Facts no longer matter, although they did during the Cold War. Or so argues Michelle Goldberg in the New York Times, where she approvingly cites arguments from a new book by Peter Pomerantsev. Since capitalism and communism both claimed moral and economic superiority, “facts that revealed their deceptions could endanger them.” Regimes had a motivation to lie about those facts, obviously, but were “invested in being seen as truthful.” Now, however, “few leaders claim to have an ideological map to a better world,” and thus “truth scarcely appears to matter.” It has been replaced by a bald and unapologetic “will to power.”
It’s an interesting claim: when regimes made utopian promises, they lied to cover over the facts that might reveal their inadequacy; but when regimes make no moral claims, they need not pretend to truth―they aim only for power. Put more simply, regimes that make truth claims lie all the time, while regimes that lack big ideologies tell unvarnished truth about their goals.
Now, after the passing of the “universalist visions of progress”—which, apparently, were lies—we are left with a kind of “amoral relativism” that seeks power for its own sake, where everyone “invents their own ‘normal’ humanity, their own ‘right’ history.” If we wish to return to “objective truths” and “an evidence-based future,” we’ll need to “restore faith in a rational path forward” for a “common mankind” with “common projects.” ….
Read more at https://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2019/09/56875/