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No, We Don’t Need a ‘Reality-Czar’: Let Truth and Falsehood Grapple

Gary M. Galles
February 8th, 2021
The Foundation for Economic Education
Comments (7)

This article was originally published by Gary M. Galles at The Foundation for Economic Freedom. 

It is hard to see how Americans’ well-being would be advanced by a “reality czar.”

New York Times writer Kevin Roose recently surveyed “our truth-challenged information ecosystem” and found a proliferation of “hoaxes, lies and collective delusions.” As he put it, that limits the Biden administration’s ability to “unite a country,” because “millions of people have chosen to create their own version of reality.” In response, he called for the creation of a “reality czar”-led government task force to root out disinformation.

Roose admits such a call for a “truth commission” sounds “dystopian,” before proceeding to ignore many ways it would be exactly that. For instance, the Times, the Biden campaign, the Democrat leadership, and others on board with the idea have come nowhere close to pursuing “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” Yet despite a history of disseminating misinformation, clear biases, and suppression of those with different views, they would select the arbiters of Orwellian truth.

So who could be trusted as the reality czar? No one.

Just ask Democrats why they never suggested having one when Trump was in office. In politics, truth is subservient to power. But since any attempt to provably establish the truth would be littered with obstacles and controversies, and often beyond possibility, while creating a substantial threat to Americans’ freedoms, only someone who was indisputably committed to both truth and freedom could possibly be trusted to lead such an enterprise. And there are precious few who would qualify. If he wasn’t long dead, I would nominate John Milton.

Why Milton?

Before America’s founding, he argued for freedoms of speech and the press, and against censorship, in England. His defense of freedom of conscience later powerfully resonated with America’s founders, reflected in our First Amendment. So it is worth considering the principles he would follow to establish the truth and preserve freedom, in his own words.
  1. If it comes to prohibiting, there is aught more likely to be prohibited than truth itself.
  2. Truth and understanding are not such wares as to be monopolized.
  3. When complaints are freely heard, deeply considered, and speedily reformed, then is the utmost bound of civil liberty obtained that wise men look for.
  4. Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.
  5. Truth…Let her and falsehood grapple.
  6. Whoever knew Truth put to the worse in a free and open encounter?
  7. Truth…needs no policies or stratagems…to make her victorious. These are the shifts and the defenses that error uses against her power.
  8. There is no learned man but will confess be hath much profited by reading controversies–his senses awakened, his judgment sharpened, and the truth which he holds firmly established…should it not at least be tolerable and free for his adversary to write…it follows then, that all controversy being permitted, falsehood will appear more false, and truth the more true; which must needs to conduce much to the general confirmation of an implicit truth.
  9. Discern…in what things persuasion only is to work.
  10. No institution which does not continually test its ideals, techniques, and measure of accomplishment can claim real vitality.
  11. Liberty hath a sharp and double edge, fit only to be handled by just and virtuous men; to bad and dissolute, it becomes mischief unwieldy in their own hands: neither is it completely given, but by them who have the happy skill to know what is a grievance and unjust to a people, and how to remove it wisely; what good laws are wanting, and how to frame them substantially, that good men may enjoy the freedom which they merit, and the bad the curb which they need.
  12. None can love freedom but good men; the rest love not freedom, but license, which never hath more scope than under tyrants.
  13. How oft [have] nations gone corrupt…by their own devices brought down to servitude.
  14. What do terms…which are at once corrupt and misapplied, denote but a people…ripe for servitude?
  15. Is it just or reasonable, that…voices against the main end of government should enslave [those] that would be free?
  16. They who seek nothing but their own just liberty, have always the right to win it and to keep it…be the voices ever so numerous that oppose it.

In addition, Milton would have some other important qualifications in evaluating reality. He would not be misled by government promises that threaten the rights that comprise our liberty, just because the government doesn’t mention that fact.

Similarly, when benefit promises far out-weigh promised exactions from citizens, he would recognize that they are omitting some of the truth. As one of history’s most important poets, he would have expertise in what should be considered a poetic license. As the second most important author in the English language, after Shakespeare, he would certainly also be alert to the abuse of language not in pursuit of truth, but of power over others. Just some of the words that have had their meanings warped are unity, we, rights, freedom, fair, justice, social, capitalism, need, and greed. And there has been plenty of added word twisting recently, with insurrection being near the top of the list.

It is obvious that discussing John Milton as a reality or truth czar is not a serious proposal. But that discussion reveals the position’s necessary requirements of the love of truth and the love of freedom our country was founded on.

Further, it shows that anyone fully meeting those requirements, if given the task, would find a great deal about the positions, promises, and policies of those who appointed them both untrue and unworthy of freedom.

Consequently, no such czar would ever be appointed. And it is hard to see how Americans’ well-being would be advanced by anyone less trustworthy for the job.

