POST FACT AGE

POST FACT AGE We are not in a post-fact age. We we may be entering a post logic age and a disinformation age, when people refuse to use their reasoning powers to see the truth. That tendency will take us a long way down the road to destroy our democracy.

Democracy is a form of government that depends upon the masses of people educating themselves to determine the truth. I have friends who would argue with this, because of the history of slavery and then race relations. But I would argue nonetheless that we continue to pay for our sins regarding race, and that the duplicity of public discourse now is creating a path to the unwillingness or inability of the majority to determine the truth.

My father was not a well educated man. He finished high school and worked his entire life until 65. But every night he sat in his chair and read the Baltimore Sun. He could distinguish between lies and truth, and determine the best path for his family and his nation. He balanced the two interests.

Facts have always been difficult to determine in some circumstances. We are still arguing over the Kennedy assassination. Kennedy lied about The Bay of Pigs and Johnson about the Gulf of Tonkin, in the later case until a person in government revealed the truth so that the American people would know the reality of the Vietnam War. Bush lied about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and the need to go to war with Iraq.

We require a majority of the electorate to find a means to seek out facts. We require most of all a press that is both free and doing their job to reveal facts to the populace. A network that pointedly broadcasts disinformation is the great culprit here, knowingly distorting facts to suit their political goals. Our nation must demand a free and independent press, that people will actually consume and integrate into our lives. Distorters of facts, lie mongerers, must be called out and their lies revealed for the sake of the American people and nation.

There is no such thing as a fact free age. Stop saying we are in a post fact world. We are not. That's nonsense. Facts may not in every instance be clear, but they exist and passionate reporters with a devotion to truth can dig them out. The reader must understand the bias of the writer, but the writer also has an obligation to reveal both his/her sources and his/her slant on the news. Everyone knows the NYTimes leans to the left and the WSJ to the right. Read both. Get both perspectives. They are both honest reporting, even if you prefer one point of view of another.

Most of all: the U.S. requires a resurgence of an insistence on truth, on facts, on calling out the nonsense of reporters who are attempting to bring their listeners or readers to a perspective rather than to the facts of a situation. Fake news must be revealed and shunned. Our nation and patriotism require no less. We are in a struggle for truth, as was revealed by this election. If you want to have an impact on the future, insist on the truth being portrayed, from an honest perspective, and demand that sources be cited and methods be disclosed from our news people. Democracy can work, and indeed will work, but only if we can together determine the facts and discover the truth to move forward as a nation: E Pluribus Unum.

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© 2016 by Rabbi Mark H. Levin.