This is probably going to be a pretty unfocussed post. I apologise in advance for that, but it’s a subject that annoys me so much that I get distracted by shield-biting rage every time I try to think my way through it. I’ll just jump in and swim to the far shore.
I am fed up with the blatant lies being told by the people in power. They always have, I’m sure, but recently with the rise of social media the lies are becoming more targeted, more outrageous and less nuanced. It is as if the powers that be (and the powers that want to be) can’t even be bothered to hide their nonsense anymore, displaying an utter contempt for the people they are manipulating. In this world of tribal politics the various factions know that their adherents will parrot the lies told by the witch-doctor regardless of their validity.
Here in the UK we have the parties smearing each other in the run up to a General Election, blatantly spinning the facts about the policies that their rivals hold, and appallingly each using the recent terrorist attack on London as a weapon against the other side (“Well THEY created a law that let the killer out of jail”/”Yes but THEY have had ten years to change things and were the ones who actually released him”). We have an unelected Prime Minister who refuses to appear on a live debate or even a live interview, preferring to keep his image of a bumbling but well meaning man of the people rather then expose the mendacious greed that drives his policies. We have Facebook exposed for taking money from right wing pressure groups to target propaganda at the socially awkward and those whose profiles show they are less likely to fact check things.
And my personal bugbear – social media is crawling with people whose causes and values I support who use the same tactics – lying and exaggerating, presenting logical fallacies and urban legends as facts to support their position. Statements so clearly, evidently, egregiously false or badly formulated that nobody could believe them… except for everyone that does. That angers me more than the lies of the “Other side” since I expect no better from them… but then when I point out the fallacy, or fact check the claim, I’m accused of being an enemy voice. No. No. Just an enemy of lies. If our position is valid we don’t need to use the admittedly sharp but filthy, tainted weapons of our opponents. In one dreadful example I saw someone who countered a bold and decisive (though false) set of statistics used to make a progressive point with the actual statistics that suggested the situation was not so cut and dried. The responder was vilified with the revealing phrase “why would you even look at the statistics unless you want to prove us wrong?”
I’m fed up of it all. Without truth we have nothing, Get some fucking honour or get off the planet.