Post-Truth is a concept invented for these times, which is a euphemism for something which is uncomfortable for us to accept, a lie. This is uncomfortable because it means we have to perhaps put aside everything we think we know or have been taught and question what we hear every day through the media and from all those who repeat their incantations.
This stage we are going through, in that awful phrase of post-Truth, is the filtration of what is good or otherwise and what is Truth or otherwise.
This involves examining of our assumptions of what we are and of what is valuable, and is evident in the distaste of getting into political questions, such as equality between human beings, tolerance or its inverse, as well as the eternal questions of the absolute and what we are doing here.
Getting your head around this involves some mental flexibility which does not come easily to us. We have been fed all kinds of things, including things of varying value.
The mechanism used in furthering the idea of post-Truth is essentially one of laziness. Those who push this idea, not just those who use the words alone, but who actively advocate such ideas, are using their laziness to think, in order to say “Do not question our truths, because these simple answers are all you need. Why bother to think through the implications if we have already come up with the answers?”
Such people have rejected the idea, for whatever reason, that there is such a thing as Truth or anything real, using words which exist to communicate something of Truth to do the opposite, to lie. The most archetypal examples of this are in the mainstream media and some outlets of the social media.
Anyone who does question their simplistic truths is labelled crazy, idealistic, unrealistic, stupid, a Communist, a Russian bot, just plain weak, or any other convenient epithet available to hand.
However, not everyone who uses their ideas or words is necessarily a liar. Their ideas have percolated through society and become widespread, so just because someone uses the phrase does not mean they have swallowed the concept wholesale.
What it comes down to is that we are finally doing our laundry in public, finding both horrors and treasures, and though it may be uncomfortable to look in the mirror, the corrective measures, of truthfulness, must be applied. We are being forced to face and to adjust ourselves to what we see.
Post-Truthers are often believers in neo-liberalism. To cite a recent article by Henry A. Giroux, “Neo-liberal Fascism and the Echoes of History”:
At work here is a neo-liberal project to reduce people to human capital and redefine human agency beyond the bonds of sociality, equality, belonging and obligation. All problems and their solutions are now defined exclusively within the purview of the individual. This is a depoliticizing discourse that champions mythic notions of self-reliance and individual character to promote the tearing up of social solidarities and the public spheres that support them.
Neo-liberal fascism thrives on producing subjects that internalize its values, corroding their ability to imagine an alternative world. Under such conditions, not only is agency depoliticized, but the political is emptied of any real substance and unable to challenge neo-liberalism’s belief in extreme inequality and social abandonment. This fosters fascism’s deep-rooted investment ultra-nationalism, racial purity and the politics of terminal exclusion.
At its heart, neo-liberalism is based on lies.