William Saletan, writing in Slate, has some smart insight on “right vs. left.” He says it doesn’t exist anymore. It’s not right versus left or conservative versus liberal. It’s “people who care about basic facts1 vs. people who don’t.2”
Trump and his acolytes don’t just spin facts; they completely disregard them. They repeat fantastic lies about election fraud, and when they’re confronted with contrary evidence, they’re not even embarrassed. If we don’t get control of this — if we don’t reestablish an ethic of respect for facts — nothing else will be solved. We can’t extinguish the virus if tens of millions of Americans insist it’s a hoax and refuse to be vaccinated or wear masks. We can’t restore public faith in election results and put down insurrectionism if half the population refuses to believe anything the media report. Repairing the consensus that facts must be respected won’t settle our debates on spending, education, or criminal justice. But without that consensus, the crisis we’re in will get much worse.
It’s going to get worse. There has to be a price to pay for being wrong. I’m not talking about morals or politics. I mean “the sky is red, not blue” wrong. If we all can’t get to basic facts being basic facts, then we will be in an ever-changing hellhole of “alternative facts” and other bullshit. Lying under the previous administration was catastrophic for thousands, if not millions, of people. They have to be held accountable.
If you miss questions on a test, you are wrong. There is no “alternative answer” to 2+2=4. You are wrong. It’s the same thing across the board in our everyday lives and the sooner there is accountability for those who are lying, the better.