Tag Archives: post truth politics

Lies, damned lies, and the Institute for Economic Affairs

There is an issue of trust in our politics at the moment – and it’s a little more complex than you may think. For most of us it’s obvious that the way to win back trust is to simply stop lying to the public – but, taken another way, maybe the lesson is that we should lie more often?

It seems that the Institute for Economic Affairs have taken the latter lesson.

Some context: The IEA has long hated “Minimum Unit Pricing” – a policy we champion and a policy that took effect in Scotland in May 2018, which is aimed at …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 35 Comments

A new propaganda

Very nearly every political movement since the late 18th century has its roots in the enlightenment, from American constitutionalism to the rational imperialism of Napoleon. It is hard to overstate its influence on every strand of modern political thought, from conservatism to socialism to liberalism. All built on this revelation: that facts matter more than faith, and reason is greater than fear.

The fascism of Italy, that spread like wildfire across Europe and then the rest of the world, was not built on the foundations of the enlightenment. It was instead a rejection of the values espoused by it, a direct reaction to reason and humanism. Fascism dictates that acting as one is more important than what is actually true, and that the truth dictated by those in power is supreme to any other, no matter what evidence might say. As Sartre said: “ have chosen hate because hate is a faith to them; at the outset they have chosen to devalue words and reasons.”

I recently finished reading Nothing is True and Everything is Possible by Peter Pomerantsev, a harrowing account of the post-Soviet media under Putin’s regime. He describes how the propaganda under Putin, like that of the Nazi Party and the Italian Fascists before it, works not by espousing a single version of the truth, but by undermining the very concept of truth. It calls into doubt all sources, until the public believes none, and instead sees all truth merely as an act of faith. Evidence is not of intrinsic worth in a such an environment, but is instead perceived to be a rhetorical tool like any other.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 49 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • Matt W
    Should have said - this is England. Scotland is iirc more generous wrt electric charger grants. @siv If you are a t in England you have a legal right t...
  • Siv White
    @Jenny Barnes. The EU provided electricity to us at 4.5p per kilowatt. The rest was put on by UK. We are now out of the EU single energy market. We will be flee...
  • Matt Wardman
    @Chris Platts I hope that most ordinary people have taken advantage of the various free (for basic measures such as loft insulation) or subsidised /means tes...
  • neil James sandison
    The problem is the development lobby their friends in the Conservative party argue for more land for housing without specifying what type of housing doing their...
  • Peter Martin
    @ Joe, "Aviation is something of a side issue. It accounts for 2.5% of global CO2 emissions." Not quite so minor as your 2.5% figure might sugg...