Living the Post-Truth Dream

Living the Post-Truth Dream

Post-modernism was once just the obsession of obscure college professors whom no one outside of academia – and few within – took too seriously.  But an unhealthy combination of events and ideology has combined to, ironically, bring post-modernism into the real world of politics.

June 27th’s presidential “debate” was Joe Biden’s deer-in-the-headlights moment.  For 90 minutes he was asked to address topics that should have been as familiar to him as his morning breakfast, but he proved entirely unequal to the task.  Without a teleprompter to feed him his lines, he was lost.  He stood before the world as what he is, a seriously impaired old man.

Few were surprised.  Most of us had seen the problem many months – in some cases years – ago.  Before the 2020 election, even mainstream commentators like NBC’s Andrea Mitchell were openly questioning Biden’s mental fitness to be president.  Polls back in February showed a majority of Americans saying Biden wasn’t up to the job, an opinion that’s only become more pronounced since.

And yet, for essentially all that time, most political commentators have denied, sometimes vehemently, the obvious facts.  Talking heads like Joe Scarborough indignantly deplored the notion that the president was anything but “at the top of his game,” “sharp as a tack.”  They knew it wasn’t true, but they said it anyway and excoriated anyone who even suggested otherwise.  When the Wall Street Journal ran an article, deeply sourced in some cases to White House staff, saying that those who met with Biden were seriously concerned about his competence, the backlash was immediate and unrelenting.

More remarkably still, the fake indignation, the claims that Biden was fine, continued in the run-up to the debate that everyone knew would require him to answer questions without recourse to notes, a teleprompter or knowing the questions in advance.  Anyone who didn’t see a trainwreck coming just wasn’t paying attention.  Still, with “eyes wide shut” and in lockstep, the talking points were repeated.

The question is “why?”  Why did the White House, other Democrats and pro-Biden media figures continue to claim as true what they knew to be false and why did the Democratic National Committee allow it to happen?

I think the answer lies in a perfect storm of Trump Derangement Syndrome, isolation and an entire lack of accountability on the part of those peddling the snake oil of Biden’s fitness that combined to encourage the post-modernist belief that truth is infinitely malleable and those in power decide what it is.  Is Joe Biden incompetent?  Not if we say otherwise.

TDS of course is all too familiar.  For over eight years, anti-Trumpers have been making the most outlandish claims about the man, the purpose of which is to deny him the presidency at any cost.  Trump is the end of democracy; he’s Hitler!  Last November, Scarborough informed us that, if elected, Trump will “start killing people.”  I’ve heard poodles sound smarter.

Like TDS, isolation – the echo chamber in which anti-Trump partisans talk only to each other – damages fact-based thinking.  Everyone outside the chamber is considered beyond the pale, racist, “far right” and therefore not worth listening to.  In the era of social media, the leftist press discovered that the only way to make money is to play to your base, i.e., your subscribers.  The result is an endless feedback loop in which no one questions the narrative regardless of how strange and unlikely.  Without debate, ideas become hothouse plants, unable to survive in the wilds of adversarial discourse.

How else to explain the simple absurdity of what we see and hear so often?  Democratic officials kneeling with fabricated reverence each draped in identical Kente cloths; Kamala Harris at the BET Awards ceremony hilariously channeling her inner streetwise black tough while seated snugly in her VP office: “Yeah girl, I’m out here on these streets… But these extremists, as they say, they not like us.”  How gullible, how easily fooled do these people think their audience is?  No one in the loop dares mention that the emperor is naked.

But none of it – the lies, the madness, the patent absurdities – matters, because there are no consequences for getting it wrong time and again, for behaving like a buffoon.  Scarborough got paid the same the day he called Biden “the best Biden ever” as when, just two weeks later, he said he was too impaired to continue.  Because there’s never an accounting for being wrong, there’s no encouragement to be right.  And there’s no accounting because the point isn’t to be right or even sensible, only to repeat the party line.

The idea that there’s some objective truth to be consulted was and is simply irrelevant.  If Joe Biden is the party’s best hope for defeating Trump, then he’s sharp as a tack.  He must be.  “Truth” is infinitely malleable and is always what we say it is.  That’s why, in a matter of just a few days, the very same people can say Biden’s completely capable, utterly incapable and finally “it’s just one bad debate.”  And they say it all straight-faced without the slightest suggestion of any inconsistency.

Likewise, having been completely wrong about all their previous prognostications, the same talking heads simply check their phones for the next set of talking points, likely even crazier than before, and repeat them until they get the next set.  So we just learned that, if elected, Trump will order the Navy Seals to assassinate his political opponents!  Of course he will.  Just the same as, during his first term in office, he became the Hitler they’d all warned us about and started WWIII, just as they predicted.

Nothing is too silly to say, no warning too absurd because they see no objective reality against which to measure their rantings.  They live in a post-truth isolation, much like that of post-modernist philosophers, but this time, instead of the obscurity of academia, it’s writ large in everyday political life, on television, in newspapers and the Internet.  And, just so we’re clear, the Post-Truthers, those who claim Trump will “disappear gays” and “stage a coup,” want to run the world’s most powerful country and largest economy, and control its nuclear arsenal.

But of course a funny thing happened to the folks who believe that reality is anything they say it is: reality disagrees.  Reality is declining ratings for, and trust in, the president, declining audiences for left-leaning news outlets, a spike in crime when the police are defunded and DAs refuse to prosecute criminals, a flood of undocumented aliens when the border is thrown open, huge inventories of unsold EVs that few seem to want and female athletes who object loudly to competing against men.  Most importantly, it’s China that sees this whole charade as an unexpected, but much-appreciated gift.

No the truth isn’t infinitely malleable, but will these people learn the obvious lesson?  I suppose we’ll see, but for now their worldview sees no lesson to learn.

This article originally appeared at The Word of Damocles.


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