The War on Truth

The greatest danger to our wealth, our liberties, our values, and our safety today comes from the deconstruction of truth. We live in a world driven by information. Almost all real wealth today is based upon information and knowledge. Almost all real power today is based upon mass communication, education, and entertainment. Even military power relies upon data and intelligence, not brute force.

This drift of modern life toward an information-driven society is morally neutral. Our capacity to control nature, to order our lives, and to know much more than we ever have before allows us to do much more good than we ever have before. Knowledge allows us to cure disease, reduce poverty, expand our horizons of thought, and spend much more time in recreation.

This power also allows us to do much more evil than men in the past. Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia, and Maoist China could not have survived without information technology. Orwell understood this well in 1984. Every slave in Oceania was subject to electronic surveillance. Meaningless global war consciously consumed all surplus wealth. Science was used to insure poverty, misery, and loneliness: Only the Inner Party and Big Brother were allowed to have any meaning in life. History changed every day. Government statistics were altered without any connection to reality. Information in such a hellish place meant only the momentary position of the Party, which changed constantly.

Churchill also grasped the magnification of evil which greater information allowed, which he spoke of "the abyss of a new Dark Age, made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science" which would follow Nazi victory in Europe. Any thought that technology alone is good should take into account how nearly jet engines, nerve gas, smart ordnance, and long-range missiles came to fulfilling the odious dream of a Thousand-Year Reich.

Our modern economies, also, are driven almost entirely by information. Government labor statistics, national debt figures, corporate profit margins, financial interest rates -- these and many other numbers largely determine the direction of our economy. Government programs are largely machines into which statistics are tossed and actions taken. We live in this world so fully that it is almost inconceivable that life could be otherwise. But, of course, that is our myopia.

The Constitution and the early republic had only a few numbers of significance: persons within a state were counted once a decade, monies were appropriated for certain narrow purposes (always backed by slender federal tax revenues), certain vital statistics were collected and published (a review of the Statistical Abstract, however, shows just how few numbers were considered worth collecting).

Liberty, a principal purpose of the establishment of our nation, was not quantifiable: Indeed, personal liberty, almost by definition, defies calibration. Peace was not a number, but a fact. Even in the area of monetary value, the federal government did almost nothing. It insured the constancy and accuracy of weights and measurements, but even the term "dollar" referred for a long time simply to a defined measurement of gold, and dollar bills were issued by any number of institutions.

What made the dollar useful was that it was backed up by truth, honor, and integrity. When the federal government issued a dollar bill or a bank in Ohio issued a dollar bill, this was simply a promise to pay a defined weight of "dollar" to the bearer. The crises of a bankrupt California government, uncontrolled federal spending, and politically manufactured economic statistics is the absence, or at least irrelevance, of truth.

What is the heart of the ugly "man-made global warming"? Its acolytes lie. Numbers, data, and other elements of knowledge are simply raw materials to construct a system of extracting power, money, prestige, and other goodies from a befuddled population. Truth is either an a priori given (not connected to scientific research) or an elastic concept which must fit the dictates of partisan whims.

Modern education has also become largely divorced from the founding principles of learning: Take truth and critically build upon it, and reservedly doubt when truth requires doubt. Disciplines like history have been mutilated into freaks reflecting the bitterness of educational elites. Soft sciences like sociology are simply police-state guardhouses. We have not yet reached the point in Orwell's 1984 where two plus two equals five, but with no clear dividing line between objective truth and politically correct thinking, some of us may live to see that day.

Indeed, one of the most unsavory aspects of the modern power-mongers and their strategies for stealing power is that the holy mantle of "science" is too often wrapped around a false priesthood, casting the doubters into the outer darkness of unscientific thinking. Remember that the Nazis approached their variation of demonic madness entirely dedicated to "science" as their guiding principle.  The intoxication of the radical left with "scientific" Marxism is simply astounding: No wild theory has been more disproven by grim experiment than scientific socialism, but no matter -- its truth defies consistent laboratory failures.

We have a president who is almost solely the creature of a partisan pseudo-science, which views truth as an odd waste product. Has Obama ever seriously searched for truth? His lifelong chums are a gaggle of pseudo-thinkers and strong-arm operatives who float through college into jobs unconnected with honor. He reads us his soul off a teleprompter whose digitized letters conform to polling data. The terrifying numbers which his surreal spending has created mean nothing to him. The threats to our nation are real to him only as they affect his polling numbers. His indifference to truth is the greatest danger he presents the world. Truth is our highest virtue. Too many millions of us simply do not believe that that is true. As long as concern for honesty, dedication to what is real, and intellectual integrity flounder, all the tricks, toys, and tickets of knowledge and technology will simply be little curses in our lives. 

Bruce Walker is the author of two books: Sinisterism: Secular Religion of the Lie and The Swastika against the Cross: The Nazi War on Christianity.