“Alternative facts”: The term manages to be tedious, ridiculous and perilous at once — a real sign of the times. For anyone who doesn’t remember, Kellyanne Conway introduced it in early 2017 to defend the White House’s falsehoods about attendance numbers at Donald Trump’s inauguration the week before. There she was on “Meet the Press,” serenely chiding an exasperated Chuck Todd for being “overly dramatic” as he repeatedly tried to get her to concede that lying to the American public was bad.
Her phrasing may have been new, but Conway was taking part in what has apparently become a conservative tradition — performing a skepticism so extreme that it makes the ancient Greek skeptics look like babes in the woods. Recall a high-ranking aide in the Bush administration needling a journalist for belonging to “the reality-based community.” A respect for facts, the aide suggested, was ultimately for suckers: “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality.”
You might think this kind of postmodernism would appeal to the French anthropologist and philosopher Bruno Latour, who has spent a career studying how knowledge is socially constructed. You would be wrong. Such pretensions to reality-creating grandeur, Latour suggests, amount to little more than a vulgar, self-defeating cynicism.
In “Down to Earth: Politics in the New Climatic Regime,” Latour argues that climate change is forcing all of us to confront truths that seem hard to reconcile but turn out to be two sides of the same thing: 1) reality exists, whether we like it or not; and 2) our attempts to apprehend it are contingent on our social context. Along with Cailin O’Connor and James Owen Weatherall’s “The Misinformation Age: How False Beliefs Spread,” Latour’s new book offers a way to think through the seemingly insurmountable impasse carved out by political polarization and fake news.
This uncertainty, it turns out, is central to how so much contemporary misinformation works. O’Connor and Weatherall make a distinction between absolute certainty and the confidence necessary to make informed decisions. “The worry that we can never gain complete certainty about matters of fact is irrelevant,” they write — though it comes up again and again in “The Misinformation Age,” as they show how industrial interests have repeatedly exploited any whiff of uncertainty to argue against government regulation.
The book contains useful summaries of the debates in the 1980s around the ozone layer and acid rain. Drawing from the research of Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway in “Merchants of Doubt” (2010), O’Connor and Weatherall compare industry-sponsored campaigns questioning environmental damage to the strategic skepticism of tobacco companies, which disputed the link between smoking and lung cancer by insisting that the link wasn’t utterly definitive. As one tobacco executive put it, “Doubt is our product since it is the best means of competing with the ‘body of fact’ that exists in the mind of the public.”
The debate — or as the authors might put it, “debate” — around climate change has followed a similar narrative. O’Connor and Weatherall point out that the scientific consensus has long coalesced around human-caused climate change, even if denialists insist that the science is still unsettled.
The one thing you begin to notice in this book is that propagating a reflexive skepticism and sowing discord aren’t terribly difficult, especially when there’s a vested interest willing to pay for it; “merely creating the appearance of controversy” is often all that needs to be done.
Latour’s “Down to Earth” is a wilder, more playful book — even if, like “The Misinformation Age,” it covers big subjects like truth and the fate of the species. The election of Donald Trump, Latour says, was a clarifying event, not only for Americans but for the world. Here, finally, was a political figure whose brazen repudiations of reality laid bare what Latour has been saying all along — that a complacent faith in the ability of facts to speak for themselves was what rendered them vulnerable to Trumpian renunciation in the first place.
“It is quite useless to become outraged on the pretext that Trump voters ‘don’t believe in facts,’” Latour writes. Rather than get tangled in shouting matches over fake news, Latour calls for an entirely new way of understanding the world. He says he wrote “Down to Earth” with a “deliberate bluntness.” He vests a surprising hope in Europe, whose colonial past — or “crimes,” as he puts it — he depicts as inextricable from the migrations it tries to keep out. “Europe has invaded all peoples; all peoples are coming to Europe in their turn,” he writes. “Give and take. There is no way out of this.”
Latour also describes migration as the human embodiment of our “new climatic regime.” Under the old way of thinking, exploited peoples and places were ignored, silenced and stripped of agency; now migrants and the earth itself are both setting out “to recover what belongs to them.”
