Post-Truth and Authoritarianism: Reflections about the Antecedents and Consequences of Political Regimes Based on Alternative Facts
Authors: Marcio Cunha Filho
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Elected by the Oxford Dictionary as the word of the year in 2016, ‘Post-truth’ has become an object of study in several different fields. In his homonymous book, Lee McIntyre defines it as the phenomenon whereby “objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief” (McINTYRE, 2018, p. 05) or as “part of a growing international trend where some feel emboldened to bend reality to fit their opinions, rather than the other way around” (McINTYRE, 2018, p. 05). In McIntyre’s view, post-truth refers to the ‘deliberate’ spread of news that is known to be false, which means that there is a project of ideological domination behind it. After all, when an individual’s intent is to “manipulate someone into believing something ‘that we know to be untrue’, we have graduated from the mere ‘interpretation’ of facts into their falsehoods” (McINTYRE, 2018, p. 08). But post-truth means more that the simple attempt to convince others of something that is known to be false: it is an attempt to demonstrate the power to challenge the very fact of truth and to attempt to change facts based on the way crowds react to them. In a word, post-truth is the perception that beliefs and impressions are constitutive of reality, or, as some would put it, constitute an alternative reality. It represents “the very embodiment of anti-Enlightenment principles, repudiating the values of rationalism, tolerance, and empiricism (…)” (, p. 27).