"Statements issued by the Trump campaign saw no need to uphold any requirements to make sense or be based on evidence. Consider the assertions of widespread voter-fraud (in the case of Clinton victory), claims of Muslims celebrating 9/11 in New York, the idea to extract Middle Eastern oil as recompense for US military costs, the theory that climate change was secretly invented by the Chinese for economic gain, or that Mexico would willingly pay for a border wall.
Such statements, and an array of others, were credible within the campaign’s own inner logic because the criteria for credibility did not include a basis in reality or even coherence. Under the banner 'Make America Great Again' the type of argumentation I have been demanding of my students became defunct.
In Britain, we have recently been in similar territory ourselves. The EU referendum featured false claims regarding the cost of EU membership, of the migration chaos that would follow Turkey’s supposedly inevitable and imminent EU membership, shady rumours that our unelected monarch disliked the EU, and Michael Gove’s wholesale dismissal of 'experts'.
The intangible nature of what Brexit would actually entail revealed itself in conveniently vacuous slogans such as 'Take Back Control' and, eventually, simply 'Brexit means Brexit'. The Remain campaign did sometimes try to conjure compelling stories of apocalypse, but they ultimately failed to respect the manner in which the game was being played. Leave donor and campaigner Aaron Banks reflected: 'The Remain campaign featured fact, fact, fact, fact, fact. It just doesn’t work. You have got to connect with people emotionally. It’s the Trump success'."Empiricism. Books. Intellectual curiosity. The Scientific Method. Humility when confronted with data that doesn't support your beliefs. Respect for institutions of learning that strive to preserve past achievements.
They don't fucking matter in a post-factual world.
As a teacher, it's terrifying.