Before you tell me your truth, stop and think about why you believe it. Who told you to believe, and why is it important for me to believe, too?
I looked up “truthism” because I’ve seen it a few times lately, not just in this tweeted list of GOP talking points (above, from Julie). Clearly, it’s not “truth” or “fact” because if it were either, the speaker of this “truthism” would use the actual word for it: “truth” and/or “fact.” Those words are shorter; either would fit better in a tweet, and people who have attended schools in the USA are supposed to be critical thinkers. We are generally taught that verifiable facts and truth are all-important and what we must insist on when it comes to collecting/quantifying data, forming opinions, making decisions. This here, though, this “truthism” is a different animal.
This “truthism,” as far as I can tell, is Trumped-up “truth;” it is bully truth. It includes purpose and priority and even some malice. It may or may not be traceable to a distant fact. It is beyond facts supporting the kind of truth we usually carry around loosely as “opinion.” This one, though it no longer contains fact in any way, shape, or form, is shoved around and into your face in such a way that once you’ve received it, your eyes go sort of blank, and you repeat this “truthism” to all. Any who don’t see what this “truthism” zombie sees behind their blank stare WILL swallow this fucking truth. There simply is no alternative. They will tell you in so uncertain terms that YOU are wrong for not agreeing, stupid for not understanding, and you are pathetic and silly for forming your own opinion based on the facts you seek out. You are somehow defective if you are looking at any distraction other than this super important and super urgent. . . nothingburger. This “truthism” is based on “calling it like it is” despite (or perhaps because) it’s shocking and mean and just does not sound right. Because it isn’t right.
It’s the new word the kids are using for an old concept: propaganda.
From Joseph Goebbels at rally in Nuremberg in 1934:
“The cleverest trick used in propaganda against Germany during the war was to accuse Germany of what our enemies themselves were doing.”
Perhaps this quote above is what lead to the unconfirmed quote commonly attributed to Goebbels: “accuse the other side of that which you are guilty.” While it doesn’t appear he said it, it does appear to be a very effective tactic for manipulating people even today. Notice that the tweet above from Julie was posted on the very same day that Mueller arrested people for money laundering and collusion? Her tweet was timed after the arrests, arrests we knew were coming. That talking point about the Hillary Clinton campaign colluding with Russia (to hack her own emails and ruin her own campaign? huh? yeah, I know, it doesn’t make sense to anyone with a brain) has been flooding social media on and off for months, but the last couple of weeks it’s blown up courtesy of Russian bots. Accuse the other side of that which you are guilty, indeed. Some of this stuff would be hilarious if the fact that actual, grown Americans buy into it wholeheartedly wasn’t so fucking scary.
Following the herd, large groups of Americans believing a lie, won’t make that lie turn magically into truth any more than crediting this forged quotation to Goebbels makes it his: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” Someone said it (perhaps a man of the same name but with middle initial “M?”), and it seems to be true from what we see around us every day in the United States, but it did not come from the Goebbels who was Germany’s minister for public enlightenment and propaganda. If I’d said it, I might take credit because that would make me look pretty smart. Dishonest and manipulative, but smart, nonetheless. Hhhmmm, on second thought, maybe I wouldn’t take the credit.
False Nazi Quotations, German Propaganda Archive by Randall Bytwerk contains (among other interesting tidbits) a quote in the first section that I found particularly amusing: “it would be a pretty poor propagandist who publicly proclaimed that he was going to lie.” One of the reasons I found this quote amusing is this quote from DJT in his book The Art of the Deal where he says he doesn’t exactly “lie” but. . .:
“The final key to the way I promote is bravado. I play to people’s fantasies. People may not always think big themselves, but they can still get very excited by those who do. That’s why a little hyperbole never hurts. People want to believe something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular.
I call it truthful hyperbole. It’s an innocent form of exaggeration — and a very effective form of promotion.”
I firmly believe that with many of 45’s lies, and there are MANY, he doesn’t fully realize he’s lying. He might think he is exaggerating and that it’s for the greater good. As for the rest, the president is lying, and he knows it. At this point, the “greater good” argument is bullshit as I’m also convinced he’s engaged in a full-on propaganda campaign against his own countrymen aided by his pals in Russia. See Julie’s tweet above and follow the hashtags for further evidence.
