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What's Wrong with the Truth?

Or - Truth in the Public Realm: How Fake News and Political Correctness are Destroying Democracies

This was a speech I gave on October 17, 2017 to a service club.

This weekend I will be finishing my 72nd year of life. Over the course of my life I have been vetted many times – no label has ever stuck. I’m not here to impose an agenda and I hope you are not here to play "gotcha". I want you to listen with an open mind so we can have an adult discussion.

Fake new in the hands of those who have no power is only annoying.

Fake news in the hands of those who have power is ominous.

Fake news tied to a political correctness that has far outgrown its original purpose for good is devastating.

We need to put definitions to both. Fake news is not fabricated news. Fabricated news is when you make up something that isn’t true, such as, Martians have been sighted in the Utah desert – (although I think this one may be true). Fake news is the manipulation of public information to make it fit an accepted agenda, usually an agenda of the status quo.

You’ve heard of wishful thinking – Political correctness is wishful talking. Instead of “say it ain’t so”, all we have to do now is “say it is so” and, magically, it’s done.

Political correctness started out as a way to rub the rough edges off us, to make our society more polite and more engaging. But over the years we’ve experienced mission creep and today political correctness has made us afraid of living life, of seeing the world as it actually is. We have turned over the control of our lives, our thoughts to an unwritten controlling force. Political correctness has us saying with our mouths what our hearts know to be untrue.

In a PC world avoiding confrontation and struggle at all costs is sacred. PC is the sweet words and images that tell us that complex problems have been solved without the struggle and confrontation that is often necessary actually taking place: Sanitized words don’t solve anything

In their excessive forms both fake news and PC can be public deception or short cuts. Let me give you an example of what these things looks like.

In 2015, at the height of the immigration crisis, I walked throughout the five eastern states of Germany and witnessed what was going on first-hand. Here are two pictures that I referred to in my last talk with you here, after that walk. On the one hand we have a picture of what was happening daily on the ground. On the other hand we have the actual picture that appeared in most newspapers at the same time. Notice a difference?

I am proposing to you that because of political correctness (i.e. how things "ought" to have been instead of how things actually were) that the one picture was widely distributed and the other was not; and so we see an example of political correctness creating fake news. It happens daily.

Since that time we have seen the consequences of this phenomenon grow into a reality. Germans, who once lived in a picture perfect society –carefree and secure—are now cautious where they go and when – for good reason. In 2015/16 over 1 million immigrants, such as we saw in the picture, entered the country and because of political correctness there were no checks of any kind.

Three weeks ago Germany had its Federal election, and, as a reaction to the immigration crisis, a right wing party, that didn’t even exist in the previous federal election, got 12.6% of the vote and has thrown the outcome of the election into a quandary.

As of today, Germany is not able to form a government - the Chancellor only has 33% support