Truth seems like a value in decline, associated with an earlier, simpler time when character was a matter of honor and what you said and did was a matter of self-respect.
Daniel Boorstin, the American professor and writer, warns us of the consequences of the decline of truth in modern society: “’Truth’ has been displaced by ‘believability’ as the test of the statements which dominate our lives.”
More recently, the American comedian, Stephen Colbert coined the satirical term “truthiness”– the conscious avoidance of facts, logic, evidence and rational analysis – to describe the same condition. “What is truth,” asked Pontius Pilate at the trial of Jesus?6 It is easy to imagine a combination of skepticism, mockery, resignation, and weariness in Pilate’s tone as he asks one of the most famous questions in history.
Washing his hands of the pursuit of truth and his responsibility to uphold it, Pilate becomes the archetype of the weak, closed and doubting-hearted politician. His profession has yet to recover.