The following is a guest post by Mason Richey, an associate professor of international studies at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies.
I am Trump; I am Trump.
Trump I am.
That Trump I am, that Trump I am, I do not like that Trump I am.
Would you like CVID?
I do not like it, don’t you see? I do not like CVID.
Today’s revelation that Mike Flynn resigned from his post as National Security Advisor is another strong sign that the struggle between Truth and Politics is not a foregone conclusion. Indeed, we ought to actually celebrate the fact that when Flynn lied about speaking with the Russian ambassador, and the lie was made public, he was forced to resign. This victory notwithstanding, we still must be extremely vigilant against the Trump administration’s attack on Truth. For the administration apparently knew that he lied some time ago, and it was only with increased public scrutiny that Flynn submitted his resignation. Had that not come to light, the administration appears to have no compunction about employing liars.
In what follows, I will briefly argue that Hannah Arendt’s insights into Truth and Politics, as well as her understanding of power, authority, violence and persuasion are all key to helping us resist Trump and his acolytes. We are in a fragile time where the balance between freedom, reason, and truth may be overrun by domination, nonsense, and lies. We are on the precipice of what Arendt calls “organized lying,” where the community, or at least the governance structures and a portion of the community, seek to systematically erode any claims to factual or rational truths, and with that to unmoor the very foundations of our state.
Dear My Not-So-Fictional Family Members of Facebook,
Greetings. We really haven’t hung out since that family reunion in 1996 but it’s been great to reconnect on Facebook. I love the pictures of your dog and it’s cool to see how much you now look like our grandfather. We have different political beliefs; I think we both know that now. I’ve turned into one of those Birkenstock-wearing liberals who likes science and “wastes my time” marching for rights that you think women already have. Your political beliefs are the polar opposite of that and today you’ve expressed how happy you are that President Trump is going to “give those terrorists what they deserve.”
I take it that you’ve heard that President Trump is poised to reinstate waterboarding, saying that “experts” have told him that torture “absolutely” works. I don’t know who President Trump talked to but I’ve studied this topic quite a bit from my ivory tower; I even worked on this topic for a DoD-funded project. Let me tell you: all the experts I know say torture does not work. Lots of evidence – collected from lots of countries and lots of terrorist groups over a long period of time – says the exact opposite: using torture will actually make our country more vulnerable to terrorists and terrorist attacks. In this era of “alternative” facts, I understand that you might dismiss my facts. However, I hope you’ll at least look at them: