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Truth and Lies

I have tried to stay out of the current debate on President’s Donald Trump’s continued attacks on what he called “the dishonest media”. Guy’s Life Magazine prefers to remain focussed on the positive, but the current assault on media is of deep concern. The concern is that we have moved from a legitimate critique of media to a fundamental assault on the notion of a free press and the value of freedom of speech. Additionally, we have moved to an era where “truth” means you agree with me and “lies” mean you disagree with me. That point of view is completely vacuous, since it is unhinged from anything other than the cult of personality that is Donald Trump.

Trump has morphed the notion of truth into a very simple concept. If you like me or agree with me, you are fair and honest. If you critique me, your are a liar. This is the cult of personality.

He and his party have also embraced the concepts of Joseph Goebbels who infamously said:

A lie told once remains a lie but a lie told a thousand times becomes the truth

This propaganda technique has been widely used and in its’ recent incarnation is called “talking points”. Talking points are the spin that a particular group wishes to place on current issues. By having different people within that group repeat these talking points endlessly, they become “truth”. A dangerous and irresponsible effect.

Ignorance within those who are powerless is of little concern, but when we have a powerful leader who is profoundly ignorant, he is dangerous. He becomes dangerous since his words have the power to change the fundamental nature of a society.

Chauvinism is as perversion of healthy patriotism or nationalism into intemperate nationalism which is expressed as disrespect and disdain for others. The “others” in this scenario are the ones who are not seen to belong to the dominant group or nationality. When chauvinism is in effect, it rationalises the mistreatment of the “others” since they are seen as inferior or subhuman.

Warmongering is the promotion of war for war itself. When leaders declare that the biggest military machine ever assembled on the planet must be enhanced and strengthened, they are a short step from being warmongers. The “war on terror” is a convenient mantra to ensure that war is never-ending since there is no obvious endpoint. Furthermore the fear-mongering that is generated by war is useful for population control and the diversion of tax dollars to the profitable business of provisioning wars.

The leaders of a nation are dangerous when they communicate via propaganda, adopt chauvinism and advocate war. This is the trifecta of fascism.


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