Apparently, according to the media as of present, we live in an era of “post-truth”. An age where fallacies such as ‘alternative facts’ or ‘fake news’ are real and effect the lives of the populace. A time where people can deny a truth by saying that truth is false and seek out other truths and facts can be swapped out with other facts when they are deemed ‘alternative’.
However, I have a different opinion: We have been living that way for a very long time and it is called being a hypocrite. Both sides of the spectrum that have been spewing these terms out against each other only use them to their benefit. It can be a damaging fact but if does not fit the narrative, surely we can pick and choose the facts we wish to portray ourselves as. We can say that the news is fake and fabricated but once it is released to the public, there will be people that will come to accept as truth not because they have been lied to, no, but they have been subconsciously waiting for that news to validate a truth that they hold.
And this hypocrisy does not end there.
If we restrict ourselves to the political sphere, sure, that hypocrisy is something that politicians revel in. Champions of world peace will not hesitate to go to war even if it results in the deaths of millions of innocents, the shredding of families for everyone involved and the benefits only go to the warmongers. Why? Because as long as it is done in the pretense of ‘peace’, terror is welcomed. Similarly, those that claim to fight for free speech, equality for all minorities and call for the end of violence are made up of people that come from the majority, silence anyone that disagrees with them, happily throw any person of minority under the bus if they refuse to subscribe to their ideology and riot violently on the streets. Notice that the second example is much broader? That is because the people who participate in them are not politicians; they are people like you and me who happen to be swayed by these ideas.
However, society at large is itself a hypocrite that governs the way of how we live. People are constantly told to be proud of who they are yet scorn those that do not fit societal norms. These norms need not be what society perceives to be ‘liberal’ or ‘conservative’, all it takes is for it to be the norm. For instance, being an introvert in the West would probably be tough as everyone around you expects you to be loud, boisterous and outgoing. In the Far East, where it is acknowledged that society dictates what you do and how you act, the hypocrisy there is that it gives far too much leeway for abuse of power to those who are on the upper echelons of society as they not only can get away with treating those below them poorly but also forgo the rules of the very society they live in as well provided they do not show it to those who are above them.
These are a few things that are rather subtle but become glaringly obvious once you stop and think about it. Then, once you dig a bit deeper, you begin to realise that this is actually how people normally behave and interact in day-to-day activities. Everyone knows that everyone lies but yet we despise those who fail to be truthful. The same could be said for the opposite where everyone respects those who speak the truth and remain honest and humble in character but yet we lie almost naturally and come to see the honest and humble people as being pretentious. To those who are religious, we often hear from the figures who claim to be authority of our religion, be they clerics, organisations or even entire states, that we must obey the principles of our religion, that we must heed their advise wholly and adhere to their command for they are the ones truly learned in the ways of a religion to the point that they may well be speaking on God’s behalf. But, we see throughout the passage of time that these figureheads will practice not what they preach behind the closed eyes of the believers. Even the very claim that they could speak for God as though they know what the Lord thinks is blasphemous in itself as (at least, for Abrahamic faiths) no one knows what the Creator thinks. Not even the prophets assigned to spread the word.
We claim to abhor ‘alternative facts’ and ‘fake news’ but who is to say that we do not it ourselves? When a person asks about yourself, obviously you would describe your best traits and values. Since these are true, they are facts. It is a fact that John is a good man. It is also a fact that John was a heinous bully in high-school and mistreats his co-workers. For both facts, there are a number of people who can testify to them. Based on the definitions society places on these two terms, we can say that John is a liar and that he is using ‘alternative facts’ much like how we can say anyone person who informs someone of either, both, or none of John’s ‘facts’ are purveyors of ‘fake news’ for some of us do not believe in them. We are no better than the ones we accuse of them for we do it too.
Therefore, we should acknowledge this aspect of ourselves and try and commit to be as honest as we can. This is not to say that we must accept the worst of humanity as a product of something that a greater mechanism has set for them but we must avoid lording over the moral high ground as though we are absolutely pure and clean.
* This article reflects the opinions of the author and is in no way academically factual.