 

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    Author: Gary M. Galles
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    Date: February 8th, 2021
    Website: https://fee.org/

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    7 Comments...

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    1. Andrea.Iravani. says:

      Suddenly, the Democrats that rightfully objected to claiming that Jerusalem would be the capitol of Israel, all voted in favor of permanently recognizing Jerusalem as the capitol, except Sander, Warren, and Carper. Why was this even allowed in the covid relief bill? Whose country is this? Why the sudden change of heart? Bribery, blackmail, or both? I demand an investigation and I demand that AIPAC and Jstreet are required to be listed under FARA! I also demand an end to campaign donations above $50 per election per candidate! Money is not speech! If you are worried about foreign election interference, the answer is Israel! Everybody knows it!
      https://www.globalresearch.ca/majority-us-senate-votes-yes-keep-us-embassy-jerusalem-indefinitely/5736580

      Andrea Iravani

    2. Darth Skippy says:

      He wastes half his ostensible fortune in office, yet without creating any assumption of privacy of property, nor of self ownership.

      Some people actually need a Reality Czar.

    3. Vampires suck says:

      We don’t need a reality czar. With all off this tyranny going on,what we need is a totally new and different reality altogether because the one we have now COMPLETELY SUCKS!!!!!

    4. Bill says:

      A “Reality Czar” (the word czar/tsar is Russian for Caesar) is simply a euphemism for Chief Propagandist – a person who heads a Ministry of Propaganda. These persons and entities have a variety of responsibilities: a) withhold facts and information the State does not want its population to know, b) filter, omit, alter, or fabricate facts and information the State uses to control the attitudes, thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors of its population, c) oversees and regulates all materials used in the school system, entertainment, internet, legal system, in every institution, and d) ensure thorough indoctrination and compliance.
      In nations with these types of “Ministries” the most serious crimes is the possession of information outside of State approval (no matter how true or innocuous). The US is well on its way with people like Assange, Snow, and Manning being persecuted by the State for nothing more than revealing information the State wanted concealed from the people. Politicians in both parties rabidly want to control information, more so the Dems., who fully utilize the MSM to present “facts” and “news” and how it is to be perceived. Our legislators have even passed a great deal of legislation that is classified so that the people cannot know how they are affected.
      The State already has an official propaganda agency – it’s called National Public Radio, or NPR. It produces nothing but progressive drivel. This agency would be subsumed into a greater propaganda agency.
      Should an official propaganda type agency be created it would not be named using words like truth or reality or none of those sophomoric words. It would use words like “agency for the development of information for social unity” or “bureau of public information for social development” or “admin. for public information and national unity”, or something like that, and it would likely have national police powers. It short order it would become an oppressive behemoth, probably controlling every aspect of society, and interface between citizen and gov’t.
      You can be sure there would be regulations requiring officially mandated-gov’t controlled accounts for access to the Internet. A formula would be devised to block internet users for “crimes against the public good”. Many sites would be closed down. No encryption allowed for personal phones or computers.
      What unfortunately isn’t surprising, lots of Americans (useful idiots) believe all this is a good idea. They have no idea they have been reduced to a managed disposable resource.

    5. James says:

      The only thing we can be sure of is the “Reality-Czar” will be a compulsive liar.

    6. Bert33 says:

      Ok, so, ‘truth’. With news, you’re dealing with 3rd-hand information. At best. by the time you get to the web, might be 4th/5th/6th, with 3 opinions thrown in. What are the basic elements of a good quality news story? Who, what, when, where, how, why. To the best of your knowledge and honest ability. That’s what a news reporter does. Report the news to the best of their ability. So…what does a journalist do? And, what is clickbait? What is propaganda? What is opinion? Can people stil differentiate between them? Is it worth your time to read any of it? Many questions.

    7. Darth Skippy says:

      Leftists use verbal judo, and communists steal intellectual property — tares and mimics, not made in the image of God, having no creative force, within them.

      In my self-loathing, blue state, the masochistic, local news is all titillated for a new movie, in which a border state rancher has committed the crime against migrants (oppositewise) so has to become an undocumented alien in Mexico. (So joyously.)

      They like to be conquered and run-over, roughshod. That’s a natural Mudsill Class. Why are they allowed to write history / interpret reality.

      In history, large portions of the globe would have been Balkanized, and some assholish conqueror would have been regarded as a hero for unifying the disparate pieces, which we see falling apart, today, into a new empire.

      The historical Cyrus sent many migrants back home, but Trump (nicknamed, Cyrus) failed to enact deportation policies, in spite of birthright citizenship, like has been done a half dozen times in this country, already.

      Moral equivalence will never arrive at the Solomonic solution, without a unitary executive taking liberties and doing something unfair. Read, reality Czar.