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Scott Galloway@profgalloway

Published on June 30, 2023

The search for truth is the pursuit of comfort in the face of doubt. Over the past few centuries, the scientific method — and the empirical proof it offers — has increasingly become the world’s go-to for answers. We plant and harvest crops based on meteorology, not astrology; we administer levothyroxine, not leeches.

Statecraft has a mixed relationship with truth, as it offers an alternative form of comfort: acquiescence to authority. In an uncertain world, a strong leader who promises bread, shelter, and reasons why someone else is to blame for our problems has a seductive power. Mass media, beginning with the printing press and speedballing with broadcast media, has made the state’s relationship with truth the biggest arrow in the quiver of both democracies and autocracies. As Sacha Baron Cohen said, democracies are based on shared truths, autocracies on shared lies. But both are shared via media.

Recent events in Russia are troubling — nobody wants chaos in the leadership of a nuclear-armed state — but also heartening: They validate that the world cedes advantage to truth. Regimes based on lies end badly. Joseph Goebbels, the architect of the Nazis’ anti-truth regime, helped Hitler build Germany into a global power, but its dominance was unsustainable. The day after Hitler shot himself, Goebbels murdered all six of his own children and took his own life.

Putin is Goebbels’s heir, the modern master of nihilist propaganda. Rather than institute any specific lie, Putin’s objective is to undermine the notion that there is a truth. He “uses the media to engineer a fog of disinformation, producing just enough distrust to ensure that the public can never mobilize around a coherent narrative,” as Sean Illing wrote in Vox. The approach has proved so effective domestically that he’s exported it to the West, funding advertising and social media campaigns to sow confusion in American and European politics. Steve Bannon brought the strategy to the Trump campaign with the descriptor: “Flood the zone with shit.” The ultimate irony is the U.S. financed and built our adversaries’ weapons of choice: social media. As Ian Bremmer puts it, we used to be the largest exporter of democracy; now we’re the largest exporter of weapons that attack democracies.


Lies are steroids: They’re effective in the short run but carry severe side effects that manifest in unpredictable ways over the medium and long term. Putin is discovering nihilism begets apathy, and a populace that doesn’t care about anything ultimately doesn’t care about its leader. Last week, a trusted thug turned mutineer, seized a Russian city, and drove an armored column halfway to Moscow. Instead of resisting the traitor, Putin’s nominally loyal citizens responded with the same apathy he’s beaten into them. In the U.S., Trump’s disinformation campaign did not win him reelection, and it may land him in federal prison.

Beyond creating apathy, anti-truth as a theory of governing suppresses innovation and economic growth, as neither the market nor the laws of physics respect lies. The founders of Moderna are billionaires; RFK Jr. will go down in history as a stain on his family’s legacy. Where success is a function of proximity to power instead of actual value registered, sycophants triumph over innovators. But ultimately, the country or company fails. The truth also makes for a better business strategy, as it illuminates problems, rendering them more vulnerable to attack.

The Musk zealots posing as advisers enabled the mother of all “let’s buy it so we can break it” moves. Submersibles imploding and $45 billion immolating in an instant are both manifestations of the same techno-narcissism that infects the U.S.: believing you’re above basic principles of citizenship, truth, or physics.


Rule by force of personality requires a combination of charisma and ruthlessness. Those who possess it are not great at sharing, so they often drop the baton. Or hold on too long, which has happened in both Russia and China, where lone leaders have extended their tenure past constitutional limits.

Truth is easier to pass on than narrative. Contested transfers of power don’t go well in anti-truth regimes. There is no referee, no framework that allows the losing side to retire from the field. Political disputes become wars, and autocrats have to jail or kill their opponents. Democracies offer the 2nd-place finisher a position in society — and because they accept the role of dissent, the presence of the loser isn’t an inherent challenge to the prevailing power. The runner-up can become one of the nation’s most respected citizens (e.g., Jimmy Carter). In an autocracy, the best they can hope for is securing safe haven in a foreign country before being executed in their own. Fun fact: After an assassination attempt on an autocrat, a country is 13% more likely to move toward democracy if the attempt is successful.

