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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 5/8/20

Getting the Truth "Out"

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"Is Anthony Fauci Really Our Truthteller-in-Chief? (Kevin Drum, Mother Jones, March 21, 2020)

There are two ways to interpret this title of this essay. It could refer to spreading the truth far and wide, challenging censorship, presenting counter-evidence to public assertions, or critical inquiry that with counter-hegemonic education in mind. It could also refer to throwing the truth out the window with disregard, dismissal or denial. Unfortunately, in our post-truth world, the latter interpretation describes what is happening ad nauseam via politicians, media, and pundits. Sometimes lies are carefully dissected and untruths are exposed. Too often, such corrections either stand unchallenged or the corrections are not published. If there is significant benefit to those in power, the lies are spread far and wide by those who have control of media outlets.

This said, it is important to note that "the truth" is a multi-faceted gem. When sitting around a campfire, we may see different aspects of the fire. This does not mean truth is relative. It is still a fire, not a waterfall or a mound of jelly beans.

However, his allowance for complexity allows for more realistic understandings. Such truth-seeking is typical in traditional Indigenous cultures, where truthful communication is inseparable from the spiritual sense of interconnectedness to all things visible and invisible. People understand that the many forms for expressing truth, including art, prayer, song, dance, and dialogue, produce vibrational frequencies that allow for cognitive and intuitive knowing about reality. Indigenous verb-based languages allow for this in ways that are much more difficult with the newer noun-based languages that dominant the world today. "With the conquerer's strategic lies and noun-based language, communication lost its sacredness" (From Sustainable Wisdom and Truthfulness, p. 183). Words became tools for deceit on behalf of personal gain. Art and music became a commodity instead of an expression of poetic truth and beauty and Nature-based survival.

Loss of truth is not always an intentional act. Preconceptions that can be sourced in one's worldview can prevent us from seeing is outside the presumption. For example, the book Critical Neurophilosophy reveals how seeing neuroscientific experiments through the lens of a Western worldview can lead to conclusions that are false. This is why "several contemporary researchers are critical of the conclusions brought forth by neuroscience." We may all have unconscious false beliefs that prevent us from recognizing our contradictions or those in others. Still, when science fails truthfulness, we all suffer the outcomes. This is especially true when education fails us. As Henry Giroux points out in "Selling out Higher Education, as neo-liberal capitalism infiltrates universities, it becomes more difficult for educators and citizens to seek truth and address its absence when addressing pressing social issues. Although politicians are known throughout history for their untruths, the current government of the United States seems to be the epitome of a post-truth world that buries facts by "appealing to emotion and personal belief."

A recent blatant example of how easily the truth is dismissed occurred recently when ABC News host Martha Raddatz interviewed Mike Pompeo. In the ABC News transcript, Raddatz plays a clip from Trump saying he has seen evidence for it but is "not allowed" to say why he has a high degree of confidence that the virus originated from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Then she asks Pompeo, "And, Mr. Secretary, have you seen anything that gives you high confidence that it originated in that Wuhan lab?"

Pompeo: "Martha, there's enormous evidence that that's where this began"Remember, China has a history of infecting the world and they have a history of running substandard laboratories. These are not the first times that we've had a world exposed to viruses as a result of failures in a Chinese lab"I can tell you that there is a significant amount of evidence that this came from that laboratory in Wuhan."

Raddatz: "Do you believe it was manmade or genetically modified?"

Pompeo: "Look, the best experts so far seem to think it was manmade. I have no reason to disbelieve that at this point."

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Wahinkpe Topa (Four Arrows) is a professor at Fielding Graduate University. Former Director of Education at Oglala Lakota College, he is a made-relative of the Oglala and a Sun Dancer. Selected by AERO for their text Turning Points as one of 27 (more...)
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