It seems as though we live in a post-truth era, as if there is a smorgasbord of truth where you get to pick the one that suits your sensibility.
This idea probably always existed on the fringes of society, but it took the internet to provide the global scaffolding that really allowed it to become mainstream.
To recognize this catastrophe is to realize the limits of free speech. Or at least it seems that way to me. Back in the days of print media, there was no confusing The New York Times at the newsstand with the National Enquirer at the checkout line of your grocery store.
No one saw the headline “Bigfoot Keeps Lumberjack as Love Slave” and actually believed it – and if they did, they kept it to themselves. There was no pretense that this was “the truth.”
But those days are long gone – now, any idea, no matter how outrageous or ignorant or hateful will have a cult of thousands of very loud people enthusiastically posting about it on the internet.
Harmless, you say?
Not when it affects public health.