Who can oppose Truth or favor Lies? It seems so simple, and yet not only is nobody perfect, it is often the case that those with the power create their own reality and/or are very much behind the truth of the times, not to mention corrupt.
Thus, activists are typically in the position of trying to change power by saying messages that take this general form: “The Truth is that people are hurting in such a way that power must do something or the power will be morally and ethically in error if they do not.”
Now, if the power or government does not act as we wish presumably the power does not think it is morally and ethically in error. So, when we don’t succeed, are we activists then liars? Or, are activists liars in stating the facts that people are hurting in specific ways?
What principle will stop social media from either tagging or censoring all activists as liars or sources of misinformation, especially when fact checkers routinely just check with “the authorities” (read: the establishment or government) in order to determine the truth or the facts?
While I believe government is an important tool that can be used, it is nevertheless true that the government itself is one of the biggest liars. And the more active one becomes in any given area the more one recognizes government shortfalls in the truth department. Did I just write a BIG Lie now?
We are also urged to consume only trustworthy and reliable media. For progressives for example, this often means CNN and the mainstream media. But how can progressives go along with such “reliable” sources when the things the MSM can be most relied upon for are supporting every war that comes along, being against Medicare for all, in denial of any widespread establishment corruption, and dismissive of any MSM bias in these areas?
The duty we all owe to the Truth is being harnessed to force us to accept the assertions of Power. Instead of a blind loyalty to an individual like Trump, we are called now to a blind loyalty to the establishment – those with the power or influence in any given area sufficient to declare what the Truth allegedly is. And the same media that force fed us what many consider to be Trumpian lies now wants us to go on a diet of No Lies??
And the blind loyalty to the establishment is being called for most intensely on the most controversial issues of our time:
(1) loyalty to war efforts of the military industrial complex where they simply assert who our enemy is and we must go along without much evidence,
(2) loyalty to the government-declared winners of elections where we must go along without them disclosing hardly any evidence,
(3) loyalty to the government’s right to decide what goes into our bodies like vaccines where many must go along to keep jobs or social opportunities, but without disclosing the evidence we require for informed consent,
(4) loyalty to the government’s declaration of who did the Solarwinds hack where we must follow into likely cyberwar, without any actual evidence disclosed, and so on.
In each of the above cases and others, the government creates or maintains a secrecy or nontransparency, and those who question it are called names like conspiracy theorist or radical just for doing the duty of all citizens or being informed and questioning their government. The fact that disclosure of facts would eliminate the need for all theories – conspiracy or otherwise- is entirely ignored and secrecy is defended.
Won’t the Liar label, and the resulting censorship, be the name and the result for all activists seeking serious change?
Given the establishment’s power to declare what is truth, can anyone see the lone individual whistleblower being considered anything but a Liar, on top of being a conspiracy theorist and a disgruntled gadfly with probable mental health issues?
It would seem government cannot be held accountable unless it admits to Lying – otherwise it is the citizens who are lying.
This country was founded on the idea that individuals are the safest repository of power. Thus we each have a vote together with the right and duty to be an independent evaluator of truth claims and an independent ethical thinker.
We are being stampeded to the idea that authorities and massive media corporations are the only reliable determiners of truth. They wish to he censors, and censors always think they are amply justified by saving the public from fake news and “misinformation.”
We may be dismayed by the power of propaganda to distort the minds of our political opponents. We may be tired of divisive controversy, but we are being wooed with the security and lack of controversy seen in societies with controlled press and no freedom. This is a yearning for a flavor of information-control fascism.
But we should seriously consider ourselves – not just the other side- to be the victims of propaganda – specifically by these “reliable sources” – if we think that giving up our individual power to decide what is truth and what is a lie is a good idea. The fundamental problem is not the existence of “misinformation” but the factors that make people gullible, especially partisan loyalty, and loyalty generally.
We are supposed to be independent citizens who evaluate everything to make sure the government we created and the media we protect by the First Amendment serves us, not the other way around.
If we have any information sources that are simply Trustworthy – that we need not think critically about – then as to those sources we are children, not citizens. And nobody can speak truth to power if power decides the truth.