The progressives lamenting the era of “post-truth” in the light of Trump’s victory have simply been hoist on their petard. And it’s both hypocritical to see their rage, and astounding to realise that they do not grasp the irony of what has happened.
Simply put, their own weapon is now being used against them.
After a shamefully short period of self-reflection/teeth-gnashing form the progressive side of politics, the media, the academy and the cultural elites about how they had failed to listen to what many Americans were worried about, the status quo is quickly back in force.
It’s all everyone else’s fault, most notably those nasties on the conservative side who play loose and fast with the truth.
But, er, truthfully, what did they expect from their mortal foe? Mercy? That was never going to happen. The weapons they crafted in liberal arts degrees across the Western world have been sharpened and turned against them.
Truth was certainly not on the agenda when conservative leaders in universities or in business were hounded out of their jobs and livelihoods, accused of all sorts of crimes, most notably for holding to traditional positions on sexual ethics. (Brendan Eich, former Mozilla CEO anyone?)
No matter what the truth was, no matter the nuances of holding different positions on these matters, the Twitter/Meme/bloggers were out in force announcing bigotry and homophobia in breathless tones. And knowing the power of social media, they were confident that once the lie was out there – or should I say “the post-truth” was out there, there was no turning back. The wildfire spread and they stood back watching it burn, making sure they discreetly threw away the match. Was it true? Meh. It got the job done.
But surely they remember the days when “post-truth” was all the rage? After all they were the students and lecturers slavering over post-foundationalism, perspectivalism and any other theory that would whip the rug out from under the feet of truth. I certainly do. I was steeped in such gleeful iconoclasm for three years at university. We were assured that truth was out of style and that the future was one big happy, mushy post-modern laissez-faire community.
But the revolution always eats its own. Just as liberal arts university lecturers are worried that they could lose their jobs for failing to announce trigger warnings, or speaking er, plain truth about a matter, so now, apparently, the post-truth weapons have switched hands.
And if, in the future the progressive side gets up again across the Western setting, will there be a commitment to humility and truth-telling from our new overlords, humbled by their experience? Hardly. They will be just as implacable, hostile and loose with the truth, as they fear the current victors are.
The post-truth era did not commence when Trump came to power. It commenced when the serpent said to Eve “Did God really say?” And it’s only when the One who is the Truth renders him powerless forever, that truth, His truth, will be the only truth, present, past and future.