One might permissibly define “society” as a voluntary entity in which people live together in company and companionship as a community, as opposed to living in isolation.
It would seem to be an elementary observation that no society can be established, or function, absent some degree of mutual understanding and consensus regarding the basic facts underpinning their existence. Differences regarding temporal matters are certainly acceptable, even encouraged as beneficial to society, but it is vital that the members of a society enjoy a basic shared recognition of the “given” in the geometric theorem of their common existence.
An accepted history, a language, an arithmetic system, ethical code and shared folkways, are among the existential requirements for communal living. Absent a shared acceptance of the commonality of human existence (past and present), one’s life, if survival were possible, would be solitary, insular and ignorant.
There is, inarguably, a universal, tacit acknowledgement of the observable elements constituting our natural phenomena. It is no longer open to dispute that the Earth is in orbit around the Sun, that the law of gravity is immutable, that the seasons change (for most of us) and have their signature features, that uncontrolled fire is destructive and dangerous and that all living things suffer their respective mortality. In this category of truthful facts, the only required investigatory mechanism is observation.
With respect to subject matter and events outside of our personal experience, a trusting reliance upon recognized sources of accurate information, such as encyclopedias, authoritative texts and other like sources, accessible for consultation, is essential. Knowledgeable consultants and specialists may also be resourced, when needed. Without a universal trust in such sources of accepted factual truth and accuracy, mankind would be doomed, metaphorically, to be lost at sea and rudderless.
America has (admirably) overcome a great many serious challenges and has nonetheless continued to evolve as an avatar of enlightened, moral and just society. It has outlawed slavery, and legally recognized the rights of all citizens, regardless of sex, sexual orientation, color or ethnicity, it has survived two world wars and other armed conflicts, economic depression, the McCarthy era, epidemics and natural as well as man-made disasters. It has successfully overcome virtually all manner of catastrophe yet has always emerged strengthened, because Americans have historically pulled together in common cause, and with a universal recognition and agreement as to factual reality.
However, we have recently been confronted with a truly existential threat to the existence of our Republican Democracy, one never previously experienced nor anticipated. This devastating threat, arguably, exceeds in resultant damage, physical and spiritual, the total sum of all horrific acts of terrorism practiced by our enemies. It a life-threatening disease, hosted by the previous election results, and has infected our body politic, and is rapidly metastasizing. The newly installed Administration has not only engaged in a consistent policy of recognizable mendacity, but has been the creative author of a new concept, “fake news,” among other activities, as a policy employed by it as a defensive and defamatory response when justly confronted by criticism from our historically reliable media.
There may be no worse institutional crime than an irresponsible and unprincipled attack on truth, the effect of which effectively constitutes an assault on (any) society’s rational gyroscope. It is particularly incredible when attributable to an American government, historically dedicated to the principles of verity and justice. From the sociological standpoint, concerning the progressive march of human development, it is an evil, retrogressive and a toxic threat to the basic support structure of human society.
We are left only with the necessary protective recommendation that the citizen be acutely aware of this base and unprecedented attack upon the very existence and moral stature of truth, and when appropriate, to trust solely to the value of his own personal inquiry and confident judgment.