Letter: ‘Alternative facts’ lead to catastrophic consequences

From: Jean Marr Wilkins


Being committed to the truth is always a good idea, especially when it comes to protecting our constitutional freedoms. Hannah Arendt, the author of “The Origins of Totalitarianism,” knew from her own experience as a refugee from Hitler’s Germany that overbearing governments will distort the truth, that is lie, about known facts in order to confuse and control their citizens.

As Arendt wrote: “The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists.” It is up to each of us to do our best to distinguish truth from falsehood, knowing that, while no one is infallible, our moral integrity and our political liberty depend on our constant effort to know what is real and to follow what is good.

We have already learned from history that uncontested “alternative facts” can lead to catastrophic consequences for humanity.