Exodus from the World of Post-Truth
Ability of Putin and other tyrants to impose forged truth on free societies must be entirely reduced
Secretary Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump at the last Presidential Debate during the US Presidential Campaign in 2016 (Photo: Archives)
US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence with senior Democrats and Republicans as members agreed with American intelligence agencies’ assessment that Vladimir Putin and his Government tried to help Donald Trump during election campaign in 2016.
That Senators of both Parties reached total unanimity suggests their statement, which curiously was published in the afternoon when Americans travelled to join their families on the Independence Day.
In seventh page document Senators said: “The Committee concurs with intelligence and open-source assessments that this influence campaign was approved by President Putin”.
Further, a body of reporting, to include different intelligence disciplines, open source reporting on Russian leadership policy preferences, and Russian media content, showed that Moscow sought to denigrate Secretary Clinton.”
US Senate Commitee are not simply members of the Senate, but this is American state institution which joins seventeeth intelligence agencies.
Therefore release of this document is probably the most important political event in the world this year, which should restraint US President and his Administration. It should also be a warning to Western allies: time to rethink the moral stance.
When Donald Trump was about to make an oath in November the prestigious Oxford Dictionaries has selected “post-truth” as 2016’s international word of the year. After the contentious “Brexit” referendum and an equally divisive U.S. presidential election caused usage of the adjective to skyrocket, according to the Oxford University Press.
But the post-truth is not a new but rather old or even a very old phenomenon, which refers to the indoctrination and propaganda of media during political campaigns in the United States in the eigteenth and nineteenth centuries. Slanderous and vitriolic pamphlets were cheaply printed and widely disseminated, in an effort to defeat political opponents. After World War II the political debate changed and the rhetoric was toned down.
However the search for truth was never at the center of the political campaigns. In 1957 Dr Jennifer Hochshild Professor of Government at Harvard University observed that “for many people truthfulness in politics has now become a mockery…. Anyone who listens to the radio in a mixed company of thinking people knows how deep-seated is this cynicism.”
In the post-modern society, the post-truth focus on emotions at the reasoning’s expense became appealing, even nobilitating. Proponents of this view have tried to conjured traditional thinking and value system out of existence. A whole school of literature has been developed attempting to define a traditional political discourse either as irrelevant or else as a form of mental disorder. In either case, the point was to dispose of it as something to silly to be of much account. The undisputed remedy has been offered “emotional intelligence” which opened flood of emoji, mems and other mentally debilitating forms of propaganda.
While West have not entirely understood the destructive nature of that particular type of public discourse the Sub and Over-terrenean entities of the most cruel neo-collonial system, bolshevism and Leninism, in Russia had this knowledge perfected. For decades its agents dissiminated disinformation, misinformation and forgeries, and ended these practices almost “at the high noon” when Comrade Gorbachev became fully convinced that he and his regime of evil is indeed ruined, helpless and hopeless.
Unfortunately this regime was left only half dead. It took time, but while West had ‘national security siesta’, gangs skilled in building structures of evil in Moscow, like spiders that cast their nets, designed the new mechanisms and tools which are exploiting vulnarabilities of voters practicising, often inadvertently, a politics of posttruth.
Fragmentation of media on the Internet, the attention economy marked by information overload and acceleration, user-generated content and fewer society-wide common trusted authorities to distinguish between truth and lies, suddenly became strong points of the West’s adversary in Russia – Vladimir Putin. As US Senate Select Commitee on Intelligence admitted: he succeeded. This time.
Now West faces a tough choice: traditional politics of appeasement with economic benefits, and high moral price or separation and confrontation. The latter requires Exodus from the post-truth age, and re-adaptation of traditional verbal and reasoned political discourse.
As in the Cold War the free radio broadcasting was beaming news through the Iron Curtain of the Soviet propaganda nowadays the credible sources of information and serious opinions must be highlighted, emphasised and encouraged as an attractive alternative to shun the forged facts and deceptive opinions of manipulators.
The obvious conclusion from the reading of the US Senate document is an urgent need for Exodus from post-truth era where Vladimir Putin and other tyrants are conquering free societies with forgeries of truth.