word play.

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