The Truth Cast Adrift
When I have read advertisements of the country’s largest daily newspaper about “moving to a post-truth Era” I have been pondering what might this directly suggest. Generally speaking, the saying refers to circumstances, where objective facts affect public opinion less than relying on emotions and personal convictions. In practice, it has a confluence with the new guidelines for journalists that came into force in the beginning of 2005. The guidelines changed in a more tolerant direction, meaning that the instructions left more consideration to individual journalists on how to write.
According to the old guidelines, “the basis of a good journalistic practice is the right of the citizen to have access to true and generally important information that enables them to form a picture about their environment that is as truthful as possible”. In the new guidelines the requirement of correctness and relevance of information as well as truthfulness is omitted. Today ‘a good journalistic practice is based on everyone’s right to receive information and opinions’. It is mentioned that “the duty of a journalist is to seek truthful communication”. It remains to be guessed what it means for individual reporters, whose truth changes according to current trends.
On Friday, 3rd May 2019 was the International Day of Press Freedom, like every year. At the same time, it is also a day of freedom of speech. Erja Yläjärvi, editor-in-chief of Iltalehti-newspaper, published an editorial on the subject. She headed her article as follows: The Biggest Threat to Freedom of Speech in Finland Right Now: Other Finns
In her article, she expresses her concern about the amount of the filthy feedback that journalists have to receive every day. In her opinion, the danger of communication is that journalists do not want to expose themselves to that and start to look out for their words. Likewise, it can make it more difficult for journalists to find an interviewee on a controversial subject.
As I read the feedback for that article, a thought crosses my mind that the filthy feedback is targeted towards agenda-driven journalism, where journalists spread official truths and ignore everything that do not fit their agenda. Has it happened that, while the new guidelines for journalists say that “a good journalistic practice is based on everybody’s right to receive information and opinions”, media houses and journalists imagine that people have the right to hear journalists’ opinions? However, people expect journalists to spread pure knowledge like in earlier days so that they can form themselves as objective and truthful an opinion as possible. In the light of these thoughts, the message of Erja Yläjärvi’s article was simply that the greatest threat to freedom of expression is that journalists are not allowed to express their opinions freely.
So we are literally living post-truth times, when people do not even want to admit that there is any absolute truth. Except your own life and your own rights and interests, of course. People who have grown up in free democracies have become (speed) blind and live in an illusion that free democracy is a social order that stays upright without needing to be controlled. How many really realizes that the preservation of freedom requires us to acknowledge the absolute fact that everyone has been born into this world as a free individual, which requires taking care of the welfare and freedom of others?
All guidelines and rules of a free democracy can be derived from the freedoms of citizens and their respective responsibilities. In addition to freedom, they seek to ensure equal treatment of people, taking into account their starting points. Understanding the big picture of democracy and meaningful action requires common sense, which keeps the structures stick together. When the truth is kissed off and common sense disappears, there are very contradictory opinions and goals without justification as consequence:
There are no genders, and girls should not be called as girls and boys as boys, but the exchange of gender is a human right. Gender and citizen equality are the Alfa and Omega of everything, but equality does not matter when it comes to “positive discrimination”. In this election, the Green party brought 17 women and three men into the parliament. Women’s rights are promoted, as well as the emergence of female-hostile cultures, even by stigmatizing critics of female hostility as “hate speech”. All cultures are equal. It does not matter whether the cultures form organized societies or whether they are formed by tribes and clans fighting against each other, whether people live in peaceful coexistence or whether they chop off the heads of infidels.
There is a desire for democracy, tolerance, freedom of opinion and equality, but thoughtcriminals like people with false beliefs, are eliminated or sent to prison. Every “virtueradiant” emphasizes his/her tolerance, especially after rejecting people with false opinions without further parley. For the last ten years, the public debate has focused on, with whom it is not appropriate to cooperate. This exclusion of people with “false” opinions is “better” (mental) violence that is demonstrated by showing the middle finger on the image I attached to this article. Do my eyes see right that in the middle of the crowd is our former president Tarja Halonen?
Democratic Activity Astray
In the past, the contradictions were settled in a democratic process, as different world views were able to compete equally for support, that is, for usability. Things were driven by common sense, and people tried to find the most meaningful solutions to problems in regard of the functioning of society. Now everyone is trumpeting their opinions and subjective notions, because “I have the right”. In the name of tolerance, everyone should accept these concepts regardless how damaging they are to the functioning of society.
Before the election, a number of Green Leftist candidates held an open political event at Kaisa-house, which they called “Would you have a moment to discuss about hate speech”. They reported on Facebook about the event. Ilja Janitskin, who is known of his clear opinions and outspoken style, thanked the invitation and expressed his willingness to participate in the event. After a moment, he was notified by an organizer of the event that he was not invited.
Panu Huuhtanen, a candidate of the Reform Party took part in the event and filmed it without speaking out on the actual debate. The organizers of the event (MP candidates) were extremely disturbed by that. Using common sense one would have thought that the candidates would have been pleased of any kind of publicity that their event gets, and that they have the opportunity to express their views to larger public.
I watched the video from the beginning a small clip and I felt, as if the organizers were in mass psychosis. They blamed Panu Huuhtanen and other “hate speakers” (persons, who question their opinions) for bullying, who always come to film their events and even take close-ups of the activists. Eventually, Panu Huuhtanen was removed from the event by police officers.
