Post Truth Society
We live in a post truth America. Virtually all the information we get these days is suspect in some way. This blog post is no exception. I write fiction after all, so if I ever get to the truth of something, it is usually through the side door and often by accident. At least I am honest in this regard. You won’t get that accommodation from anyone else, certainly not from your president or your legislators.
Just yesterday my own U.S. congressman, Brian Mast, sent me an e-mail congratulating himself for voting for the new American Healthcare Act in a noble effort to ‘reform’ healthcare and make it more ‘affordable.’ My first reaction was, “Holy cow, Brian. Thanks for all that fine work you are doing in Washington, saving me from the horrible excesses of the Obama years.” My second reaction was, somewhat contrarily, “Wait a minute there, Slick. If it wasn’t for the Affordable Care Act you just voted to rescind, I would have died in 2013!”
Some Useful Filters
Clearly, somewhere along the way, someone has tried to seduce me with an untruth. I need a reliable way to differentiate between the elephant dung, the donkey dung, and a reasonable approximation of reality. To this end I posit the following pretty good clues that what you think you know might be wrong:
- You’d rather be correct than learn something. Someone is talking. You’re not listening because you’re busy rehearsing in your head what you’re going to say next. This is because you don’t really care what the other person has to say. You only care that they come to accept your position as the end of the matter. Maybe you are right, but you’re never really going to know for sure, are you?
- You think science is the refuge of the unholy. All that scientific mumbo-jumbo just flies in the face of revelation. If God had meant for us to figure out how the universe works on our own, He wouldn’t have bothered to explain it so well in the Bible, right? If science can be so horribly wrong in this regard, can facts be far behind? The true test of our righteousness is our faith in unproven notions that we receive whole from authority figures who sound like they know what they are talking about. This is especially true if what they tell us agrees with opinions we already hold. Life decisions are just so much easier this way.
- You think religion is a crutch for the non-thinking. Religion was invented a long, long time ago to explain things that we can now explain quite well without it. Everyone knows this. Never mind that there are still things that we cannot explain without a metaphysical lens. The problem is not that we still need religion. Clearly we don’t. It’s just superstitious mumbo-jumbo offering false comfort. The problem is rather that we have yet to develop the science. Sooner or later, we will. Meanwhile, the true test of our intelligence is our faith in unproven notions that we receive whole from authority figures who sound like they know what they are talking about. This is especially true if what they tell us agrees with opinions we already hold. Life decisions are just so much easier this way.
- You think the trappings of success are the essence of success. The guy claims to be worth $4 Billion. Even if he’s lying, he’s still living in a gilded tower with a super-model, right? He must be doing something right. Meanwhile, that loser down the street with an advanced degree in economics is driving a seven year old Toyota and his wife needs new teeth. Who are you going to believe? The guy who claims he’s going to make your life better, right? I mean, why wouldn’t he?
- You rank your friends according to the degree that they agree with you. This is easy to do. It certainly makes holidays and special occasions go better for all in attendance if there aren’t any pesky progressive thinkers lurking in the shadows to start an argument about health care or abortion or tax breaks for businesses. The same is true with regard to alt.right sympathizers and true patriots who think we ought to dismantle the government so we can get back to the constitution that established the government. I mean who needs the aggravation when you’re just trying to enjoy your potato salad without having to marshal your arguments in support of an opinion you got without really thinking it through? You don’t need to have that opinion challenged. You need to have it validated. The best way to take America back from those other Americans is not to ever listen to their sanctimonious blather. Take your baked beans and beer with people who know what’s what already.
If you saw yourself above, run for the exits … no, really!
So here’s the deal. If any of the five scenarios above seems even a little bit reasonable to you, you are probably wrong. Not necessarily, and not completely, but wrong nonetheless. The beginning of the end of our post truth America is when we actually begin to listen to one another. And yes, I fully understand that those other bozos are complete idiots. I never said it would be easy, but until you can recognize the ignorant dolt within yourself, it will be impossible.
If you’ve looked at yourself and seen your inner bozo, thank you. If you’ve been enlightened, edified, or entertained as well, please consider sharing this post with your friends and acquaintances by clicking one or all of the social media buttons below. One way or another, the world will be a better place for it.