My book review for El Pais.
The death of truth – notes on falsehood in the age of Trump” by Michiko Kakutani is a lucid account of how Western societies are losing their consensus on what is true and what is false – with dramatic consequences for democracy. The book starts from the observation that the postmodernism of Derrida, Foucault and Lacan have rendered facts and truth a matter of perspective. If the measured content of CO2 in the atmosphere depends on the observer, then why not establish different narratives and deny climate change to be human made? The author shows that the American ‘Alt-Right’ has used postmodern arguments to establish false narratives. Europe is not discussed in the book but the statement that “Brexit will be a success” is a similar postmodern narrative against established facts to the contrary. Truth is further undermined by media outlets – funded by billionaires – that promote extreme views. Social media, in turn, is not only promoting fake news but has been used by (Russian) trolls to sow divisions. The central argument of the book: democracy is in acute danger as the consensus on what is true and false is fading. One does not have to agree with all the arguments to take the challenge seriously. A must-read for all that care about democracy.