Elections in autocracies are coronations, testimonies to power, not truth. In 1927, Liberian President Charles King won a third term with 234,000 votes despite there being only 15,000 registered voters in the nation. In 1995, Saddam Hussein won 99.99% of the Iraqi vote. This year, Xi Jinping became China’s first party leader since Mao to achieve a third term in a landslide: 2,952 votes for, zero against.


Autocrats suffer from their anti-truth diet when they begin to believe their own lies. When truth is not valued, flattery and conformity prevail. Putin’s generals told him what he wanted to hear, and he grossly miscalculated the cost/benefit of invading Ukraine. This happens in democracies, too, when truth is sidelined. George W. Bush developed a faith in alternative facts that defined his presidency. His historic blunder in Iraq was based on “intelligence” which should have been badged “belief dressed up as fact.” Common to both regimes was/is the exiling of dissent. Truth can admit doubt, but authority cannot survive it.

The Good News

Over the long term, democracy is steadily beating autocracy. A hundred years ago, for every five autocracies there was one democracy. Today, democracy is the most popular form of governance.

Truth can be hijacked, but it’s difficult to kill — a reason it’s so enduring. You can manipulate, distract, and conceal, but it remains. Ricky Gervais made this point deftly:

If we took any holy book and destroyed it, in a thousand year’s time that wouldn’t come back just as it was. Whereas if we took every science book and destroyed them all, in a thousand years time, they’d all be back.


Despite garnering cultural relevance, lies have not prevailed at the ballot box. In races identified by the Washington Post as “competitive” in 2022, just 10 out of 47 candidates who’d denied the legitimacy of the 2020 election prevailed. And 9 out of 9 election deniers running in state elections for offices with authority over the voting process lost.

Neither party is free of lies. The liar of the month, RFK Jr., has established the illusion of domain expertise by repeating lies, with confidence, including how vaccines cause autism and U.S.-issued remdesivir treatments were designed to kill Ebola patients. But the truth will prevail. The American people will recognize that all peer-reviewed research confirms vaccines do not cause autism, and that Ebola killed remdesivir recipients, not remdesivir. Kennedy is polling at 14%, but that’s another way of saying he’s 50 points behind the frontrunner … who the majority of his party believe shouldn’t run again. Side note: The trolls demanding that real scientists debate RFK Jr. miss a couple key points. That debate has already happened, in labs, trials, and billions of injections. And, yes, the dissenter’s voice is important. In the case of vaccines, that voice was the control group … and it was nullified — billions of times. 

Another side note: Last week, in Cannes, I had dinner with the CEO and co-President of Spotify. They are impressive men, and I love Spotify’s service. But it’s also becoming a platform to rival Meta’s spread of misinformation when it fails to fact-check owned content it distributes to tens of millions of young men.

Are You There?

I have written about my insecurities as a teen and young man. It wasn’t that I didn’t like what I saw in the mirror, but that I wasn’t there … I was invisible. My translucence was a function of trying to shape a narrative and person around what I thought others would be most impressed by or wanted to hear. This artificial soul had a difficult time developing into physical form that could be present and counted on. I believe part of becoming a man is presenting yourself, in your situation, in your most authentic form … risking upset or worse, indifference. And that’s the question. When we look in the mirror, before judging the image, we should ask ourselves: Am I here? Is this really … me?

Life is so rich,

P.S. This week on the Prof G Pod, I spoke with Matt Klein, founder of The Overshoot. We discussed demographics and why a recession isn’t imminent — listen here.

P.P.S. Want to form better relationships with the people you work with? Pick up Michael Bungay Stanier’s new book How to Work with (Almost) Anyone — it’ll change the way you work.



