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Truth is important. We should never distort it. Nobody should ever distort it.

^^ That 3rd sentence is really fun! Most people will agree that it's a cute little goal, but then launch into a lecture about how it's incompatible with the world we live in. Specifically, we all tend to hold this set of beliefs:

  • We, personally, are mature enough to handle the truth.
  • The unwashed masses, however, are not mature enough to handle the truth.
  • Therefore, governments & leaders of all kinds must distort the truth just a wee bit, to manage the population.
  • Obviously, advertisers distort the truth, but that’s just part of the game.
  • It’s just how the world works, no big deal — We're actually smart enough to see through it, so we can still deduce the underlying reality based on these sugar-coated statements, and it’s a useful skill, good for us.

My main observation here is that I have yet to meet an individual who is part of this supposed majority that can’t, in-fact, handle the truth. Anyways, it’s a slippery-slope to start diluting the truth with nonsense, and there are several flavors of this problem that are apparently getting worse:

  • The internet is less useful. It’s full of SEO-optimized, native-advertising trash.
  • We always assume that politicians are lying.
  • Companies greatly exaggerate the nature & importance of their work, both internally & externally.

In each of these examples, there is a clear incentive for the truth-distortion. I have the intuitive sense that, as a society, we’ve passed some tipping-point where these lies aren't simply icing on the cake that will propel your agenda slightly further — it’s now table-stakes. People assume you’re stupid if you just tell the truth — as if you’re not grasping “the game” around you.

I refuse to play this game. You should too.

You have to describe the country in terms of what you passionately hope it will become, as well as in terms of what you know it to be now. You have to be loyal to a dream country rather than to the one to which you wake up every morning. Unless such loyalty exists, the ideal has no chance of becoming actual.