The Latest

THE LATEST

THE LATEST THINKING

THE LATEST THINKING

The opinions of THE LATEST’s guest contributors are their own.

The Art of the Lie

Coen Van Wyk

Posted on February 16, 2019 03:29

1 user

Social media has created a parallel universe where truth becomes a vague, ever-changing thing. Lies become a commodity to be traded, clickbaited. Amidst this confusion it is no wonder that people hark back to a past where the world was flat, truth was what the authorities told you, and choices were simple.

“Alternative truths” form a new dimension to the reality we live in. During the Age of Enlightenment philosophers sought to re-define the truth, to discern what is right and wrong. Their thinking formed the basis of modern democracy. Yet the communications revolution is upsetting the comfortable structures that determined what we could believe.

Enrico Mazzanti's Pinocchio


Political lies are, of course, nothing new. Wars were precipitated by false truths. In the run-up to South African 2019 elections newspapers remind us that you can tell when a politician is lying: when their lips move. At the moment President Ramaphosa has to judge carefully between dismissing and prosecuting colleagues that had been caught lying, and kicking the can down the road. The public is watching the courts as commissions unveil corruption cases.

Carlo Chiostri's Pinocchio

In Nigeria national elections were postponed on the eve of the polls. The Electoral Commission (INEC) announced that the logistical and operational conditions were not conducive to free and fair elections. Perhaps a recent report suggesting massive manipulation of voter’s rolls contributed to the decision.

In short it seems that voter’s rolls have grown by a similar percentage in all provinces and states, a statistical impossibility.

But then it was Stalin, I think, who said that it does not matter how people vote, it matters how the votes are counted.

In places where counting is rigorous, alternative truths are spread by electronic media. Britain, trapped in the labyrinth of Brexit, remembers the Boris Bus lies, claiming massive savings when Britain leaves the EU. 

How could they even think I proposed that that amount would be saved?

While politicians vehemently deny saying things they were recorded stating on Television. Caught out, they refuse to admit they were wrong. Brexiteers claim that Britain mortgaged the country to free Germany in WWII, and never received anything under the Marshall Plan, while it is clear that Britain was the largest recipient of Marshall funds. (It escapes me what the Marshall Plan has to do with Brexit, but then I am not English.

It is claimed that large sums of ‘dark money’ is circulating in the UK to finance social media campaigns, often based on falsehoods.This money promotes a hard Brexit: Britain leaving the European Union with no agreement. Who is behind this ‘truth?” Nobody knows.

In the United States, as we know, political lies are unknown since George Washington chopped down the tree.

Who, me? medium.com

Why do politicians lie? And more important, how do we learn to discern where truth lies, in a world where we are assailed from all sides with conflicting opinion?
 
Lenin, or maybe Marx, claimed that political systems carry within themselves the germ of self- destruction. Is today’s system of rapid communication, of direct targeted news, destroying itself? Should social media platforms carry a responsibility for the messages they host, the data they sell? 

Coen Van Wyk

Posted on February 16, 2019 03:29

Comments

comments powered by Disqus
Source: Live Science

Alternate realities don't just exist in politics - and not all falsehoods are lies. Distortions of the truth can range from...

THE LATEST THINKING

Video Site Tour

The Latest
The Latest

Subscribe to THE LATEST Newsletter.

The Latest
The Latest

Share this TLT through...

The Latest