Are we living in a 'post-truth' society?
Has our society transitioned to a period of "post-truth"...and if so, what does it mean, where is it taking us, is it permanent, and can we fight it?
The online Cambridge Dictionary definition of "post-truth" is "relating to a situation in which people are more likely to accept an argument based on their emotions and beliefs, rather than one based on facts."
Given this definition, I personally believe that much of the United States has transitioned to a "post-truth" society, and many of us will become casualties of this new paradigm before harsh reality steers our nation back to an "objective truth"–based decision-making.
How many times have you heard someone use the phrase "my truth is..."? This phrase is at the core of a "post-truth" society as it replaces a singular "objective truth" with many truths based on individual emotions. The danger of this type of thinking can be illustrated by imagining yourself wrongly accused of murder, and your jury is filled with people who believe in "my truth" instead of "objective truth." In this world, the prosecutor need only appeal to the feelings of the jury as opposed to proving your guilt to a rational jury with the evidence.
We are our emotions, so if they do not inform us of the truth, what use are they? I believe that, as humans, we learn to make better and faster decisions over our lifetime by processing events and their outcomes such that our intuition is informed by truth. The more traumatic an event, the longer the processing takes. Our brains churn through our recollections and inform our intuition of the truth of the event. Later, our "gut feel" enables us to react to similar events with quick decisions that minimize our trauma. Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome is caused by events so traumatic that the brain cannot process them, such that our intuition cannot be informed how to direct us to avoid a similar trauma in the future.
What caused our society to reach this tipping point? I believe that truth is dying from a thousand little cuts and these cuts are a purposeful strategy to destroy our society and groom a population so it can be manipulated through feelings. I will mention a few below (I am sure the reader can come up with dozens more):
– Participation Trophies (avoid the trauma of losing and starve the intuition of how to win)
– Eliminate Traditional Roles (break down the nuclear family by eliminating mothers and fathers, the distinction between men and women)
– Changing Definitions of Words (causing words to have no objective meaning, crippling our ability to rationally communicate with each other)
– Toxic Masculinity (discourage boys from becoming men who know how to manage the risks needed to provide for and protect a family)
– Teach children how to avoid trauma with trigger warnings and safe spaces (teaches children to avoid facts and data that would promote rational thought leading to objective truth and an informed intuition)
– Censor Speech (so that "my truth" will not be confronted by "the truth")
All these assaults on the truth are carefully planned and promoted by those who want to tear down our country to replace it with a new paradigm.
We ignore the truth at our own peril. The United States is a young frontier nation, and it has taken 250 years for generations of Americans to forget the harsh realities of taming a frontier by building shelters from the cold, growing food, developing water, fighting off wild animals, establishing towns and territories, defending freedom, etc. This heritage of battling the realities of nature and human nature made us the most innovative, hardworking, and prosperous nation in the history of the world. It made us prosperous enough to shield ourselves from the very traumas that shaped our success.
Where is post-truth leading us? Truth is a brutal master and will make our post-truth society transitory. Our society's first casualty is unity. Truth, facts, and data are the foundation of our unity. Post-truth's first great division is the divide between those who believe in "my truth" and those of us who believe in "objective truth." Like a cancer, this divide is corrupting our politics, law and order, our justice system, how we power our nation, and even how we grow our food. It is dividing families, and eventually the "my truth" movement will cannibalize its own as people with incompatible "my truth" worlds collide. Post-truth leads to societal collapse, which will eventually lead to the transformation of our law and order–based republic to some other form of government — most likely tyranny.
How can we fight our society's transition to "post-truth" and eventual collapse? As much as those of us who believe in "objective truth" think we can reason our way out of this mess with dialogue and rational debate, I have come to believe that this strategy is a waste of time. Most "my truthers" cannot be reasoned with and simply must be defeated. This fight will push most of us "objective truthers" completely out of our comfort zones.
We must run for political office and put in place "objective truth" policies that protect individual rights. We must eliminate government stimulus and welfare so "my truthers" are required to face the harsh realities of making a living. Work to cut off any government funding that shields the "my truthers" world from the realities of the marketplace. We must confront "my truthers" in our online public squares, not in an attempt to turn them to "objective truth," but to save those spectators who may be falling into the "my truth" trap. We must become doctors, lawyers, judges, college professors, etc. and sit on professional boards so they are not weaponized by "my truthers." We as "objective truthers" must get out of our comfort zone and realize that avoiding confrontation with these people is not an option. Our way of life depends on it.