  1. ND says:

    I always enjoy your articles/ essays. However, unlike you, I have listened to hours of rfk jnr. I think he is immensely brave, like his uncle and father, who took on the big battles of the day – military industrial complex, civil rights,… rfk jnr is questioning big US corporations and their collusion with government agencies. His vacine stance for example is far from a trenchant anti position, as you suggest, but a willingness to debate the issue in a public forum, which no one from the pharma companies or ivy league universities are willing to undergo. Mainstream media, left and right leaning, derive 75% of their ad revenues from big pharma. Characterising someone who threatens their joint futures as a conspiracy looney is a cheap win. I expect more from you.

  2. dave says:

    Another good post, Scott. I just wish you didn’t always feel the need to bring it back to a discussion, or snip-it about you. Your insecurities are well documented – and constantly on display. You’re a smart guy, you’ve done really well, and – yes – you are respected by many. But you’re constantly humble-bragging and it’s just not sexy!

    That out of the way, you are right. Truth always prevails – at least – enough. One thing that innovation has managed to bring us is an increasingly powerful ability to fog the truth in “data.” One of Trump’s (and the rest of the GOP’s) strategies is to fog the truth by continuously repeating lies. Trump is a typical business leader in that he believes that if you say it enough times, it has to be true. The company has never performed better. We’ve created more goodwill in the world than any president ever. We’ve done more for the black community than any administration in history.
    But the facts and the data are out there. And you can find them. The problem is the average Joe does not have the time, faculty, energy, or will to seek them out. They rely on their news outlet, and they approach every story with a POV that heavily biases their output, and satisfies advertisers, so that the corners and edges of the truth are really sanded down before anyone has a chance to consume them.

  3. Brian says:

    I enjoy these essays. I must add though that I can no longer listen to Pivot. The name dropping and overall tone of self satisfaction and self back-slapping – more obvious in your partner – has made it a chore to sit through, even know I know good stuff is there.

  4. SomePerverted, NotionOfLiberty says:

    “Putin is clearly losing the war in Iraq” – Biden
    “President Biden will go down as one of the great presidents” – Scott Galloway

  5. Pierre Rasputin says:

    As with all branding, the message is unique to the product. So, while you castigate Putin you love “The Kingdom”, the new brand name for a collection of rich and vicious men in the middle east that just so happen to sit on top of oil. Spare me the list of crimes of Putin if you do not also have the guts to speak of the subjugation of the nations in the middle east. I know the lifestyle of the rich is very alluring, and I hope you enjoy all the tickets to football games. Just don’t pretend.

  6. John Mishasek says:

    Instead of bar graph to show # of countries with true democratic election process occurring how about pie chart showing percentage of world population with true democratic process versus what happens in China, Russia, etc. and do over time to show trend. To me, bar graph skews overall presentation of data.

  7. Ahmed E says:

    Great article. Not that it matters to your point but Ricky Gervais (who I love as a comedian) was a little wrong about the whole holy book in a thousand years thing. The Islamic holy book, the Quran, is meant to be memorized. There are literally millions of practicing muslims who have memorized it (they are called “Hafiz” meaning one who memorizes). Thus, if you demolished every Quran, it would take only a few hours to re-create. I don’t write this to be some holy warrior or to criticize your atheism in any way. Only to point out, that this quote, while smart and thought proving, seems to neglect that about 1.5 Billion people walking this earth. Love your newsletters. Ahmed

  8. R Purdie says:

    Having read many of your posts, this is the best one liner yet:
    “I believe part of becoming a man is presenting yourself, in your situation, in your most authentic form … risking upset or worse, indifference. ”
    I have two sons in their twenties and this sums up a lot of my advice to them, be genuine, own your shit, you dont have to please everyone all the time, etc

  9. Judy Rose says:

    You say Kennedy is a stain, for exposing corporatocracy in pharmaceutical development and testing. Then you don’t remember his uncle and father, they would call him brave.

