Belfast Telegraph

Home Opinion Letters

'Post-truth' has cut us adrift from morals

The latest addition to our national discourse are the increasing references to what has become known as "post-truth", the Oxford Dictionary's Word of the Year 2016.

Here we have yet another instance of words welcomed into our lives without an accompanying new and determinate reality attached to them. Nonsense finds a new adopted home.

The surge in references to "post-truth" came in attempts to make sense of the Donald Trump phenomenon, where our normal understanding of the truth was put on hold.

There is some implication here that we have found a new redeeming way of the world; it would be naive not to conform, becoming inspired by Mr Trump, who is seen as a master of the art of disentangling oneself from the corrosive influence of truth-telling. Hillary Clinton, in her turn, enhanced this brave new world by referring to her lying as "misspeaking".

The all-embracing idea is the post-modernist suggestion that there is no truth, particularly moral truth; human life is made up as we go along. In this new dispensation, the truth will no longer set us free; we will be unburdened by being set free from the truth.

We once depended on our churches to act as moral leaders. Here, the teachings of the church were taken as the ultimate underpinning of our moral beliefs.

We are now being cut adrift from our traditional moral moorings as we set out on a voyage to nowhere.

PHILIP O'NEILL

By email

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph