Greta versus Trump, in Davos. They were not face to face, but it was as if they were speaking to each other. So, while they are both speaking to us from the same platform, is it possible to hear the two in dialogue? Greta as the voice of rationalism, and see Trump as the embodiment of a post-truth era?
T: We must reject the perennial profits of doom and their predictions of the apocalypse.
Today I’m pleased to announce The United States would join One Trillion Trees initiative.
G: We’re not telling you to offset your emissions by just paying someone else to plant trees in places like Africa.
T: These alarmists always demand the same thing: Absolute power, to dominate, transform and control every aspect of our lives. We will never let radical socialists destroy our economy, wreck our country.
G: This is not about right or left. We could not care less about your party politics. From sustainability perspective; the right, the left, as well as the center, have all failed.
T: This is not a time for pessimism. This is a time for optimism. Fear and doubt is not a good thought process.
G: One year ago I came to Davos and told you “Our house is on fire.” I said I wanted you to panic.
(From a video of BBC News Turkish twitter account, the dialog form was created.)
T: CNN is fake news!
Although “Fake news” is already an inadequate concept to express the true meaning of information disorder, it became more problematic when these words were spoken by Trump. Since then, it has been the shield that protects politicians from unwanted claims even if those claims are not false. Moreover, “fake news” can be read as an attempt to discredit journalism itself.
According to the sources of verification , from just before the election (August 2016) through the day of the election, 217 different false statements were issued by nominees. Although 79% of these false statements were from Trump, he was elected President.
Politicians lying is not a new phenomenon. The new phenomenon is the reaction of the masses to politicians’ lies. The people have gotten used to the lies of politicians, and it is as if they do not care anymore. The novelty the post-truth era has brought is the acceptance of lies as truth as long as they are coherent with the biases, thoughts and beliefs of individuals (Alpay, 2017).
And now, the masses have their president, one who does not believe in climate change.
G: We should believe in science.
Brexit, the victory of Trump, the rejection of climate change, claims towards immigrants; these have all been built on emotions rather than on facts. With postmodernism, the masses decided that there is no need for a single fact to explain world around them, and there is no more room for elitists (Alpay, 2017).
On the other hand, what if rather than a new era, this is simply a rejection of modernity?
The crisis that people experience as a result of the modern era might create an illusion that appears to be the beginning of a new era. Are these leaders and their lies enough to explain the beginning of a new era? Or can we see them as thoroughly modern?
Moreover, what if the post-truth era is not really post-truth?
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Stay safe from dis-/mis-information!