Truth After Trump
Donald Trump is more dangerous than a mere liar because he found a way to exploit the economic doppelganger of science. Behind every government policy that affects us lurks some economic hypothesis whose authority is bolstered by a peer review process that the naked eye can mistake for the scientific process.
ATHENS – Former US President Donald Trump’s opponents call him a liar. But Trump is far worse than a liar. Many politicians lie to cover up inconvenient truths. But Trump can punctuate long sequences of eye-watering mendacity with verities that no other president would ever admit to, from dismissing the dominant view of globalization as unambiguously beneficial to acknowledging that, yes, he tried to defund the United States Postal Service to make it harder for Democrats to vote.
Scientists have good reason to celebrate Trump’s departure, judging by their evident relief that they can now present epidemiological data from the White House podium without fear of retribution. But to determine whether we can expect an across-the-board truth revival under President Joe Biden, we need to recall how our societies discern truth in the first place.
Liberals love the market analogy. Like gadgets, opinions are floated in the great marketplace of ideas, where a decentralized process, involving consumers and producers of views and news, evaluates them. True opinions outcompete the false.