  10. RR says:

    I would like to believe that everything you said indicates that truth will ultimately prevail. But I am admittedly disillusioned by everything that is happening today in the USA and the world. It seems like those in “power” have one primary goal – to do whatever is necessary to stay in power. And the same can be said of the very rich. And I believe that the masses contribute to this by an unwillingness to seek out facts, enhance their knowledge and actually “think” for themselves, rather than lazily and casually adopt the opinions of others.

  11. lou david says:

    my issue with SG a lot of the time is that he has “his” truth. Never much about the vaulted left being biased or just wrong! When Rachel Madow (etc.) goes on her show and says with the biggest $hit eating grin, “if get the vaccine and booster, not only won’t you get it, but you cannot give it to anyone else!” This was NEVER the case, and never any retraction or so sorry for spearing a gigantic LIE! SG cannot come to grips with the fact that the progressive left is the other side of the same coin of the alt right!

  12. neutra says:

    Interesting difference between Goebbels and Putin-Bannon. Goebbels told consistent-choherent lies and drove the German lemmings over the cliff. Purtin-Bannon fill the airways with confusing shit to engender apathy in their opponents. The Fascist theorists disdained reason and thought that myth and surrendering to and celebrating violent instincts in politics ( but not in weapons developement?) was a more noble and better way to go. You are right I think, that mythic thinking in politics bleeds over to other domains as well

  13. Ben says:

    Typically love Prof G but had to turn this episode off and has me questioning future episodes.

    If you don’t like RFK Jr that’s fine, but attemping to manipulate others opinions by calling yours THE truth. That’s just as dangerous.

    • Elle says:

      Well said, Ben. It’s been surreal and quite bizarre watching the left slide into authoritarianism and censorship. How quickly we forget that during the pandemic so many things the orthodoxy said are absolute truth, that science has irrevocably proven, turned out to be totally wrong. And the “mis-information” (aka information we don’t like) was censored — much of which has since turned out to be true. It seems the only people really interested in the truth are the one’s being labeled and censored.

      • Steve says:

        ^^^💯….c’mon Scott, you’re better than this…love you, but your ideological bias keeps you from being great. You’re just average to be honest.

    • Shalina Rankin says:

      Totally agree with your comment Ben. RFK Jr. will go down in history as a fearless truth teller, and a gift to this country. Prof G, clearly has a blind spot when it comes to him and I encourage everyone to look into RFK Jr.’s legal track record that alone should be enough for people to give him the respect he deserves. History will vindicate his stance.

  14. Jeff Carmichael says:

    Sorry, but Scott lost me in the first sentence. I follow Scott Golloway for a reason – his writings are generally well-reasoned, humane, equitable and wise suggestions and situational assessments.

    However, this one is so far off such that the rest of this piece is irrelevant. “The search for truth is the pursuit of comfort in the face of doubt.” Said which wise man??

    In the words of Jeddu Krishnamurti, “Truth is a pathless land”. I won’t go into a discussion of the meaning here, suffice it to say that the two statements are as different as wisdom and folly. Even if one entirely rejects the insights of Krishnamurti, to say that truth is the “pursuit” of anything, especially something like “comfort” is to misunderstand the essence of truth.

    Seeking comfort is generally what leads to the perversion or outright usurping of truth. What does truth have to do with comfort???? This is not semantics, but a deep misunderstanding of any concept of truth.

    • Pritchard says:

      Pursuing comfort and being comfortable are very different. Many people pursuing comfort are miserable. Maybe “enlightenment” is a better word – as difficult a concept as that may be.

    • Will C says:

      100% Jeff. The scientific method is based upon skepticism – the opposite of comfort. It is religion where people find comfort. Scott praises science for its empirical value and then pivots to Ricky Gervais’ quote about our science books of today being true 1000 years from now. Really? Scott should look in a 1950’s biology book for “DNA”. And we can tell all of our current physics researchers to relax Newton, er, I mean Einstein, got it right. lol…..Scott has found comfort in the “truth” of science because it has become his religion. He has faith in “science” instead of the scientific method. Something a true scientist would never do. Unfortunately, when you get comfortable, you tend to close you mind to dissident thoughts.

