To be honest, telling the truth has not always been one of my favorite activities. I have made some outlandish mistakes and of course people laughed at me. I’m older now and experience has shown me how my actions affect the world and the people around me. Being clear about what is true and what is fabrication has lasting impact on important things in the world. The truth has become a topic with gravity.
The trend of fake news, dishonesty in politics, and plain old lies has reached a high water mark and become to appear the new norm. The stakes are so high that ignoring this problem will have grave consequences for ourselves, our children’s children and all the remaining forms of life on the Earth. The way to respond to this threat is outlined in the Pro-Truth Pledge.
As thinking humans we have the ability and the power to unmask all the falsehoods we are experiencing. Because these thing are already studied by social scientists it is on us to choose. Will we do our part to reverse the trend of falsehood or continue to live the lies which are handed down to us? The Scientific American blog ‘How to Fight “Alternative Facts” in Politics’ describes how to oppose the lies and deception.
The Pro-Truth Pledge is not so scary, it reminds us to check our behavior and those we communicate with. The Pledge reminds us to share truth, honor truth, and encourage truth. If we agree this is a good idea we can sign the pledge and join others across the United States who are doing their best to make truth a part of their lives and the community as a whole. Here is what the pledge says, judge for yourself:
I pledge my earnest efforts to:
Verify: fact check information to confirm it is true before accepting and sharing it.
Balance: share the whole truth, even if some aspects do not support my opinion.
Cite: share my sources so that others can verify my information.
Clarify: distinguish between my opinion and the facts.
Acknowledge: acknowledge when others share true information, even when we disagree otherwise.
Reevaluate: reevaluate if my information is challenged, retract it if I cannot verify it.
Defend: defend others if they come under attack for sharing true information, even when we disagree otherwise.
Align: align my opinions and my actions with true information.
Fix: ask people to retract information that reliable sources have disproved even if they are my allies.
Educate: compassionately inform those around me to stop using unreliable sources even if those sources support my opinion.
Defer: recognise the opinions of experts as more likely to be accurate when the facts are disputed.
Celebrate: celebrate those who retract incorrect statements and update their beliefs toward the truth.
Who could not see that these are good ideas? Of course it might be difficult for me to change my sloppy communication practices. We are living dire circumstances created by a civilization with disproportionate power. This stance is necessary if we want not only to survive but also want as many of the other species on Earth as possible to survive with us.
Do this for yourself and future generations, so we may share a healthy environment together.
Learn more about it or take the Pro-Truth Pledge yourself and sign your name with others to the movement at: www.protruthpledge.org. Public figures and organizations who value the truth have taken the Pledge and have added their names here for all the world to see.
Russ Frizzell is a local activist. He graduated from TESC in 2013.