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This has been called the post-truth age. Science, reason, logic, facts have been losing their substance, fading into ideology, myth, conspiracy and paranoia.
Now, thanks to some 63 million Americans minimally literate enough to cast a ballot, we have Donald Trump. Con man, egomaniac, pathological liar, sexual predator, manifestly unfit by character for high public office. Yet here he is, alleged “leader of the free world” with his finger on the nuclear trigger. He has suddenly driven America to the brink of destroying the liberal international order painstakingly built up over the past seven decades; of reversing the hopeful efforts to deal with threats to the global environment; of returning race hatred, misogyny, bigotry and intolerance to the very centre of American values. And all the while, together with his glitzy family and grisly entourage, he schemes to make as much money as he can from his latest, greatest scam.
I would call what I have just written “facts” backed by a plenitude of evidence. Others would denounce these words as “fake news,” or “alternative facts.” Half of America agrees that Trump is a monster. The other half thinks he is a messiah – and perhaps the caudillo who will enforce their will and their values on a hostile world. Trump and his followers live in an alternative looking-glass universe from which communication comes in Orwellian Newspeak: black is white; love is hate; peace is war; Barack Obama is an alien; Vladimir Putin is a good guy.
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