When Truth is Banned From the Marketplace of Ideas

Two conflicting views of truth:

“…The best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market, and that truth is the only ground upon which their wishes safely can be carried out.”

~ Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. (1841-1935)
Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court
in the decision, Abrams v. United States, 1919

“The last duty of a central banker is to tell the public the truth.”

~Alan Binder,
(then) Federal Reserve Vice Chair in a 1994 speech,

 

 

Recently a 5-month-old post “Allegiance to Truth in an Age of Deception” has been “discovered”, and generated reader interest from across the net. The difficulties of making our ways happily in life amidst a culture of deceit seems to have struck a nerve with many of us.

After all, allegiance to – or – love of truth is an optimizing orientation to life. Within each of us there is a drive to become, to actualize our human potential. Environments of deception and falsehood thwart this actualizing drive, for if our day-to-day decisions are based on misinformation provided us by governments and corporations, then we cannot easily carry forward our lives.

We are challenged not only to renew our society by having the courage to live by the light of our own truth, but also to ferret out truth from the thicket of deception which ensnares it. There is an old adage that in the marketplace of ideas, truth will win out the competition. But what happens when truth is banned from the marketplace? Where then can we find truthful information with which we may guide our lives?

You wouldn’t think this is just an academic issue, were your mortgage under water or your family was hungry, because you were unemployed. If you had trusted Fed Chairman Bernanke’s “hopium”, you would have been sorely disappointed, given that since 2008 Bernanke has consistently understated the severity of the economic crisis (i.e., Source and Source).

Keep in mind also that the Bureau of Labor Statistics “Birth / Death” computer model inflates the “good news” about the monthly jobs creation. Thus far in 2011, the BLS computer has created more than a half million “jobs” out of thin air, but not one will put food on your plate (Source) Fixed-income seniors and anyone who buys groceries knows that inflation is higher than what the government reports (Source).

Just as we cannot rely on government to provide us the information we need to successfully govern our lives, so to we cannot rely upon the mainstream television, radio, and media. During the 80s and 90s the consolidation of the media resulted in a small

number of corporations controlling the media. Media concentration impacts freedom of the press, editorial independence, and diversity of views. The Conan O’Brien YouTube clip (at 1:15) to the right reveals just how scripted our news programs are. Moreover given how troubled our world is, you might think that television national news might not squander some of its 18 minutes of non-commercial reporting on amazing dog stories.

No wonder more and more persons turn to the internet for news. Yet even internet institutions censor information, for under government pressure Google delists sites and YouTube yanks videos.

Considering this difficulty of finding truthful information, I remember a political discussion with my neighbor. At a certain point, I asked him for the source of his information. “Fox News,” he replied. And which books had he read in regards to the topic? “None,” he answered, for he didn’t read books.

In search of the truthful information which we each need to successfully guide our lives, we must do more than rely solely upon sources whose existence depends upon the existing economic order. To a significant extent, the quality of our lives depends upon the quality of the information upon which we base our decisions.

 

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