  15. Frederick Peachman says:

    I’m reading RFK Jr’s “The Real Dr Fauci” right now. I find it quite credible.

  16. PJ Olsen says:

    Prof G (Scott),
    Never stop never give in Never surrender….
    When you speak truth to power, the masses shout Hoorah!
    It is a rare gift you have to take a simple sentence and have it cover Both – The Macro and The Micro(levels) simultaneously.
    You Rock The Planet, Mister!

    The truth … Is good enough.

    Carry On Sir,

    PJ of the Green RAY

  17. Naomi says:

    Why doesn’t Biden select another VP ?
    The only fear of Bidens win in 2024 is the possibility that Kamala Harris could of become president .,
    How about you for VP ?
    I don’t believe trump will Win

  18. Gary says:

    This post is awesome. I have read it three times and get something new every time. Thank you so very much for your contributions to helping our democracy/society get back on course.

  19. Gary Shaw says:


    Great piece. You are one of my favorite liberal thought leaders, but I was disappointed that you made it all the way through with this one never mentioning the alternative facts (“spin”) regularly being uttered by our current President.



  20. Mark Speciale says:

    Exactly what rational people need to hear, presented in a clearly organized and well articulated, easily digestible format. Thank you.

  21. Leonard Steinberg says:

    Brilliant commentary as always. It amazes me how the majority of well informed, sane, rational, balanced, practical people don’t speak up more often and more loudly. Their voices are being drowned by extremists and the scandal-for-profit headline makers.

  22. Rohit says:

    Thought provoking…

  23. Nancy says:

    As the mother of two boys (now men) your last paragraph resonates with me. This is similar to what I always advised them to do. Be authentic. Just wondering why you don’t think this applies to girls/women as well.

  24. John Crane says:

    HI, Professor, usually a big fan….apologies but cannot get behind your latest. For a person of your obvious intellect and experience to ignore the mountains of data proving that (to quote Dr. Makary from his testimony to Congress) the biggest source of disinformation during the pandemic was the US government…..and of course those highly independent people at NIAID, FDA, CDC. Dramatic increases globally in neurological problems, cardia injuries, sudden strokes, miscarriage, premature births….the list goes on. This was the most massive and cynical money grab in history and the media were complicit through collaboration (coercion?) with US govt; who by the way had FB et al illegally censor and ban voices of dissent (again, proven by emails….thank you Mr. Musk). Professor, selectively disregarding facts and truth when writing about truth tends to make one’s arguments far less compelling.

  25. Kent Buckles says:

    RFK, Jr is a kook. But please don’t tell me about the sanctity of science. Do you still believe the Wuhan lab coverup?

    • Sharon says:

      If there has been a cover up regarding the Wuhan lab, that does not implicate science.

  26. Town says:

    RFK junior will stain his family’s legacy? Are you nuts? Have you ever listen to Robert Kennedy speak?

  27. Larry says:

    Working in sales throughout my life, I have often been asked to lie about the product I was selling for many different reasons. Mostly because it was helpful to work outside the truth if you were interested in profit. To think that the truth works hand in hand to the benefit of the ‘market’ as we laughably call it, is the most damning sort of bad faith. The market thrives on mendacity.

  28. Julian says:

    Putin is no hero but Ukraine sure is a dictatorship. Zelensky has banned opposition political parties
    He arrested political opponents. He banned all unfriendly media. He shut down Orthodox churches.
    And now there will be no Presidential election next year

    At what point we call him what he is? A dictator!

  29. brian says:

    Great article and love Scott’s insight. I would like to hear some truth about the current administration and find it interesting that there was no critical evaluation of Hilary, Biden, the FBI, or DOJ. i.e. the border is not open we just have 7 million new residents. If you want to remain relevant then do your best to expose all not just a partial point of view. I can’t imagine Scott’s point of view is that none of them have lied to get the desired outcome.

  30. Mark David says:

    Excellent thoughtful constructive article. I have only one comment to add. Bad things happen when good people do nothing.

