dreamville_bg (dreamville_bg) wrote in talk_politics,

After truthiness, we now have post-truth

Normally, I pay little or no interest in the 'new word' of the year, but this year's word, 'post-truth' seems particularly useful...

'Post-truth' declared word of the year by Oxford Dictionaries

Post-truth. The official definition says, "relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief". We could expand the meaning of the term to characterize the era in which hegemonic financial institutes, using media for manipulation, attempt to nihilize the electoral process. It is a negative effect of psychology and marketing used by a few people without ethics.

It's a fancy term, but I'd argue that for a better word than "post-truth" or "post-factual" why not use the good old fashioned one: lie. This has the advantage that it has various cognates, for example Liar and can be combined with other words to make new appropriate expressions such as "Liar-in-Chief". When someone does nothing but tell bold faced lies to his unquestioning followers who bay like dogs and yap slogans like "Locker Room, Locker Room", then you can see how useful this word is.

This possibly extends even further, into anti-intellectualism territory. When people say that we didn't really go to the Moon (or that vaccines cause autism, or that organic food is good for you because it has no chemicals, or that evolution isn't real etc etc), they're not lying. They may be idiots, and they're certainly wrong, but they're not lying. There's a difference between spouting ignorance and purposefully distorting known facts.

One would think that in the era of instantaneous information, people would have their ability to make informed decisions and form informed positions enhanced. But alas, the over-saturation with information (and disinformation) has had the exact opposite effect - to a point where the biggest liars become the most prominent figures in politics, and ascend to the highest positions of power.

Question is, is there a way out of this predicament?
Tags: language, propaganda
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