I’d like to say there was a time in my life when the truth was distinguishable from the lies. But I’m not sure there ever was.
When I was a kid in the 1950s, I remember seeing newscasters like Walter Cronkite and Edward R. Murrow, and I found it hard to believe they would be lying to me, or at the very least slanting the truth to serve whatever end they had in mind. But I was also just a kid then, and the news was just something I watched while I was waiting for Lsssie to come on.
I talked to my dad about it a few times. He was a Navigator in WW2 and flew a lot of bombing missions over Germany. His perspective on it wasn’t political, but patriotic. He really didn’t want Canada or Great Britain or the US to become a Nazi state, even though, in hindsight, the threat of that was pretty remote.
Later on, when I was in college and the Vietnam anti-war movement started in the US, I was old enough to understand the bullshit that was coming at me. The powers that be at that time had been coasting along creating a narrative that sounded like pro-freedom, but was really, to the young cynics I hung out with, pro-capitalism. They gussied it up and put it in a sexy pro-freedom dress, but the reality (in hindsight of course), as they didn’t want Communism to expand any further than China’s borders.
And it wasn’t just the US that were the instigators here, although they were the ones I could look at up close.
A world safe for democracy really meant a world where favorable trade deals from bargaining leverage could be struck and the rich could get richer.
Ever since probably the end of WW II, the US has been fighting wars and hardly ever winning them in aide of two things. Keeping capitalism strong and keeping the folks at home as patriotic as hell so they wouldn’t form any massive opposition to the high cost of all this international aggression.
It was a strategy based on basically lying to the people of the country about the nature of the threats to democracy. And they did it so well that they bred a citizenry who were perfectly willing to believe anything the government told them, no matter how outrageous it may have sounded.
This is what I have been paying fairly close attention to since the Vietnam era. Why? Because more than a couple of times in my life, I considered migrating to the US. But the more I learned about that country, and its role in the world, and how dangerous the culture there had become between hoodlums and gangs in the cities to gun lovin’ crazies to the ‘patriot’ insurrectionists in training out in the boondocks, it seemed to me that leaving a country where you didn’t worry all that much if you left your doors unlocked at night definitely offset any real financial or lifestyle advantages to living in the US.
It’s a real simple equation. The rich control the country economically. They also now control, and maybe always have controlled both main political parties. The numbers speak for themselves. The rich also control the mainstream media, so that people have to dig very deep to find out the real truth about anything. The media thrives on sensationalism so that most of what you hear is scary shit. Social media is now filled to the brim with various types of trolls who are creating a massive amount of false narratives so that the vast majority of users are always in a state of confusion if they haven’t become radicalized.
So where is the truth? That’s the 64 thousand dollar question. It’s out there, but it’s well hidden behind a thick wall of propaganda, lies, mis-direction, nonsense, and hate.
Over time, it managed to wear people down, to the point where they become willfully ignorant and give up on believing anything they are told. And most of them never really had the intellectual capacity to sort through it all, so what you end up with is a world almost completely devoid of truth.
So what do people believe? Well, it’s a good bet that they will simply glom onto the voices that shout the loudest.
And so we drift slowly toward the abyss, rowing like crazy, all because the objective truth has become a seriously endangered species.