A great confusion has arisen, and as is generally the case with confusion, those confused are unaware of their befuddlement.  The issue of this perplexity is truth and its structural place within society.  What has caused this confusion most markedly in recent times is the struggle between seemingly opposed political forces.  Of course, the reason truth is an object in this struggle is the obvious fact that what people believe determines which of these political forces they will support.  Gaining this support, naturally, is the object of the struggle itself.  Therefore, manipulation of views is the meat and potatoes of this sort of political tug-of-war.

     There is a joke:  I looked up "liar" in the dictionary and it said, "see politician."  In fact, in modern society all politicians are viewed as professional liars.  As is well-known the direct competitor with politicians for the lowest rung of the social ladder is the lawyer:

What's the difference between a lawyer and a liar?

A: The pronunciation.

     What would place the two so prominently in the minds of people that jokes would be generated about them?  Over the course of history lawyers have accounted for the majority of all politicians in all Western countries.  Lawyers have always figured prominently in government, which of course is the power structure which directly influences people's lives.  In recent times the number of lawyers in government has declined slightly.  However, the established practices, and procedures of governance over the centuries were in large part created by lawyers, and in particular procedures and methods of electioneering are stamped with their mark.  The bitter irony of this is, lawyers are associated with justice systems, especially.  Justice is said to be based on truth.  Why, then, are lawyers associated with lying?  Why, then, when lawyers become politicians do they further consummate the marriage of politics and deception?  Let's leave it to philosophy graduate students in need of a thesis to work-out this conundrum.  For our purposes here it's only important to remember politics, lawyers and lying are closely akin in the minds of the public.

     Let's return to this struggle; this competition.  Two political views, or parties, are struggling for the majority of votes in an election.  To gain votes one influences voters.  The obvious rationale is "my view is superior to my opponent's view."  Having thus influenced a voter, the politician gets that vote.  It's a game.  It's simple.  Oddly enough (or, maybe not,) scant few rules governing electioneering in Western countries have anything to do with telling prospective voters the truth.  Most rules govern election financing.  The implied rule is:  Lie if you want, but if you're caught you'll look like the liar you are and people won't vote for you.  It is the subject of debate whether this is sufficient or adequate, and if being so loose with the truth vis-a-vis free speech considerations results in beneficial governance.  Suffice to say this being loose with the truth, for now and the foreseeable future, is a component and often a tool politicians use to play this game of electioneering.

     Now, consider the place of truth in relation to another aspect of civilization.  Knowing what we know, knowing what we don't know, and knowing the difference between these and what we might believe are crucial in formulating and building an advanced civilization.  Attempting to exist using rationale based on falsehood or misbegotten opinion, thousands and thousands of years of experience has shown us, creates an existence fraught with difficulty and danger.  Misapprehension of fact is responsible for millions of needless and tragic deaths.  We take for granted here the first most basic truth for civilization is:  The practices of this civilization do not cause the deaths of its members.  (Unfortunately, that probably needed to be said.)  In advanced societies truth itself becomes a subject for debate.  However, for our purposes here, consider a simple truth such as:  Those kinds of snakes are poisonous.  If you pick up that snake, and it bites you, you will quite likely die a painful death.  This sort of truth isn't up to debate.  Another such truth would be:  That plant is poisonous.  If you eat that plant you will surely die a painful death.  These may seem childishly simple today.  However, it is the gathering and dissemination of facts such as these that has allowed humanity to survive long enough to create this current, allegedly sophisticated, modern society - a social structure not shared by the majority of inhabitants of this planet, by the way.

     Truth is crucial to the survival of our species.  Are we responsible to leave a truthful record for our progeny?  The two prime drives for any species are; self-preservation and species preservation.  If accrued factual information is crucial to the survival of members of our species, leaving a factual account as a duty to our species would seem to meet the second prime consideration.  Not doing so would seem to be, therefore, perverse and unnatural.  It would seem to be an intentional attempt to circumvent the survival of our own species.  Since advanced civilizations now concern themselves with such things as rights, do we have the right to leave behind an inaccurate record?  Since there is no one to exact retribution for our failure to do so, and it won't necessarily affect our own self-preservation, how is not owning up to this as a responsibility enforceable?  A line generated by this now modern civilization is, "Why should I do anything for posterity?  What have they ever done for me?"  Such a thought has been previously unheard of (in polite society), and would be seen as a rather caustic attempt at humor.  However, today, such a sentiment is not entirely out of place.  As the only species attempting to exist based entirely on the concept of free will, exercising that free will to circumvent what was once a natural imperative is quite easily done.  This then begs the question, "Are we all in agreement about the significance of truth?"