On Reagan’s watch, we lost the Fairness Doctrine, and it’s directly lead to a lot of the problems we’re seeing today. Anyone can publish anything, and they don’t necessarily have to be able to back it up with fact, label it as “satire,” etc.
Case in point: my use of the blog that you are reading. It’s a blog which leaves things pretty open. I could use this platform to spread bad information and outright lies, but I don’t. I choose/intend, instead, to use my opportunities here to help spread facts, truth (that I can support), love, and positive ideas (again, with support whenever possible). I hope to move our society and The People forward. I am one voice, and there are many.
“Man’s capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man’s inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary.” ~ Reinhold Niebuhr
My voice is no more or less important than anyone else’s. This “truthism” (speaking it AND believing it) is as much a part of Julie’s Freedom of Speech as my truth is, my facts. There was a time when her point of view would have very little value as it’s easy to show she’s wrong and spreading lies. It’s sad to have to admit that our society (lately) gives equal time to bullshit like hers, even bullshit that hurts us, but as a capitalist, democratic republic each individual chooses what they will consume. And demand generally increases supply. As some choose/demand to consume hate and lies and propaganda, low quality “information,” “truthism,” we increase the market for same, and they continue to teeter on that edge between “truthism” and damaging/hate speech.
Do better. Be better. Insist on quality journalism, and do not let these morons drag down the discourse. Call them on their lies and propaganda, everyone, especially our elected representatives; call them what they are. They aren’t “alternative facts” or “non-truth telling” (Corker really is a fool no matter how you sugar coat his stupidity and greed) or “misunderstandings;” they’re lies, and much of it is propaganda. It’s not hard to tell which is which.
When the United States gets our country back from Russia, from the fascists, perhaps we can, as part of the clean up, work toward a Fairness Doctrine again. Until then, check multiple sources. Check facts. Check quotes. Insist on quality information. It can be difficult to tell where people are coming from and if they’re slanting information, even when they’re supposed to be purveyors of “news” and, therefore, have no bias. Just. . . check again to be sure. Make sure your message is useful and is truth. Basically, make sure you can tell your listener with verifiable, reputable sources why you believe it and why you can share it with pure intentions. Your listener is giving you their valuable time and attention; the least you can do is show you respect them, provide them with facts and information that has real value.
No need for isms. Go with truth.
(Thank you for giving me your valuable time, for taking in my message. Love and peace and *hugs*.)
(As for propaganda and WWII, there is a LOT of misinformation out there including individuals trying to downplay (or deny) the horrors of war and the Holocaust in order to ease their (and your) conscience and gain followers/clicks. Check facts, check sources.)
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Link: “This is Sinclair, ‘the most dangerous US company you’ve never heard of‘” – by Lucia Graves at The Guardian
Link: “The President Does Not Lie Like You and Me” – by Adam Rogers for Wired
Link: Abuse of Power – by E. Brooks of Gray Matters
Link: But Her Emails: Make a Molehill Out of a Mountain – by E. Brooks of Gray Matters
Link: Yeah, yeah, Lock Him Up, but – by E. Brooks of Gray Matters (particularly fitting on the first official Monday of MuellerTime)
Link: What is This “Authoritarian Left” You Speak Of? – by Bill Voecks, published in Gray Matters
Link: Acts of Moral Courage 2 – by E. Brooks of Gray Matters
Link to original tweet from Julie Bursic.
And just because it made me laugh (hope this link continues to work because it’s really quite fun and includes a gif):
It was Clintonses who COLLRUDED! Not us! No, not us precious! Hurry Whannity, tweets us REAL NEWS! Hillbo dids it! SHE is wicked- and FALSE! pic.twitter.com/4X5OUqlKIj
— Gollum J. Trump (@realGollumTrump) October 28, 2017
Edited for minor corrections 19 June 2019.
#GMTruthism #MuellerTime #Propaganda