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The Illiberal World Order

The Illiberal World Order

From a big picture perspective, the largest rift in American politics is between those willing to admit reality and those clinging to a dishonest perception of a past that never actually existed. Ironically, those who most frequently use “post-truth” to describe our current era tend to be those with the most distorted view of what was really happening during the Clinton/Bush/Obama reign.

Despite massive amounts of evidence to the contrary, such people now enthusiastically whitewash the decades preceding Trump to turn it into a paragon of human liberty, justice and economic wonder. You don’t have to look deep to understand that resistance liberals are now actually conservatives, brimming with nostalgia for the days before significant numbers of people became wise to what’s been happening all along.

They want to forget about the bipartisan coverup of Saudi Arabia’s involvement in 9/11, all the wars based on lies, and the indisputable imperial crimes disclosed by Wikileaks, Snowden and others. They want to pretend Wall Street crooks weren’t bailed out and made even more powerful by the Bush/Obama tag team, despite ostensible ideological differences between the two. They want to forget Epstein Didn’t Kill Himself.

Lying to yourself about history is one of the most dangerous things you can do. If you can’t accept where we’ve been, and that Trump’s election is a symptom of decades of rot as opposed to year zero of a dangerous new world, you’ll never come to any useful conclusions. As such, the most meaningful fracture in American society today is between those who’ve accepted that we’ve been lied to for a very long time, and those who think everything was perfectly fine before Trump.

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In the Post-Truth Classroom

In the Post-Truth Classroom

Photo by Heidi De Vries | CC BY 2.0

“It already feels as though we are living in an alternative science-fiction universe where no one agrees on what is true. Just think how much worse it will be when fake news becomes fake video. Democracy assumes that its citizens share the same reality. We’re about to find out whether democracy can be preserved when this assumption no longer holds.”

Henry J. Farrell and Rick Perstein, “Out Hackable Political Future,” The New York Times, February 5, 2018

A Post-truth Corridor to the Classroom

“Post-truth” registers fear in the Heartland, a kind of devolution into a place where “no one agrees on what is true.” It is also a term unconnected with our Western culture paradigm movement from classic realist, Enlightenment modernity, 20th century modernism and postmodernity.

Any variation the word “postmodern” launched attacks from both portside and starboard side thinkers, representing to the former a deconstructing of a rod of critical reason needed to slay the Capitalist monster. For the latter, it represented a deconstructing of absolute and universal foundations of Truth and Reality.

There was, however, no popular and everyday level of representation of the postmodern. Not so with “post-truth” which has a large press online and offline mostly related to the awareness that we can no longer convince each other as to what is really going on, what is really true and what is patently false.

Extending that to the awareness that perhaps we all do not share the same reality does indeed make us think we are in “an alternative science-fiction universe.”

We now have a street level awareness that there doesn’t seem to be any external points of adjudicating reference that are acceptable to those who disagree with you or those disagreeing in Congress or with the President.

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