National Commentary

America’s ‘Anti-Truth’ Epidemic

Don’t let up!

This has to be the unifying theme behind the multi-pronged efforts of U.S. law enforcement to go after the criminal elements responsible for both fueling the Trump organization’s financial machine based in New York, and for the January 6 insurrection at the nation’s Capitol in Washington, D.C.

Moreover, anyone who believes in democracy and, for goodness sake, the preference of facts over fiction, must be unyielding in their opposition to the Trump machine, and the now growing Republican Party-wide insanity that continues to dispute the outcome of last November’s presidential election.

The “Big Lie” ultimately sits behind all these fronts that are challenging the very viability of the U.S. democracy in these perilous times. It’s not just a particular lie, but the notion fueling the Nazis’ rise to power in Germany in the 1920s and 1930s, that the art of persisting in the Big Lie, the idea that merely by asserting it, a falsehood of any dimension, but the bigger the better, is a valid determinant in the fight for power.

Americans have enjoyed years of relative domestic peace since the end of the Vietnam War and the draft in the mid-1970s, and few have questioned the straightforward notion that truth and facts are what should govern our affairs.

But lurking since that time have been those who would destroy such seemingly simple notions. Starting out as a marginalized fringe, these elements have step by step moved into the center lanes of our culture and now represent a major menace to our way of life.

Taken as a whole, they represent what can be understood as an all-out assault on reason and truth, acting on behalf of a wide variety of lunatic conspiracy theories and “alternative” truths.

Many such notions were incubating in the multitude of anti-rational cults of religious and other trends that fed off the failed Vietnam War effort and dying embers of the civil rights and anti-war movements of the 1960s. The 1970s became known as the “Me” decade for a reason, because the dominant social engineers of our culture saw efforts to turn the public’s attention away from wider social issues toward introspective ones functioned as the best antidote against pressures for meaningful social change.

While dominant social currents looked at the rise of cults in the 1970s with amusement and derision, they were growing by leaps and bounds, and they all had the same m.o., to undercut normal reason and rationality with almost any variety of the opposite. Needed were commonly sociopathic “leaders” who would make up and spout almost anything impose it on their flocks, who would be fed such delusionary crap in the context of various forms of sensory deprivation and group peer pressures.

It was sadly the willingness of persons to fall into this mental trap because of an overriding desire to “belong” to a group or perceived cause that was the entry point for their willing “suspension of disbelief” and subordination of their own faculties of reason and common sense to this process.

Running parallel with this was a sinister current within the realm of academia and agencies of social engineering to develop an attending philosophical current that came under the overarching rubric of “postmodernism,” also known as radical “post-truth,” which questioned every commonly understood notion of rationality, ostensibly in the name of elevating every crazy idea into the same universe of valid options as common reason.

The concept of “universals,” even things as simple as the laws of gravity, were deemed suspect.
While this menace exploded through mind-controlling cults, they also found homes in existing religious fundamentalist currents, where concepts such as Biblical inerrancy overtook appeals for basic morality as the driver of “faith.”

It is this evil “anti-truth” movement, as it were, has been totally underappreciated by dominant and common pragmatist currents in society until, behold, almost half of America no longer believes the outcome of a presidential election, or that vaccines are anything but a plot to destroy them.

Needless to say, America’s strategic adversaries, Russia, China and others, have delighted in and intervened to advance these dangerous tools of chaos and dissembling here.

 Nicholas Benton may be emailed at [email protected]