  31. allan kass says:

    I enjoy reading Scott’s weekly missive but he, “it’s just his well articulated sometimes snarky opinion.” So I take it for what it’s worth…about 5 minute s of my time.

  32. james mcglynn says:

    Comparing Putin to Hitler don’t forget to mention that the Wagner group was named in honor of Wagner -Hitler’s favorite composer. Can’t make this stuff up.

  33. Stuart Whitfield says:

    Hi Scott, as a father of twin 22-year old boys I found your last paragraph poignant. I’m trying to help them navigate that very concept – who are you, really? It’s not helped by the fact that, at 59, it’s a question I’ve not yet managed to answer satisfactorily!
    Anyway, as we say in the U.K., cheers mate.

  34. Joel says:

    For anyone who is so quick to label RFK as “crazy”, “anti-vax”, or “science denier” — have you ever actually listened to him talk or are you just repeating what others have told you to believe about him? Whatever happened to liberals being open minded and questioning authority? Here are some questions we should be asking:

    Do you think mass media are incentivized to report the truth when 75% of their ad revenue comes from big Pharma? Do you think regulatory bodies are going to truthfully evaluate these medical products when a significant amount of their funding (and staff) come from those they are supposed to regulate? Is it possible that scientific studies funded by big Pharma could be biased? Have companies ever used science to provide false evidence of safety of their products (ex. Big Tobacco). Have Pharma companies ever knowingly sold products that were harmful (ex. J&J asbestos in baby powder, or the opioid epidemic). Do publicly traded mega corps really care about anything other than profit at any cost?

    Have scientists ever been wrong? The answer of course, is yes. It happens all the time. Everyone is quite tired of the arrogance, dogma and censorship. Just stop it already.

    • Joel says:

      RFK was an environmental layer who has accomplished REAL GOOD with his life. He cleaned up the polluted Hudson River. He sued evil corp Monsanto. He has litigated hundreds of cases that require the ability to digest and thoroughly understand scientific studies. His live recall of scientific studies is incredibly impressive.

      Here’s the real truth. RFK is a good person with honorable intentions. RFK is also curious. He may be wrong in some areas, but he is raising many valid questions that warrant debate and discussion. He’s simply saying… “Hey this looks odd, here’s something we should look at. Here’s some conclusions I’ve drawn. Please, tell me where I’m wrong.”

      And because of this, he’s become a real threat to entrenched power structures and corporate capture of government. That’s why he has been censored for 18 years. That’s why media is either ignoring him, name calling, or censoring him—but dares not have an open discussion with him.

      The fact that powerful people don’t want you to hear what he has to say, is a good sign that he has something worth saying.

      So maybe take a break from all the judging, name calling and censoring. Listen to a few of his talks. Then make up your own mind.

    • Town says:

      I think you’ve just taken our host to the woodshed! Hopefully you’ve taught not to take mainstream media seriously or repeat what he hears.

  35. BILL WILSON says:

    Very well thought commentary Scott – thank you for the cogent narration. By the way, your description of a high school kid trying to conform to the myriad peer pressures- subtle and overt – put into words my experience perfectly.

  36. Jim Spikes says:

    You can’t use reason to convince anyone out of an argument that they didn’t use reason to get into – Neil DeGrasse Tyson

  37. Sheila Hayman says:

    Or, as Mark Twain said, ‘If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything’. God love him.

  38. Luke says:

    Unfortunately authoritarian and hybrid regimes are still in the majority, both in terms of #countries and #population

  39. Jeffrey L Minch says:

    As to Putin, he was always the evil empire builder he now is revealed to be. He was a third rate, low level KGB toady in Germany (the big postings are London, Switzerland, and the US). In the KGB if they don’t send you to learn English, you are a third stringer forever.

    What Putin did with flare was to rob the broken former Soviet Russia of its state owned businesses and distribute them to wannabe oligarchs who then kicked back 15% to Putin.

