There is no freedom without truth
Andrew Breitbart was famous for saying that politics is downstream of culture. What that means is that our political leaders are a reflection of our culture, but they themselves don’t really shape our culture. Put another way, when politicians take certain positions and/or exhibit and pontificate on certain values, or a lack thereof, it is not because they are opinion leaders or cultural icons; rather they themselves are simply following the flow of culture. In that regard, America is in serious trouble due to the fact that our divide runs much deeper than politics.
As an example of where we are at as a culture, let’s consider the fate of former Congresswoman Katie Hill, who, as a freshman, was elevated to the vice-chair position of the all-powerful House Oversight Committee in the House of Representatives. Katie Hill was forced to resign before her first term was up due to the fact that she is a moral degenerate. But don’t tell her that. She wants to believe she was sacrificed on the altar of misogynistic double standards. Of course, that would be news to fellow Democratic Sen. Al Franken, who was also forced to resign for much less — in terms of photographic evidence, that is — despite being a man.
In case you missed this sordid affair, Katie Hill was a bisexual, wife-swapping, polymorphous swinger who loved to photograph her sexual exploits with her campaign and congressional staff. I believe she resigned to avoid prosecution. Nevertheless, despite all the photographic evidence surrounding her case, she would have us believe she was simply a victim of revenge porn and double standards.
What is even more disturbing is an otherwise unrelated report by Patrice Lee Onwuka of the Independent Women’s Forum about a survey conducted by Area Vibes, a real estate data website. The survey asked respondents about their concerns of who lives next door. Well, as it turns out, more people would prefer to live next door to someone like Katie Hill than your average Trump supporter.
That is, living next door to a Trump supporter was deemed “less safe” than living next door to people with a non-violent criminal record or a polyamorous neighbor, among others. Patrice Onwuka’s explanation for this? The increasing polarization in our society due to the constant smearing of conservatives, example given, Hillary Clinton’s condemnation of Trump supporters as deplorables.
Another take on our cultural and political divide posits that feelings are more important than facts. That is, we are now living in what is called the post-truth society. As the Barna research group reported, truth is increasingly regarded as something felt, or relative (44%), rather than something known, or absolute (35%). Think, rather than feel, about this trend, won’t you?
Sarah Mills, in an article published by Conatus News, warns us that “The hysterical shift to a post-truth environment, where evidence is secondary to feelings, group values and agendas, is closely related to what author George Orwell called ‘groupthink’ in his salient work, 1984 … with its acute insight into the perils of misinformation and manipulation of language. In the dystopian world, reality shifts to accommodate propaganda.”
How did we transition from a nation, culture, society and body politic founded on the principle of self-evident truths to a post-truth society? The turning point from my perspective was the 1960s revolution. When God was declared dead, so was the concept of absolute truth and, along with it, objective moral standards. That is, the “do it if it feels good” and “don’t judge me” generation have produced grandchildren who live in an echo chamber void of truth having to do with moral standards, objective reality, common sense and decency.
Andy Caldwell is the executive director of COLAB and host of The Andy Caldwell Radio Show, weekdays from 3-5 p.m., on News-Press AM 1290.