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Saturday, December 5, 2020

Victory Often Comes to the Lying Side

“A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes,” said Mark Twain more than one hundred years ago, but in the twenty-first century, thanks to the digital technologies, a lie can travel around the world several times while truth is putting on its shoes. The standards for assessing the available evidence and deciding what is the truth and what is moral are today poorer than in the time of Twain, so the falsehoods are now far easier to propagate. Those who control the information flow on the Internet (political establishments, media houses, tech companies, and academics) can sell any lie, subvert any moral norm—they can conjure a worldwide pandemic out of thin air; they can distort election results not only in the banana republics but also in the advanced republics; they can persuade most people to believe that productivity leads to destruction of the natural environment, and liberty leads to repression of the weaker racial groups. By the time, a significant number of people realize what is going on, the game of lies has already been played and it’s too late to change the outcome.

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