This past weekend, Rudy Giuliani offered the opinion that, “the truth isn’t truth”. The mayor-turned-epistemologist was barely out of the NBC studio before his comment had produced several smug and unambitious takes on our “post-truth” era, including that from the Washington Post declaring this “is the Trump era’s epitaph”. Well, sure. But, this all depends on what your definition of “is” is, and just how it has previously functioned to kill the truth in US political life.
If you ask me, truth was devastated by the policy class long before Bill Clinton took the verb “To be” out for a stroll in its best blue dress twenty years ago last Friday. If you ask a majority of persons in western liberal democracies, they will likely say the same. Australian surveys consistently demonstrate that Australian voters wouldn’t trust a politician to lie straight in bed. Respondents interviewed in other OECD nations tend to say the same. Not that one needs a discussion paper to sniff what’s in front of our noses: conventional politics is dying along with the truth it has poisoned.