No doubt some readers will find this to be too much, too philosophical and too French. But maybe it takes a brilliantly mind-bending book like Latour’s to show that so much reality can’t be denied.B:
www.yyxjyj.cn【且】【擎】【刀】【拾】 【将】【军】【百】【战】【死】，【壮】【士】【十】【年】【归】。【雍】【凉】【南】【调】【之】【军】【已】【有】【二】【十】【载】【未】【归】【故】【土】，【南】【北】【相】【去】【万】【里】，【青】【葱】【成】【白】【发】，【对】【于】【故】【土】，【有】【些】【老】【卒】【早】【已】【是】【有】【心】【无】【力】。 【黄】【州】【府】【部】【分】【暗】【卫】【的】【反】【叛】，【给】【了】【秋】【忆】【鸿】【一】【个】【警】【示】，【西】【北】【军】【老】【人】【的】【安】【置】，【已】【经】【是】【迫】【在】【眉】【睫】，【不】【得】【不】【为】。 【像】【陈】【先】【光】，【栾】【之】【武】，【袁】【东】【易】【这】【样】【的】【西】【北】【将】【领】，【有】【官】【位】【在】【身】，
【对】【不】【起】。 【老】【书】【无】【法】【再】【保】【证】【稳】【定】【更】【新】。 【以】【后】【佛】【系】【更】【新】，【直】【到】【百】【万】【字】【完】【本】，【不】【太】【监】。 【原】【因】1：【这】【本】【书】【扑】【了】，【后】【面】【写】【的】【也】【越】【来】【越】【差】，【追】【看】【的】【人】【越】【来】【越】【少】。 【原】【因】2：【新】【书】【成】【绩】【越】【来】【越】【好】，【下】【周】【上】【三】【江】，【马】【上】【就】【要】【上】【架】。 【原】【因】3：【高】【估】【了】【自】【己】【的】【能】【力】，【双】【开】【压】【力】【越】【来】【越】【大】，【心】【思】【大】【多】【都】【放】【在】【了】【新】【书】【上】，【无】【力】【兼】
【玉】【简】【堆】【得】【到】【处】【都】【是】，【不】【过】【罗】【琦】【看】【起】【来】【非】【常】【熟】【悉】【每】【一】【根】【玉】【简】【的】【放】【置】【处】，【她】【总】【能】【从】【一】【堆】【堆】“【小】【山】”【里】【快】【速】【准】【确】【地】【找】【出】【自】【己】【想】【要】【的】【玉】【简】，【收】【集】【好】【同】【类】【玉】【简】【并】【放】【入】【箱】【子】【后】，【再】【不】【会】【将】【箱】【子】【打】【开】。【就】【连】【箱】【子】【的】【大】【小】，【也】【是】【恰】【好】【合】【适】。 【镜】【映】【容】【视】【线】【落】【在】【桌】【上】【乱】【七】【八】【糟】【的】【纸】【页】【上】。 【她】【问】【罗】【琦】：“【这】【些】，【我】【可】【以】【看】【吗】？” 【罗】【琦】www.yyxjyj.cn“【那】【个】【生】【人】【的】【名】【字】，【这】【个】【还】【不】【知】【道】。” “【只】【知】【道】【他】【和】【玄】【界】【的】【几】【个】【捣】【蛋】【鬼】【在】【一】【起】。” 【陶】【云】【壁】【说】【道】。 “【捣】【蛋】【鬼】？” “【地】【府】【还】【有】【这】【种】【鬼】？” 【思】【南】【说】【道】。 “【怎】【么】【没】【有】，【这】【五】【个】【家】【伙】，【把】【玄】【王】【给】【惹】【怒】【了】，【收】【了】【它】【们】【的】【鬼】【窍】，【放】【逐】【到】【了】【玄】【门】【之】【外】。” “【不】【光】【是】【这】【黄】【泉】【路】【上】【的】【鬼】【知】【道】，【玄】【界】【的】【鬼】【和】【夜】【叉】【们】
“【嗯】，”【左】【司】【寒】【走】【过】【去】，“【挑】【衣】【服】【做】【什】【么】？【下】【午】【要】【出】【门】？” 【自】【从】【慕】【容】【若】【薇】【怀】【孕】【以】【后】，【左】【司】【寒】【对】【于】【她】【的】【行】【踪】【管】【束】【的】【更】【严】【了】，【生】【怕】【她】【遇】【到】【危】【险】。 “【不】【是】【啊】……”【慕】【容】【若】【薇】【放】【下】【衣】【服】，【大】【眼】【睛】【就】【那】【样】【水】【汪】【汪】【的】【看】【向】【他】，“【明】【天】【不】【是】【要】【去】【领】【证】【嘛】，【我】【当】【然】【要】【打】【扮】【的】【美】【美】【的】！【你】【说】【刚】【才】【那】【件】【鹅】【黄】【色】【的】【衣】【服】【好】【看】？” 【左】【司】
“【斯】【南】【哥】【哥】，【我】【错】【了】，【我】【真】【的】【错】【了】，【你】【不】【要】【赶】【我】【走】。” 【严】【歆】【又】【爬】【回】【霍】【斯】【南】【脚】【前】。 【霍】【斯】【南】【朝】【后】【面】【退】【了】【一】【步】。 “【你】【已】【经】【没】【有】【时】【间】【了】，【来】【人】，【把】【她】【给】【我】【扔】【出】【去】！” “【不】，【不】【要】！”【被】【架】【起】【的】【严】【歆】【挣】【扎】【着】。 【脸】【上】【的】【妆】【容】【都】【已】【经】【化】【了】，【别】【提】【多】【难】【看】。 【一】【边】【哭】【着】【一】【边】【喊】【着】，【被】【扔】【出】【了】【铁】【门】【外】。 【门】【锁】【上】【后】
【又】【到】【了】【分】【别】【的】【时】【候】【了】。 【很】【是】【不】【舍】。 【感】【谢】【起】【点】【女】【生】【网】【的】【平】【台】，【感】【谢】【我】【的】【编】【辑】，【更】【感】【谢】【一】【路】【陪】【伴】【的】【书】【友】【们】，【没】【有】【你】【们】，【在】【屏】【蔽】【和】【无】【推】【的】【情】【况】【下】，【我】【应】【该】【坚】【持】【不】【到】【现】【在】。 【番】【外】【最】【后】【一】【章】【叫】【无】【憾】，【我】【也】【希】【望】【有】【始】【有】【终】，【不】【负】【自】【己】【的】【初】【心】【和】【每】【一】【个】【看】【书】【的】【你】。 【当】【然】，【全】【文】【肯】【定】【也】【有】【许】【多】【不】【足】，【特】【别】【是】【后】【半】【段】【不】【少】【细】