Mixed bag

Truth or Consequences


“A lie can travel half way around the world
while the truth is putting on its shoes.”

Mark Twain

The average English speaker has an active vocabulary of around 10,000 to 20,000 words. Maybe 30,000 if you are an eloquent speaker or writer.

I had to add some new words to my vocabulary in the last couple of days: Fake news, post-truth, and alternative facts, which I had dismissed before as unbelievable internet creations. No more. Now our government is engaging in alternative facts?

What happened?

“At one time we had truth and lies. Now we have truth, lies, and statements that may not be true but we consider too benign to call false. Euphemisms abound. We’re “economical with the truth,” we “sweeten it,” or tell “the truth improved.” The term deceive gives way to spin.  At worst we admit to “misspeaking,” or “exercising poor judgment.”  Nor do we want to accuse others of lying.  We say they’re in denial.  A liar is “ethically challenged,” someone for whom “the truth is temporarily unavailable.”

This is post-truth. In the post-truth era, borders blur between truth and lies, honesty and dishonesty, fiction and nonfiction.

When enough of us peddle fantasy as fact, society loses its grounding in reality.  Society would crumble altogether if we assumed others were as likely to dissemble as tell the truth. We are perilously close to that point.”

Ralph Keyes wrote that 13 years ago in his book “The Post-Truth Era: Dishonesty and Deception in Contemporary Life”.

Doesn’t his statement describe precisely the current state of our society? Aren’t we expecting from our politicians to make false promises, and to read made-up stories in the news. How can we trust anybody anymore?

When it comes to truth and lies, honesty and dishonesty, guilt and non-guilt, the world must be binary. There cannot be a blurring of borders.

Let’s go back and call somebody who bends the truth a liar and somebody who sticks to the truth an honest person.

Otherwise we are deteriorating int a society, where we don’t care anymore about the truth. This has happened before with horrendous consequences.