Once upon a time, political debate would hinge on the interpretation of facts. Give unemployment is x%, how do you interpret that fact and what should we do about it? Though political debate was still bitter in those days, they seem halcyon compared to the present day when no one seems able to agree on what the facts actually are. The narratives and counter-narratives are not simply about interpretation anymore, but about reality itself. Voices willing to make up facts on the spot are so bold that they do not even hesitate to repeat unreality even if challenged. (Here is one example from the essay linked below: “Trump proclaims at one rally that his tariffs have prompted U.S. Steel to open seven new plants, and after fact-checkers point out the actual number is zero, he ups the number to eight or nine at his next rally.”)

Even the media itself, once the ‘source’ of the facts that grounded political debate in the US, is accused of doing the very same. If in times past there was a hunger to hear the word of the Lord (Amos 8:11), now it seems we hunger just to know what is real and what is not. Of course, the two hungers are related; if we reject the word of the Lord, which is Truth, it is inevitable that our ability to recognize reality will be substantially impaired.

Here is an essay to read in this regard: Click Here.

Our Readers’ Puzzle concerns this breakdown in communication and the future of our polity. If it is now impossible to agree on facts, is democracy rendered impossible? Does it reduce to who has the largest bullhorn, who is usually the one with the most financial resources? How can members of the Restored Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints navigate this new, groundless polity?

Full Citation for this Article: Editorial Board, SquareTwo Journal (2018) "Readers' Puzzle Fall 2018, Communication and Democracy," SquareTwo, Vol. 11 No. 3 (Fall 2018), http://squaretwo.org/Sq2ArticleReadersPuzzleFall2018.html, accessed <give access date>.

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