What is truth as opinion

Truth as the Basis for Democracy

In a democracy, power comes from the people through political elections. A free democratic basic order like in Germany includes, among other things, separation of powers, the rule of law and the highest fundamental rights, which are inviolable. Above all, this includes the dignity of the individual.

Since the power of the people is exercised through elections, freedom of opinion, press and broadcasting are constitutive in a democracy. They are the prerequisite for the free formation of individual opinions and the political will-formation of their citizens and thus for well-founded voting decisions.

If more and more untruths or false assertions are spread and facts are questioned again and again, this creates uncertainty and confusion and deprives a society of the basis for exchanging information on the basis of facts and evidence and jointly looking for solutions to the most pressing problems in society. So there needs to be an interest in the truth.

The concept of truth has been widely discussed in philosophy since ancient times. We now know: The objective truth does not exist; it is an ideal, that is, a value that is striven for. We have agreed rules and reference systems for this, which can, however, diverge culturally and historically, depending on the level of knowledge of the respective group or society at a certain time. While it used to be true that the earth was flat, this notion has now been refuted and replaced by other systems of knowledge. That means: truth is in one Reference system bound, in earlier times religion was the dominant reference system, today it is science. Without a reference system capable of reaching a consensus, we cannot intersubjectively agree on “true” and “false”.

We are currently experiencing a trend towards a post-true phase. Facts and the reference system of truth, science, are becoming less important. Previously it was true: You can argue about opinions, but not about facts. Now, for example, for politicians like Donald Trump: You can argue about facts. But if you negate the facts, what is it but a lie?

When truth is negated as an absolute value and everyone creates their own truth and thus their own facts, there is no longer any possibility of exchanging ideas or building a consensus with one another in an understanding-oriented manner. And what's more: if you don't care about the truth, you manipulate statements about facts in such a way that they serve your own interests. This behavior is unethical and unsocial.