Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights, Politics
Truthiness is the belief or assertion that a particular statement is true based on the intuition or perceptions of some individual or individuals, without regard to evidence, logic, intellectual examination, or facts. Truthiness can range from ignorant assertions of falsehoods to deliberate duplicity or propaganda intended to sway opinions.
The concept of truthiness has emerged as a major subject of discussion surrounding U.S. politics during the 1990s and 2000s because of the perception among some observers of a rise in propaganda and a growing hostility toward factual reporting and fact-based discussion.
American television comedian Stephen Colbert coined the term truthiness in this meaning as the subject of a segment called “The Wørd” during the pilot episode of his political satire program The Colbert Report on October 17, 2005. By using this as part of his routine, Colbert satirized the misuse of appeal to emotion and “gut feeling” as a rhetorical device in contemporaneous socio-political discourse.
Roger Ailes was very explicit as to why he wanted, and created Fox News: he wanted a news outlet friendly to conservative interests in the wake of Watergate, and the resignation of President Richard Nixon. I don’t think we realize how astonishing that was, and that we’ve mythologized those times as “halcyon days” of yore.
Richard Nixon ran on “law and order,” and the fear of violence in the wake of the deaths of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy. He subtly stoked white grievance, the so-called “Southern Strategy,” infamously described by political operative Lee Atwater. It worked. He rode to power in 1968, and a landslide forty-nine out of fifty state win in 1972, where he became the first Republican to sweep the south.
Nixon didn’t need the plumbers to break into the DNC headquarters Watergate building, but there’s evidence he used government resources instructing them to do so. His Vice President, Spiro Agnew, was accepting “bags of money” at the White House – as he did as governor of Maryland – to do political “favors” on Capitol Hill. For all intents and purposes, that is bribery. Nowadays, they attach lawyers to it, and call it lobbying.
The Justice Department was in a conundrum: if they indict the sitting president for an illegal breakin, they have to indict the sitting Vice President for usury. Plus, that pesky thing called The Constitution said if removed from office, the next in line was the Speaker of the House of Representatives, then, as now, a Democrat. The “memo” came out, without legal standing, or precedence, that you “cannot indict a sitting president.”
We did not have cable television, cell phones, or social media apps. Every single American, presumably many who voted for Nixon’s landslide victory, got the same information from three television outlets: ABC, CBS and NBC news. Telegrams, letters, phone calls, letters to the editor in local newspapers and polls showed the country’s mood had turned against Nixon, plus his promise to get us out of the Vietnam War turned out to be a boondoggle: many families were welcoming their loved ones home in body bags in a war it clearly looked like we weren’t going to win. Altruism and fealty to The Constitution had nothing to do with Republicans then, or now. The party talked Agnew into leaving on a lesser charge to get Gerald Ford – a congressman from Ohio, with no association to Nixon, or Agnew – in as Vice President. Then, the republicans could keep power at the Executive Branch if an Impeachment in the House led to conviction in the Senate, and forced removal.
The speed of a sprinter, a thrown fastball, the luminescence of a distant star, or the Hawking’s Radiation of a Black Hole is demonstrable, measurable facts. They are not subject to opinions, “alternative facts,” quackery, or spin. On the one hand, first, second, and third place is determinable, the speed of a Rookie fastball pitched from a mound can be logged; the astrophysical properties of distant objects can be studied because, in sports and physics, there is an agreement on what IS true, and what is false.
“Science is far from a perfect instrument of knowledge. It’s just the best we have. In this respect, as in many others, it’s like democracy. Science by itself cannot advocate courses of human action, but it can certainly illuminate the possible consequences of alternative courses of action.”
“The scientific way of thinking is at once imaginative and disciplined. This is central to its success. Science invites us to let the facts in, even when they don’t conform to our preconceptions. It counsels us to carry alternative hypotheses in our heads and see which best fit the facts. It urges on us a delicate balance between no-holds-barred openness to new ideas, however heretical, and the most rigorous skeptical scrutiny of everything — new ideas and established wisdom. This kind of thinking is also an essential tool for a democracy in an age of change.”
“The whole idea of a democratic application of skepticism is that everyone should have the essential tools to effectively and constructively evaluate claims to knowledge.”
― Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, also Brain Pickings: Science, and Democracy
The premiere of Stephen Colbert’s witty and insightful show probably had a lot to do with the “truthiness” on Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq. That was demonstrably a lie. Yet, time and comparison to our current tweet-addicted sociopath make memories fail, as even George W. Bush now can pay respects to John Lewis: he was one of three living presidents to do so. The current occupant is too racist, devoted to his base, and fantasy to do so.
Ted Cruz is a Harvard-trained lawyer, and like President Obama, an editor of the Harvard Law Review. He’s taken to Twitter to spread baseless conspiracy theories, and promote a right-wing social media app, Parler, financed by Rebecca Mercer, who like her billionaire hedge fund father, funds right-wing causes around the globe. It also shows his disdain for the people in Texas that are his constituents: he thinks they’re fools, and probably wants to run for president again on the gravy train of lunacy Orange Satan built. The Republican Party genuinely fear their own base. They’ve stoked them every time a Democrat ascends to the presidency that the great purge of “coming to take your guns” is around the corner, any minute now. There were more guns sold during the Obama administration than the current imbecilic nightmare. I assume gun industry sales will improve apace.
The irony is, Parler is a completely enclosed silo. Part of the perverse joy of social media by sociopaths is “owning the libs,” a badge of honor after frustrating arguments back and forth on a platform that you get blocked. Similar I’m sure, to throwing pollutants in the air from smokestacks on trucks, thinking oneself immune from the effects on Earth-Two. There are few “libs” on Parler to own. It also shows the tech company’s regard for the intelligence of conservatives is limited, but they can see an opportunity, like most snake oil salesmen and conmen, to make a fast buck off gullible marks.
You cannot measure a sporting achievement without a knowledge of the rules, and adherence to them to make a judgment on performance.
You cannot have a STEM field without knowing the foundations of its knowledge, what is, and is not possible, and adherence to The Scientific Method to make an evaluation of the outcome of an experiment, and the world.
You cannot have a Democratic Republic with truth decay. To list them together is an oxymoron. Unless your ultimate goal is a fascist state.