“If a lie is only printed often enough, it becomes a quasi-truth, and if such a truth is repeated often enough, it becomes an article of belief, a dogma, and men will die for it.”
The quote above often attributed to Russian revolutionist Vladimir Lenin was in fact first written by the 19th century woman writer Isa Blagden and is more applicable than ever in an age where the truth becomes ever more blurred in social media bubbles.
I grew up in apartheid South Africa where the truth was hidden behind a thick veil of censorship laws. Anti-apartheid activists such as Nelson Mandela, or dissident theologian Beyers Naude could not be quoted in any publication. They were vilified by state-owned media as dangerous terrorists. Like all white South Africans I believed the narrative that the government was fighting dangerous communists bent on controlling the world.
As a young man I began my career as a cadet reporter for an opposition newspaper where an entirely different world began to open up before my eyes. I interviewed opposition activists who had been brutally tortured by white security policemen. Normal, decent black people came to the newsroom on a daily basis telling us about forced removals, police brutality in the townships and how the discriminatory laws shattered their lives.
Defining the truth
My older very experienced deputy news editor chided me for my initial naive outlook on life. I have never forgotten the fundamentals of news journalism that he instilled in me:
- Is it really true?
- Have you reliably sourced the story?
- Has your source got a track record of trustworthiness?
- Have you heard the other side?
Truth always wins the day
After moving to Germany in the 1980s and then witnessing the fall of the Iron Curtain, the dark side of the corrupt communist regime and the machinations of its secret Stasi police were open for all to see. I also had the opportunity of going back to South Africa and meeting personally such remarkable personalities as Nelson Mandela and Beyers Naude.
The current global events, especially in the United States, have me deeply concerned. How is it possible that a man of such toxic character can become president? How is it possible that a solid base of 42 per cent of Americans still blindly follow this man whose administration openly admits that the violent protests, fanned by the divisive language of the man in chief, will benefit him in the upcoming elections? If only he had addressed the nation calling upon every responsible citizen to abide by social distancing and to wear a mask, ten thousands of lives could have been saved?
Much like in the South Africa of my childhood the white rulers peddled the narrative of the “swart gevaar” or danger of black majority rule supported by the communist Soviet Union so often that any alternative argument was simply not heard and terrible human rights abuses were shrugged off as necessary collateral damage in the fight against the bigger evil.
Truth is being buried in a swamp of conspiracy theories and different reality bubbles. A general consensus on democratic norms and values is being eroded in much of the western world. Beliefs and interpretation of truth are affirmed in parallel universes. When basic facts, knowledge, history and sound science are dismissed dialogue becomes impossible, and confrontation is inevitable.
Democracy thrives on the foundation of common values, and consensus building in a culture of differing opinion.
Trump as the only person capable of establishing law and order, reviving the economy and restoring the proud nation to its former glory, introducing a miracle vaccine against Corona. And even if he loses the election, he will shout “fraud and manipulation”. Millions of perfectly decent, ordinary law-abiding citizens are believing the narrative. It is the same fear strategy employed by Adolf Hitler where many scholars today are posing the question: How could a highly educated society, civilized society, the land of Goethe, Schiller and Bach fall prey to such a madman. Now we know why. We are seeing the demolition of a democracy being played out before our very eyes.
Reino Gevers – Author. Mentor. Speaker
One more thing…
You might want to check out my new book “Deep Walking for Body, Mind and Soul” released as a paperback by Morgan James Publishing on August 11, 2020. It has some valuable tips on creating happiness and boosting your vibrational energy on many levels. You can order it at all major outlets such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble or in my own store. Check out the latest five-star reviews on Goodreads.
“A breathtaking, captivating, transformative walk,” – Tom Dutta, Canada
“The book reminded me of my own journey in life I am walking and how bringing stillness to my busy life and mind is essential.” – Karin, France
“The book compresses on its slim 190 pages an extreme density of life wisdom.” Christina, Germany