My last post in this blog was about how the President of the United States suggested that Dr. Stella Immanuel who believes various health problems were caused by people having sex with aliens and that scientists are trying to figure out how they can create a potion that will stop people from being religious, had “an importance voice” that should be heard and she was “impressive.” This indicated to me that there was no longer anything like truth. It is not just that the President said that, it is that he has more than 80 million Twitter followers as of May 2020. Here is what the Washington Post said about his followers in May of 2020,
“President Trump has more than six times as many followers on Twitter as he did when he was elected to office in 2016.
He gained nearly 1.7 million followers in the past month, bringing his total to 80.3 million followers and making him the eighth most followed account on the site, according to social analytics company Social Blade. Trump has tweeted more than 52,000 times total and tweeted or retweeted more than 50 times on Tuesday and Wednesday. Each received thousands of comments, likes and re-tweets.’
Since making these comments Trump’s ratings among Americans has improved! How can that be? Americans don’t care about truth? Truth died without a defender. Is any other explanation possible?
Of course there is one person who is a genius at taking advantage of this sorry state of “thinking”. That of course is Donald J. Trump. Andrew Sullivan, a conservative pundit, not some left wing radical, described the situation this way:
“And the president — who knows exactly what he is doing — is making it far, far worse. His war on the nation’s traditional press is a part of the same scheme: information warfare, meant to mess with reality and sow as much confusion as possible.’
The great political thinker Hannah Arendt understood the dangerous connection between abandonment of truth and authoritarianism and fascism. She pointed out that through an onslaught of lies, which may be debunked before the cycle is repeated, totalitarian leaders are able to instil in their followers “a mixture of gullibility and cynicism,” she warned. Over time, people are conditioned to “believe everything and nothing, think that everything was possible, and that nothing was true.” And then such leaders can do pretty much whatever they wish. That really is the point.
When such outrageous lies are given the seal of approval from the President of the United States and his followers soak it up and don’t abandon him, but instead support him more loyally than before, you know, you absolutely know, the battle is over. Truth has been slain. Unreason rules the land. Authoritarianism is around the corner. We are doomed.
Nietzsche’s madman in Also Sprach Zarathustra said “God is dead and we have killed him.” That of course is not literally true. But I do know this: truth is dead and we have killed it. Dostoevsky’s Ivan in that great novel Brothers Karamazov added, “if God is dead all is permitted.” I would add: if truth is dead all is permitted.
The truth had better not be dead. If truth is dead we are dead.