The Soviet-born British journalist Peter Pomerantsev has looked at the source of our post-truth world:
As covered over the years on the Futures Forum blog:
Futures Forum: A healthy democracy and a free press
Futures Forum: “Political technologists” – is this the future of democracy?
Futures Forum: Brexit: and “Nothing is True and Everything is Possible”
Futures Forum: Moving beyond the ideological boundaries and “empowering people to find the solutions to their problems themselves”
Futures Forum: Managed democracy: “The deliberate undermining of people’s perception of the world, by creating confusion and contradiction … undermining any opposition to existing power structures … which leaves us feeling helpless and depressed and to which the only response is: ‘Oh dear’.”
And earlier this year Pomerantsev figured again:
As he says on his twitter feed:
And that’s the theme of his latest book – which makes it clear that the dark arts perfected in Russia are now firmly embedded in the West and beyond:
In his book, Pomerantsev looks at today’s world:
We can posit many moments when that vision of the future crumpled. The invasion of Iraq — “Operation Iraqi Freedom” — undermined the idea that political freedom was a historical inevitability. The financial crash of 2008 shattered the certainty that free markets would deliver freedom from want; the dream that the European Union’s carefully tended market was sheltered from vast economic shocks collapsed, too. And the Arab Spring came and went, taking with it the certainty that free speech would inevitably oust tyranny…
In the Cold War, both sides engaged in what had begun as a debate about which supposedly rational system — democratic capitalism or communism — would deliver a rosier future. The only way to prove you were moving toward achieving this future was to provide evidence…
[Today] the politician who makes a show of rejecting facts, who validates the pleasures of spouting nonsense, who indulges in a full-on, anarchic liberation from coherence, from glum reality, becomes impossibly attractive. That enough Americans could vote for someone like Donald Trump, a man with so little regard for making sense, whose many contradictory messages never add up to any very stable meaning, was partly possible because enough voters weren’t invested in any larger evidence-based future. Indeed, in his very incoherence lies the pleasure. All the madness you feel? You can now let it out and it’s OK. The joy of Trump is to validate the pleasure of spouting nonsense, the joy of pure emotion — most often anger — without any ultimate destination.
So, here’s to that evidence-based future!