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Excellent diary on an important subject. Thanks.

My latest mantra de jour is that communication is dialogue: without dialogue it is propaganda. It is the dialogue about truth that is important, perhaps even more so than the truth itself.

There is a lot of misinformation out there, as you point out. But what we are witnessing is an exponential increase in the diversity of freely available information. The 'many truths' syndrome. Right now we are experiencing information divergence. Who knows, in a hundred years we might see information convergence? It certainly won't be next year, but it will happen.

Even that increasing divergence is on our side. Propagandists always seek to limit information and control the narrative. Little by little, the 'narrative' is being biodiversified, and that, to me, is a good thing.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Mon Sep 10th, 2007 at 07:20:41 AM EST
It is the dialogue about truth that is important, perhaps even more so than the truth itself.

I don't think so.  For me, dialogue is a critically important tool, but the prize is still the truth.  

When you love the truth, you don't just seek it because your mother is watching, you seek it because finding it gives you pleasure.

"Remember the I35W bridge--who needs terrorists when there are Republicans"

by techno (reply@elegant-technology.com) on Mon Sep 10th, 2007 at 07:33:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And the dialogue can, in itself, ensure that the truth is either never discovered or just simply irrelevant.
We can spend all day arguing about how many purple hearts John Kerry deserved or whether that specific kind of kerning can occur on a certain 1970s typewriter, but it does not change one undeniable truth: John Kerry served his country in the battlefield, and George W Bush did not. Yet that simple truth was distorted beyond recognition by "debate" and "the other side of the story".

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Mon Sep 10th, 2007 at 07:48:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Narrative wins over truth every time, because it selects which truths and lies are important.

"Kerry is weak" - and to some extent he ran a campaign that was - trumped the fact of his military service.

"Bush is strong" was played very effectively. It was pure theatre, nand pure lies. But it was reassuring theatre that the marks wanted to hear, and enough of them bought it to swing the outcome.

It's well known that one of the things that makes the Left weak is that it's very bad at crafting simple, solid narratives. There's always plurality, argument, a lot of one-the-one-hand-on-the-other-hand.

Even now in the US, what does Hillary really stand for? What does Obama stand for? What's their narrative in a single sentence?

Compared to them, everyone knows exactly what the Right stands for. And even though the ideal has been so badly tarnished by scandal that there's a backlash, people know what the ideal is - so much so that the Left still spends a lot of its time trying to demolish the talking points one by one.

Narrative and mythology are what move people. Truth is just an occasional accessory to the fact.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Sep 10th, 2007 at 08:48:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So should the democrats message be "We're not crooks perverts and cowards"?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Sep 10th, 2007 at 10:14:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
yes, but positive.
by PeWi on Mon Sep 10th, 2007 at 10:21:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
we're better than those crooks perverts and cowards? ;-)

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Sep 10th, 2007 at 10:28:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Seriously, that's a very interesting question.

If they had the balls to run it - which they don't - I wonder if a 'We're not crooks, perverts or liars' campaign might not be a roaring success.

The problem for the Dems is that they haven't differentiated themselves. So they've let the narrative become 'They're all the same' rather than 'We're honest and different.'

Which is possibly a fatal error. I think there's going to be revenge voting from the moderates for the Dems, combined with massive apathy and resentment from the Dem base.

If the Dems are thinking it's a sure thing, someone really needs to persuade them otherwise - and soon.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Sep 10th, 2007 at 10:54:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well if you look back at 1997 that was the core of the Labour parties message.  they ran it very much like the dems are now and let the media run the they're not crooks liars and perverts message.

Unfortunately I cant see the US media running it for them. so they would have to do it for themselves. the big question then would be if it would be as effective if you were running it yourself rather than having a third party putting it out.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Sep 10th, 2007 at 11:00:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
By using it in campaign speeches, it becomes third party.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Mon Sep 10th, 2007 at 05:06:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
can the truth be tooled?

my 17- year old friend had to write an essay, 1600 words about truth and context recently, cf atwood, and so i went there with him, along the philosophical timeline, over the descartian fissure and up to today.

subjective, objective...

then i talked to a solar engineer for a while, and then returning to the intellectual fopdoodlery of how many versions of truth could dance on the head of a perception....i lost patience...

we have hard, practical problems facing us that philosophers have never faced before.

good to stretch adolescent brains, good to know how to keep an abstract ball in the air, i guess...

viva veblen

(sp?)

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Sep 10th, 2007 at 11:18:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
subjective, objective...

A Subject/Object Metaphysics doesn't ask the right questions of Reality, I think.

See

Metaphysics of Quality

Your young friend could do worse than read "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance".

I never got the chance when I was 17, cos it hadn't been written!


"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Mon Sep 10th, 2007 at 11:42:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Does the "Metaphysics of quality" actually ask any questions of reality?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Sep 10th, 2007 at 11:56:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Good point. Sloppy language.

Allow the right questions to be asked...

Next question. By whom?

Well, it's all relative.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Mon Sep 10th, 2007 at 06:57:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
says who?

Oye, vatos, dees English sink todos mi ships, chinga sus madres, so escuche: el fleet es ahora refloated, OK? — The War Nerd
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Sep 19th, 2007 at 11:49:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 I said this process ONLY works when people are actually interested in an accurate answer AND are willing to engage in good-will cooperation to find the facts.  

The folks who were arguing about John Kerry's war record were interested in neither.  The REAL question was, What makes war-time "heroism" (or war crimes, depending on how one views these things) a prerequisite for the USA presidency?  For all the "debate" on John Kerry's war record, that question was never asked--as least I never heard it.

"Remember the I35W bridge--who needs terrorists when there are Republicans"

by techno (reply@elegant-technology.com) on Tue Sep 11th, 2007 at 02:42:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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