Can truth survive this president? An honest investigation.

Source: The Washington Post

Back in the summer of 2002, long before “fake news” or “post-truth” infected the vernacular, one of President George W. Bush’s top advisers mocked a journalist for being part of the “reality-based community.” Seeking answers in reality was for suckers, the unnamed adviser explained. “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality.” This was the hubris and idealism of a post-Cold War, pre-Iraq War superpower: If you exert enough pressure, events will bend to your will.

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Reality-based thinking is again under assault in America, but the deceit emanating from the White House today is lazier, more cynical. It is not born of grand strategy or ideology; it is impulsive and self-serving. It is not arrogant, but shameless.

Bush wanted to remake the world. President Trump, by contrast, just wants to make it up as he goes along.

The disregard for honesty in the Trump era, with its ever-changing menu of “alternative facts,” is eliciting new research and polemics from philosophers, literary critics, political analysts and social scientists. (In the publishing world circa summer 2018, the death-of-truth brigade is rivaled only by the death-of-democracy crew.) Through all their debates over who is to blame for imperiling truth (whether Trump, postmodernism, social media or Fox News), as well as the consequences (invariably dire) and the solutions (usually vague), a few conclusions materialize, should you choose to believe them.

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