Making Sense of the Helsinki Summit [A Reading List]

July 19, 2018 — Leave a comment

 

Helsinki Summit

The news has been dominated this week by the Helsinki Summit, Donald Trump’s private meeting with Vladimir Putin, framed beforehand by Robert Mueller’s indictment of twelve Russian nationals for interfering in the 2016 presidential election, and afterward by Trump’s waffling on whether Russia actually interfered with the election and whether he would hold Putin responsible for this interference. 

 

To make sense of this week’s events, here are a few recent books that help us understand Russia, the fragmented world of social media that provided an entrée for Russian interference, our post-truth culture that has energized this scandal, and what it might all mean for Christians…

 

   

1. The Death of Truth: Notes on Falsehood in the Age of Trump 

Michiko Kakutani


We live in a time when the very idea of objective truth is mocked and discounted by the occupants of the White House. Discredited conspiracy theories and ideologies have resurfaced, proven science is once more up for debate, and Russian propaganda floods our screens. The wisdom of the crowd has usurped research and expertise, and we are each left clinging to the beliefs that best confirm our biases.

How did truth become an endangered species in contemporary America? This decline began decades ago, and in The Death of Truth, former New York Times critic Michiko Kakutani takes a penetrating look at the cultural forces that contributed to this gathering storm. In social media and literature, television, academia, and politics, Kakutani identifies the trends—originating on both the right and the left—that have combined to elevate subjectivity over factuality, science, and common values. And she returns us to the words of the great critics of authoritarianism, writers like George Orwell and Hannah Arendt, whose work is newly and eerily relevant.

READ AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR



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IMAGE CREDIT: Kremlin.ru , Creative Commons License via Wikimedia Commons