The landscape around is wavering and the ground we walk on becoming unsteady. Be careful where you tread as irrational thought is winning the day. We are through the looking glass staring at reflections of Trumpisms, half truths and outright lies.
Facts are no longer seen as the surefire way to win any argument. No. The surefire way is now to SHOUT VERY LOUDLY and throw in a few insults just for good measure.
And if a few ‘inconvenient’ truths should get through your defences just dismiss them as ‘fake’ and carry on with your day of claiming that vaccines cause autism, man-made climate change is just a myth and that Brexit will lead to Great Britain becoming a utopia akin to the Fifties where progress was an alien concept and everybody had their proper place.
The stupid now rule the roost in our idiocracy. Skills, experience and intelligence are no longer of merit and are in fact seen as weaknesses. Strength of feeling in the face of contradictory reality is the real king here. Feeling rule over facts. They are a sheild against reality.
And in a Russian troll-farm in Nizhny Novgorod a small man in his forties is smiling as he oversees his underpaid army of pale workers who spend 16 hours a day flooding the western world with hate, rhetoric and falsehoods.
‘Solar panels cause cancer’ is the latest falsehood he is peddling as his army makes sure that this piece of nonsense reaches message boards across the world.
And in Utah, in a small town called Springdale, Margaret Meecham, a mother of six, who is proud of her town and of her ‘values’ finds the false ‘solar panel’ story on a mum’s forum that usually discusses recipes and the intransigence of the local council to fill in potholes in Main Street and she is incensed as her auntie only died of cancer the year before. Without a thought she shares the story to her own timeline and to other forums she is a part of. She didn’t even read the story first but she now feels smug that she had done her duty and warned others of the dangers of solar panels.
And in a small village in Surrey called Oxshott, 35 year old Tracey Faulkner has just come in from walking her Jack Russell called Skippy and starts scrolling through her phone. Her son died of cancer the year before. And her house is less than half a mile from a solar farm. She picks up the phone to her MP quickly followed by a call to her solicitor.
And so the erosion of western values continues unabated. A little here. A little there. As the troll farms dish out a hate bomb here and a fear bomb there.
In this scrolling society we live in, we no longer have time to carry out rudimentary checks on sources. Who has time for that when Sharon from work has just put up some juicy pictures of her girly night out?
There’s no longer any nuance as fear and hate headlines dominate the landscape more and more.
Divisions are created. Huge gulfs between families, friends and neighbours. We no longer trust what the others think. We are no longer in it together but in it apart.
The truth is the quietest voice now. Drowned out in a cacophony of clickbait, a whirlwind of ‘would you look at this’.
Social media has been weaponised as a drip drip of populist propaganda enters our unquestioning brains.
Every issue that there is gets the treatment. Nothing is sacred as it’s all fair game for the troll farm in Nizhny Novgorod. It is an unrelenting machine. Never stopping. Never ending. Like The Terminator but The Terminator of the way we think.
Brexit and Trump have been the populist staging grounds for this into Western minds. They made beach head with Brexit onto our shores and now with Trump they are only inches away from The Eagles Nest.
The ideas and thoughts burrow into our heads like parasites - ‘The Lisbon Treaty means there will be a European Army by 2020’ shouts one such headline. Another suggest Obama has been funding ISIS. Both patently false. Both easy to prove otherwise.
But the populace who feed on these tales of fear and hate don’t want anything to get in between their beloved ‘opinion’. They only want to be proven right. (And actually get quite angry if they are proven otherwise as no-one wants to admit they’ve been taken for a ride - hence ‘I knew exactly what I was voting for’ - urm, no you didn’t. None of us did as it was bloody complicated.
And on the Trump side it was cries of ‘Lock her up, lock her up’ except they couldn’t as she ended up being fully exonerated of any wrongdoing.)
And if a media outlet has the audacity to speak the truth, it is shouted down by those who don’t like that truth as biased and peddling fake news. The term ‘fake news’ was only coined a few years back by the Trump administration as a way of distracting from any stories that put them in a bad light. This was at the same time that the administration came up with the term ‘alternative facts’.
We’ve had the iron age. We’ve had the age of enlightenment. We have now entered the age of the moron.
But meanwhile in a palace a man sits at a mahogany desk and laughs to himself at how easy it has become to shape minds and societies by a little caress here and a little tweak there. No-one knows what his selfish agenda is. Is it more power? Is it more money?
Only he knows. Only he has a clear understanding of what will become of us all once this stirring way of falsity reaches its endgame.
And he just sits there and smiles as he more than anyone else knows the truth.