Truth needs no propaganda

Truth and falsehood

“Every violation of truth is not only a sort of suicide in the liar, but is a stab at the health of human society,” wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson in “Prudence,” Essays: First Series (1841).

I imagine Emerson quietly applauding Fiona Hill boldly calling out the false narrative that stabs at the health of democracy in her testimony before the U.S. House Intelligence Committee’s Trump impeachment inquiry.

U.S. National Intelligence expert on Russia begs U.S. House Intelligence Committee members to stop spreading the Russian intelligence false narrative about Ukrainian interference in the 2016 U.S. election.


“The great masses of people . . . will more easily fall victim to a big lie than to a small one.”

Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf (1924), 1.10.


“Political language . . . is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to the wind.”

George Orwell, “Politics and the English Language,” Shooting the Elephant (1950).


“Man can certainly keep on lying (and does so), but he cannot make truth falsehood.”

Karl Barth quoted in The New York Times obituary, December 11, 1968.


If there has always been propaganda in some form, from the time of the modest newspapers of the seventeenth century it has developed with a new speed and to a new degree, as new and more effective instruments have been found and brought into use. One should note that the truth needs no propaganda and does not engage in it. As the truth, it simply speaks for itself and opposes falsehood. Propaganda is a sure sign that what is at issue is not the truth but an ideology which needs it, to whose nature it corresponds, and which is not ashamed to make use of it.

Karl Barth, “The Lordless Powers,” The Christian Life, translated by Geoffrey W. Bromley, p.227.

Propaganda and National Security

Continued promotion of a self-serving false narrative under the guise of patriotic concern for national security puts American national security at risk.

A subsequent Views from the Edge commentary will explore what Karl Barth‘s “lordless powers” and Christian scripture calls “principalities and powers.”

  • Gordon C. Stewart, November 23, Chaska, MN, Nov. 23, 2019.

4 thoughts on “Truth needs no propaganda

  1. A difficulty today is young people surrounded by disinformation from a variety of sources, the inundation of information, and a moving away from the simple concept of thinking for themselves. Moving away from our true history and traditions, the simplicity of understanding. In my youth, playing outside, digging under rocks, watching only 4 channels, doing arts and crafts, we knew very little intellectually. This is in some ways a blessing. For with time, I had to think for myself, realize for myself, and even then, it’s not perfect. But not being subject to all the sources vying to propagandize, though with time, I realized it was there.
    I think playing, finding some jobs where I worked with my hands, and being around people with no ulterior motives (for the most part), not doing much on computers, gave time to “see” things from real perspectives. The difficulty is attempting to share this with others who haven’t had the time to be in the country, work with their hands, go camping and fishing, and argue on the playgrounds without all the mass information. Of course, spending more time at home, learning through simplicity and chores, siblings playing with each other in games and working on crafts together, with time, allows their real selves to come forward provided quality parenting in simplicity is provided. Providing quality lessons regarding history, reading historical figures own words, and having quality discussions help both the parents and their children.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is why they hated Socrates. He was seeking “truth”, whatever that is. An oracle told him he was the wisest, and realizing he knew nothing, he looked for others who were smarter, then when he found them, realized they weren’t as smart as they thought they were, showing them their errors. But he encouraged them, through this, to think for themselves.
    The thing is, they were living in fear and pride. Without realizing it, they felt a need to protect their pride and sense of self in the eyes of others. These people needed to be seen in a certain way, and so needed to deceive others to see them in this way. So, Socrates comes along and they discover they can’t be this way around him, but more so, the young ones are realizing the game. Take this to the nth degree and forces in power need to continue the game, for whatever reason that’s personal to them.
    That’s what we have in the world. Everyone insecure, trying to find their place, but not putting truth and honesty first. Because they think reality will not get them what they want. Or what they think they want.

    Liked by 1 person

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