    Putin built an incredible base by handing out the state industries and then grew the Russian GDP gigantically while killing his enemies and waging a series of brutal wars against his foreign policy irritants.

    Russia’s economy is 25% smaller than Italy, but it punches above its weight class because of energy. [And nuclear weapons.]

    The challenge w/ tyrants is they can deliver on something of value (Mussolini made the trains run on time and Hitler drew Germany out of a depression) while still being complete bastards. Putin is better on the messaging than any other tyrant in the history of tyrants.

    The good news here is that Russia wants what the West has and Putin (70 years old) will eventually disappear — likely not by natural means.

    This is a monumental opportunity for the world to eliminate a despotic nuclear power and turn back the clock.

  40. C Cook says:

    Truth dies in the darkness. Censorship is how you turn the lights off.
    Lately, that has been the censorship by mainstream media and ACADEMIA of RFK, Jr. I don’t agree with much of what he says, but he has the right to say it. He IS correct about the lack of transparency around COVID vaccines. We see proof of the Government lies now that it is clear how the virus was created and how it spread. Agree or disagree, he has touched a vain and is now closing in on Biden in the polls. Picked a topic, exposed chinks in the Washington DC DNC/Left armor and attacked it. Sounds like the TV Reality Show host that the media could not take seriously until they had to.
    I cannot feel sorry for the academic and political left. Their arrogance is backfiring. This week, it is rulings from the Supreme Court against racism in admission standards. And, not forcing working people who didn’t go to college, or who provided for it themselves to pay for deadbeats.
    Those are POPULAR stands, as were many from Bernie, Trump and now from RFK. Like them or not, trying to censor such things ALWAYS backfires. Look at how DNC dissed Bernie in 2020. Google the Streisand Effect’ for another real world example.

  41. Phillip says:

    Am I here? Is this me? As I shave in the shower and look in the shower mirror EVERYDAY even now at 79 1/2 the same question.

  42. Bill says:

    “ I love Spotify’s service. But it’s also becoming a platform to rival Meta’s spread of misinformation when it fails to fact-check owned content”

    This is a deeply silly and obsolete comment in light of events of the last four years. “Fact checking” is inherently subjective, and fact checkers get stuff wrong too. The nations 4th largest news paper was banned from Twitter for 10 days for posting a true story. Dozens of doctors were banned for claiming that the Covid vaccines did not prevent spread, which the CDC now concedes. Others were banned from Twitter and YouTube for discussing the Covid lab leak theory, which multiple intelligence agencies now consider “most likely” (other agencies disagree; the point is it’s unsettled, not “misinformation”).

    And countless journalists, in their haste to slam Matt Taibbi for even engaging on the “Twitter Files”, have overlooked his absolutely stunning and well-documented revelation that the US government – thousands of times – attempted to silence posters on Twitter (to their credit, Twitter pushed back most of the time).

    Even RFK Junior’s idiotic claim comes with a valid concern about vaccine liability and poor surveillance & recordkeeping of vaccine injuries (rare but real). That has actually fueled conspiracy theories, so we should all want to see it fixed.

    • james mcglynn says:

      I vaguely remember Prof G boycotting Spotify because Joe Rogan was still there but recently Prof G is back on Spotify. Did I miss something??

  43. Cass Bielski says:

    Excellent once again.

  44. Kieran K says:

    Good post this week. And it appears from some early comments, we still have truth-deniers out there, proving the point that Trump & Co’s lies have been effective…but, hopefully truth will win the day, long term.

    • Joel says:

      Truth will win the day once we stop censoring people and learn to have curious and open conversations again.

  45. Rob Akscyn says:

    People wishing for more debate are not all trolls. If you don’t have the courage to debate someone you disagree with, especially in the context of free wide-spread audience with whom to connect with your arguments — you’re a coward. In my case, I strongly disagree with RFK Jr and would be happy to debate him anytime.

  46. Jamie Hunt says:

    “If we took any holy book and destroyed it, in a thousand year’s time that wouldn’t come back just as it was. Whereas if we took every science book and destroyed them all, in a thousand years time, they’d all be back.”

