Good government is impossible if everyone in the government is lying.
By Bruce Deitrick Price
Last year Forbes concluded that “only 16% of adults in the U.S. say they have a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in newspapers, and just 11% said the same for television news.” Anyone confronting these stats must conclude that our media are deeply incompetent or crooked or both.
The New York Times announced a few yearsago that defeating Trump was the important thing. They gave themselves a free pass to lie all they want. How can they now reclaim their honor or their usefulness?
Real journalists, when they hear an assertion, immediately try to determine whether the assertion is true or false. This is also what scientists do. It’s honest, valuable work.
Unfortunately, our liberal journalists do not care about true or false. When they hear an assertion, they try to determine whether it will help their agenda… their narrative.
If it won’t help, they know they must attack the assertion, typically by declaring it debunked, fake news, or misinformation.
Let’s try to recapture what the Founding Fathers imagined when they put freedom of press at a high place in the national schema. Ideally, we could always assume that major media were telling us the truth as honestly as they could. But nothing can be assumed anymore.
Novelist Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008) and Czech statesman Václav Havel (1936-2011), having lived under Communist dictatorships, knew what hell on earth looks like. They ended up with the same obsession that, before all else, we must “live in truth.” Conversely, they figured out that societies start to crumble when the leaders are concerned primarily with their own ambitions, their own realities.
George Orwell was also obsessed with the necessity of living in truth. His novel 1984 is full of references to truth, freedom, slavery, power, manipulation, and warping of reality. Once you’re separated from truth, everything becomes a cruel game; ordinary citizens don’t have a chance. Lies and bad government go together. That was the point of 1984.
The USA is now sinking into near-1984 reality. Almost every day, the White House lies, the CDC lies, the FBI lies, the CIA lies, the DOJ lies, and famous media giants lie, blatantly and clumsily. At this point, doesn’t the whole world know the Biden family took lots of money from foreign governments? How is he able to run for a second term?
Indeed of a Great Reset, we watched a Great Convergence of dishonest media and disingenuous education. Schools won’t teach truth, and media won’t report truth. If students don’t know any history, they are not surprised that our president takes millions from foreign countries. Probably it was always like that.
Václav Havel, in The Power of the Powerless, concludes, “Life in the system is so thoroughly permeated with hypocrisy and lies…Because the regime is captive to its own lies, it must falsify everything. It falsifies the past. It falsifies the present, and it falsifies the future. It falsifies statistics.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, in The Gulag Archipelago, said, “And the lie has, in fact, led us so far away from a normal society that you cannot even orient yourself any longer; in its dense, gray fog not even one pillar can be seen.”
Many people might think the distinguishing characteristic of Communism is cruelty. But before you get to that point, the distinguishing trait is cynicism. Recall Lenin promising bread, peace, and land if the Russian people joined his revolution. The Russian people got none of the above but then it was too late.
The shocking thing that Biden’s presidency has given us is that more than 100 people are in jail several years after they committed misdemeanors, even as Democrats are letting murderers out as fast as possible. So much violates what Western civilization is supposedly devoted to: the rights of the accused.
Look how far we have fallen. Journalists should be like referees in a football game. They must not belong to political parties or factions. They must not, in effect, be secret agents working against this country. That is when the Fourth Estate (press) becomes a Fifth Column (traitors), in both media and schools.
Biden needs a crooked press to keep him and his family out of jail, even if it’s going to kill the rest of us.
Orwell supposedly said: in a dishonest age telling the truth is a revolutionary action. Many sources say this line is not by Orwell. Now that I look at it closely I don’t know why that’s so important. It does not capture the essential problem with pervasive dishonesty. Namely, that everything becomes soft and vague. Nobody can say what is true or real or actual. That’s when the executions can begin. The Wall Street Journal calculated that Communist regimes murdered 100 million people in 100 years.
Sometimes, political lies corrupt all aspects of life and infect every corner of society. This occurrence reveals that totalitarianism is winning. As the political philosopher Hannah Arendt noted, totalitarianism, at its essence, is an attempt at “transforming reality into fiction.” Fiction, of course, can be written and rewritten as you please.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, towards the end of his life, expressed political salvation in these simple terms, “Our way must be: never knowingly support lies.”
Perhaps it’s too much to expect the Biden administration would accept this restriction. But it seems reasonable to hope that the elite media and the most prestigious universities would insist on honoring this request.
Bruce Deitrick Price’s new novel is Art and Beauty, crime fiction set in Manhattan when art galleries and model agencies are the most glamorous businesses in the world. Enjoy Chapter 1, ONE BIG HAPPY FAMILY.