The Cathedral on ‘Post-Truth Age’

In the middle ‘90s, the early days of the internet disproportionately helped conservatism? Why? Because pre-internet sources of information (e.g., newspapers, the ABC/CBS/NBC nightly news, academia) all slanted left.

The Hayekian, bottom up, organic knowledge dynamics of the internet could only help (vs. hurt) previously repressed truths.

In other words, transparency helps conservatives.

So, in the wake of Hitler 2.0’s election to POTUS, The Cathedral reacts by creating novel terms (e.g., ‘fake news’, ‘hacked elections’, the use of ‘weaponized’ in non-military contexts such as ‘weaponized data’, and now ‘post-truth age’, others surely to come) to battle sources of information which oppose them.

This is why, for example, Wikileaks transparency on the DNC’s shenanigans (regardless of who obtained Podesta’s emails) is labeled, by the Left, as a ‘hacked election’.

On a related front, I continually marvel at the MSM echo chamber’s efforts to create new Orwellian memes. (I imagine them starting in some Manhattan cocktail party or hot liberal blog.) Lately, I’m seeing lots of lib talk of us having now entered the “post-truth age.” For example, there are currently (at least) two stories in the NYT mentioning this term.

In “The Problem With ‘Self-Investigation’ in a Post-Truth Era”, Jonathan Mahler tackles the horrifying phenomenon of individual citizens doing their own research (aka ‘self-0investigations’):

Aren’t all investigations self-investigations? But in today’s morass of disinformation — the “post-truth era” — the phrase reveals a radical new relationship between citizen and truth. Millions of people like Welch are abandoning traditional sources of information, from the government to the institutional media, in favor of a D.I.Y. approach to fact-finding. What they are doing is not quite investigating. It is self-investigating.

The phrase twins the American virtues of truth-seeking and individual resolve and suggests, at least superficially, an appealing, bootstrapping approach to information gathering. But an investigator tries to get to the bottom of things. For the self-investigator, there is no bottom, in large part because self-investigation — as I am defining it here — is confined to the internet. Proceeding from the assumption that the so-called experts are not to be trusted, self-investigators are pushed and pulled by the churn of memes and social media, an endless loop of echoes, reflections and intentional lies. With only themselves and their appetites as a guide, they bypass any information that doesn’t suit their predisposition and worldview. The self-investigator’s media diet is like an endless breakfast buffet, only without the guilt: Take what you want, leave what you don’t.

Our most famous self-investigator is, of course, our incoming president, Donald J. Trump; perhaps no one is more committed to embracing and trumpeting unproven claims from the internet.

Yes, of course.

Meanwhile, in “‘How Propaganda Works’ Is a Timely Reminder for a Post-Truth Age”, Michiko Kakutani reviews a book about the history of propaganda, as practiced by history’s totalitarian regimes.

A ‘timely reminder’. Get it?

Her piece starts, naturally, with the ‘timely reminder’ of… drumroll… Hitler.

In “Mein Kampf,” Hitler argued that effective propaganda appeals “to the feelings of the public rather than to their reasoning ability”; relies on “stereotyped formulas,” repeated over and over again, to drum ideas into the minds of the masses; and uses simple “love or hate, right or wrong” formulations to assail the enemy while making “intentionally biased and one-sided” arguments.

I love how, when Democrats are in power, their manipulations of the truth and selective, focus-grouped exploration of metaphors is high-minded communications strategies qua George Lakoff, but when Republicans are in control it’s “propaganda”, the resurgence of fascism, and Hitler, Hitler, Hitler.

I never envisioned the possible depths of liberal desperation.

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