Letter: Truth and democracy

Published: 11-26-2023 7:00 AM

A relationship between two people depends on truth to survive; a family depends on truth to survive; a society depends on truth to survive; justice depends on truth to survive and a democracy depends on truth to survive! For a democracy to work, it is essential that we the citizens agree in some minimal way about what reality looks like. It is the foundation of democratic politics that no one person or institution has sole authority to determine what is truth. A democracy cannot exist on “alternative facts” or “conspiracy theories” or the twisting of the truth to support a political bias or agenda. A democracy is dependent on debate and compromise but that debate and compromise must be based on truth and facts.

One person’s truth is another’s hoax or lie. A good example is “climate change” where science is denied for political reasons or greed. Another example is the denial of the 2020 election results where even the verified vote counts are denied or conspired against. Authoritarianism, dictatorship and totalitarianism are the types of government that cannot survive without lies or manipulation of the truth; a democracy cannot survive without the truth. Telling the truth has been an issue throughout history but even more so now with Trumpism, Authoritarianism and a world of the internet and social media where lies and conspiracy theories travel at the speed of light. Thomas Jefferson said: “Truth is great and will prevail if left to herself…” “The truth will set ‘us’ free”!

Ronald Litalien

Canterbury

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