Politics Without Truth: The Reality of Our Time, by James Kalb

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Image by White House via Public Domain. Image cropped.

By James Kalb, Catholic World Report, July 3, 2024

James Kalb is a lawyer, independent scholar, and Catholic convert who lives in Brooklyn, New York. He is the author of The Tyranny of Liberalism(ISI Books, 2008), Against Inclusiveness: How the Diversity Regime is Flattening America and the West and What to Do About It (Angelico Press, 2013), and, most recently, The Decomposition of Man: Identity, Technocracy, and the Church (Angelico Press, 2023).

 

It’s been a long time since we had a president who could be called a sober realist with a thought-through strategy. What can be done?

“What is truth?” — Pontius Pilate

“Truth is such a flyaway, such a slyboots, so untransportable and unbarrelable a commodity, that it is as bad to catch as light.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Pilate and Emerson were prophets: truth is slipping away from us.

We’ve heard for a while about “alternative facts” and “post-truth politics.” Those who promoted those expressions, at least at first, were complaining about Donald Trump. But he seems comparatively old-fashioned, a figure out of real estate promotion, pro wrestling trash talk, and stand-up comedy. His stories are a personal performance, which seems a milder affair than the radical unreality of much of today’s public life.

Compare a Trump speech with the “Russian collusion” affair or the campaign to discredit the Hunter Biden laptop. Leading politicians, elite journalists, and once-admired federal agencies, presenting themselves as serious and ethical people, worked together—with no concern for truth or fear of consequences—to construct or suppress explosive claims about misconduct in the inner circles of two presidential campaigns. …

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