    Gervais is a funny guy, but way outside his depth here. Western science was built on the Jewish/Christian concept of an ordered and knowable universe created by a God who viewed his creation as “good” — which is to say, worth knowing. Take away this God and science will become increasingly directed to perverse and evil ends. As it was with Goebbels and his boss.

    At any rate, the Bible was written, copied and recopied with remarkable fidelity by hundreds of thousands of people over thousands of generations, so the idea that it can be destroyed is just silly.

    • Karl Hungus says:

      Gervais’ point is that the “Holy Books” are all fanciful fabrications of human imagination and IF their contents ceased to be available, no one could or would re-imagine such fantasy in identical fashion. Science is built upon observable empirical evidence, and therefore similar truths will always ultimately emerge from an honest scientific investigation.

    • Karl Hungus says:

      The notion that in the absence of “God” science will drift toward evil ends is absolutely absurd. I guess we better lock up all the atheist scientists since they clearly are amoral due to not listening to God’s instructions on what is “good”.

    • Sheila Hayman says:

      Indeed. And writing as a woman, and therefore one of the 50% of the population whose concerns, biology, health, ways of thinking and creativity have been ignored by ‘science’ throughout time – and having been force-fed Thomas Kuhn, Paul Feyerabend and the other structuralists and post-structuralists at Cambridge – I know, as Ricky doesn’t seem to, that science depends on a set of agreed paradigms of ‘truth’ that shift and evolve over time. Of course, replicability, testability and falsifiability are real, but where the attention goes, which ‘truths’ are investigated and which contradictory truths ignored, is as subjective now as it has ever been.

    • Roland Morgan says:

      Truth has many facets, including three primary forms: true, false, and gray. Unfortunately, many leaders in the USA, both political and corporate, manipulate the gray truth for personal gain. As Scott noted, “Exiling in dissent. Truth can admit doubt.” Doubt poses a significant challenge for democracies. Authoritarian governments and U.S. Republicans base their entire political platform on spreading doubt and provoking fear, creating an unstable landscape that impedes progress on pressing issues such as homelessness, climate change, and economic equality.

      I believe that the GOP noise makers must stop their lies and propaganda, step aside, and let true leaders and their followers get the real work done before they bring us all down. We need to make something great happen by coming together, acknowledging the different true and false that exist, and finding a common ground that moves us forward. It’s time for a change, and it’s time to prioritize progress over personal gain.

  47. Notquite says:

    It’s a sandwich with some good meat, but the bread is DNC certified MSM brand narrative. There’s a cognitive dissonance there that can only survive in a bubble. Let’s call that bubble New York City.

    Something interesting is happening though. Whether or not you agree with the bugaboos in this mail, at least they get a voice, which is better than 10 years ago. That’s thanks to Spotify as it is. The vaccine industry isn’t coming out of this intact – it’s going to have to get a lot more transparent if it wants adoption. Opinions may differ but I think that’s a triumph of truth. Who thought up this whole secret court immunity crap anyway? It’s totally incompatible with our American system of business and law.

    Like I said, there’s some meat in this mail, but the cognitive dissonance prevents the holder from seeing it. On the heals of watching “Asteroid City” this is timely. Same story arch, different characters. You can’t wake up if you don’t fall asleep.

  48. Gary Naifeh says:

    It’s telling that when you refer to non-truth parallels in the U.S, you use Republican presidential examples. Are you suggesting that Democratic presidents don’t lie?

  49. Michael says:

    This essay confirms: Truth is the opinion of the powerful.

  50. Stephen Morisseau says:

    Is there an incorrect word here (‘less’ rather than ‘morre’ before ‘vulnerable’), or do I misunderstand the point? – ‘ The truth also makes for a better business strategy, as it illuminates problems, rendering them more vulnerable to attack.’

  51. Mike says:

    For a self-proclaimed smart guy, you sir, have been completely bamboozled.

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