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Overcoming conflict in a post-truth age

Is dialogue still possible in this age of post-truth politics and fake news?

By “dialogue” I mean the human, civilized and respectful way through which individuals are supposed to overcome their differences. The alternative is, of course, through the exercise of coercion and violence. And by referring to “post-truth politics” and “fake news” I take two particularly significant and distinctive markers of what’s wrong with present-day society.

I shall try to respond to this in three steps: first, by offering an explanation of the problem; second, a brief analysis; and third, some suggestions on how to move forward.

All-or-nothing stakes

Apart from being the word of the year in 2016, “post-truth” refers primarily to a style of doing politics in which people take recourse to barefaced lies in order to advance their objectives. We all still remember a few egregious examples from the recent US elections —when Hillary Clinton said she “never received nor sent any material that was marked classified” on her private email server while secretary of state or when Donald Trump affirmed that “14 percent of non-citizens are registered to vote” as well as from the Brexit campaign (“the EU costs Britain 350 million GBP a week”).

Then comes the spread of “fake news”.

This is due to the troubling abundance of two sorts of people. On the one hand, those who are gullible enough to believe anything they hear —Elvis sightings, for instance— estimated at 8 percent of the population. And on the other, those who lack scruples even to the point of propagating information they know to be false, as long as it supports their agenda, like the Texas-sized garbage island purportedly floating in the Pacific.

Read more at Mercatornet. 

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