How Do You Find the Truth in a Society Full of “Boys Who Cry Wolf?”
When people don't know where to find the truth, they can start believing in anything
There was once an understanding in American society that polite conversation required that you avoid discussions of race, religion, and politics because those were controversial, emotionally charged topics. Along similar lines, athletes, corporations, and entertainers understood on a fundamental level that they should avoid those same issues because, as Michael Jordan said:
Jordan flippantly made that comment after he was pressured to endorse Democrat Harvey Gantt in his race against Republican Senator Jesse Helms, but it would have been just as applicable in a different situation if it had referred to Democrats. The idea is that in a split country, you don’t want to infuriate half your potential customer base.
Of course, even getting beyond day-to-day conversations, entertainment, and corporations, there were quite a few areas where politics wasn’t supposed to be part of the calculus. Schools were expected to teach students, not indoctrinate them. Scientists were expected to focus on the facts, not politics. The same goes for law enforcement at all levels and agencies like the IRS. The mainstream media in America may have never been totally fair, but journalists once prided themselves on being unbiased and serving the public good, not one party or the other. Even politicians, who were by definition quite interested in politics, at least tried to give the impression that they felt a certain duty to their country that they believed transcended mere political concerns.
All of this has changed dramatically in the last couple of decades. That stems from a couple of things. The first is that America has become increasingly tribalistic. This is the everyday reality we now all live with in a lot of areas.
The second is that politics has become a God substitute for a lot of liberals. Many of them don’t believe in God at all and almost all of them that do treat their religious beliefs as a distant second in importance to their political beliefs, not vice-versa. So, these people end up taking on the same fervency as a religious zealot, but they apply it to things like abortion, global warming, and Critical Race Theory. They’re like the sort of well-meaning, but irritating Christians you occasionally run across who seem incapable of having a conversation without shoehorning scripture or mentions of Jesus into every third sentence, except it’s much worse with the woke because they’re telling you their gender pronouns, calling everything racist, or trying to convince you how anti-capitalist they are as they wave their iPhones around.
These people insist on inserting their ideological beliefs into every facet of human existence. Schools? Entertainment? Religion? Science? Sports? Sneakers? What razor you buy? Liberals view all of it as useful only to the degree that it furthers their ideological goals. It’s that famous Stone Toss comic come to life:
The problem with all this is that if politics has both become almost completely tribal and is inserted into everything, then it makes it impossible to trust anything you hear. Over the last few years, we’ve heard a lot of talk about “fake news,” but the difference between sites that make up news from scratch and say, the WAPO or New York Times, is a lot smaller than most people acknowledge. Do those mainstream papers post stories based on anonymous sources that turn out to be false? That happened regularly during the Trump years, although most MSM stories are based on real-world events. That being said, does the MSM accurately describe what happens in those stories? Not at all. The stories are almost always slanted, twisted, and heavily distorted to further liberal narratives. In fact, stories in the mainstream media that aren’t heavily biased often make news on both the Right and Left for exactly that reason. Everyone is shocked that the truth actually slipped out.