I thought it would be better for the candidates, who organized the event to leave politics to people, who tolerate criticism and are able to justify their viewpoints. And, apparently, even though communications professionals have removed the requirement of truth from the journalists’ guidelines, or have given journalists the freedom to determine the truth according to prevailing trends, people who use common sense still rely on age-old truths that make up our moral backbone. None of the organizers of the event were elected.
It is incomprehensible that Finland, a country that emphasizes openness and democracy, has allowed to set up an institution such as the European Center of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats, which is completely beyond control of Finnish authorities. Followed by the establishment of the Hybrid Center, the Finnish Mediaunion (Mediapooli) was set up, which includes all mainstream media units, which are now committed to turn down all NATO and EU critical statements. Therefore, for example, Paavo Väyrynen, our most experienced politician and candidate and NATO and EU critic did not get any media coverage at all during the parliamentary elections. Immediately after the election, the Finnish MTV interviewed him.
Common Sense Gone Lost
Due to my inability to speak and my physical disability, I had difficulty getting into any kind of education in the early 1980s. However, I had a compelling need to learn new things. So I attended paid courses in summer university. The first course I attended was a course in philosophy of science. Many thought it was a joke, because the course was certainly not designed for an ignorant, uneducated and inexperienced person like me, who could not speak and had a severe physical disability.
Nevertheless, the course led me to the basic rules of logical thinking and conclusions. For example, if statements a and b are true, then the resulting conclusion c is also true. For example, it is known that humans and animals inhale oxygen and that it becomes carbon dioxide (CO2) in the body’s processes, which is then blown out when we exhale. This carbon dioxide produced by the body is a gas that plants bind to themselves in photosynthesis, producing sugars and oxygen. Animals and people live on the oxygen and food the plants produce. Conclusion: Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a vital gas for life.
We also know that in the history of mankind, no dictator who has oppressed his/her people has been able to mobilize citizens in a way that they have created welfare. After the First World War, the National Socialist Germany became the world’s leading industrial country in a few years under the guidance of Adolf Hitler. Conclusion: Adolf Hitler was not a dictator, who subjugated his people.
In my articles I have laid stress on the importance of common sense in our lives. In my mind, common sense is besides intuitive knowing also logical thinking that takes into account the rules of logic. Each claim is either true or false. The conclusion is true when it corresponds to external reality. We should draw truthful conclusions. This is also related to the sense of justice.
I would like to see the actions of all, especially our decision makers, guided by common sense. Some people think that common sense is a myth. It is certainly a myth for those who have no experience about it. They think that common sense is general knowledge in a society, non-verbal agreements, and generally accepted practices that have become stabled over time through the influence of individual egos. And because new egos are constantly evolving, who want to influence things and change practices, old common sense practices are overridden.
I have thought that the greatest merit of academic education is that people, who go through university education have more likely than those with lower education the capacity to multifaceted analytical thinking. However, this is no longer the case when universities and their policies and research are led by various kind of stories, which are rather determined by the feelings and personal convictions of researchers than objective facts.
People, who do not understand the simplest rules of logic, that means, who are not capable of independent, rational thinking are graduated from universities. They have herd mentality and go like sheeple after good stories. This is just as bad as the fact that some schoolchildren are illiterate at the end of elementary school, in other words are not able to raise over time and space.
Post-Truth Era Is Deception
Yuval Noah Harari, an Israeli historian and professor of history at the University of Jerusalem, is pondering, what is the crucial difference between humans and animals. What has had the greatest effect on the fact that man has become the lord of creation? When I listen to Mr Harari’s TED talk, I cannot ignore his background and the fact that he is a product of his own society, like the rest of us.
The first thing that draws my attention is his purely materialistic approach to things. He says that human superiority to animals is the imagination of people. This corresponds more or less to what I have learned that the most significant quality of humans is his ability to abstract thinking.
However, I cannot digest Mr Harari’s idea that the basis for people’s success is their ability to invent fictional stories that other people will adopt, which allow people cooperate extensively. I myself think that people have succeeded despite the fact that some people have invented fictional stories. There have always been enough people, who have been able to distinguish fact from fiction and promote sustainable development of things.
This has certainly required self-control and also, to some extent, living according to fictional stories without really accepting them. Criminal investigators do not disclose their cards until they are sure that they have enough evidence to convict criminals.
Noah Harari says that people have always wanted to believe in good stories rather than purely truth. In order to stay in power, the power elite must sooner or later resort to modified truth. This was what happened in the early stages of Christianity, when, according to Harari, Christians “closed themselves to a mythological bubble where no one dared question the truthfulness of the Bible”.
The legacy of Jesus was revolutionary, because he taught that every human being has a direct connection with God when he or she obeys the Spirit of God in his heart and does the will of God. In order to preserve its power, the elite had to invent a different story that held the masses under their control.
According to that story, Jesus spoke about life after death and the reward of life-long righteousness comes only after death when people live according to the rules of clergymen in touch with the Church. Jesus’ simple teaching of the Kingdom of Heaven in the hearts of men was since then ruled by religion and church.
Despite the fact that people have been deceived for centuries, we can be confident, because the truth does not burn. Despite of massive deception attempts, structures based on modified truth will sooner or later fail.
Erja Yläjärvi: Suomalaisten sananvapauden suurin uhka juuri nyt: Toiset suomalaiset (The Biggest Threat to Freedom of Speech in Finland Right Now: Other Finns)
Videos:Noah Harari (TED talk): Why humans run the world Lee Camp: You Are Being Lied To About Julian Assange