As the sun was setting on the year 2016, Oxford Dictionaries named their word for the year: “post-truth.” Undeniably, we are living in the era of post-truth.

Without facts and objective truth, progress fades. Facts and truth act as friction, much like the adhesion between our automobile tires and the road. Such adhesion allows us to move forward, change direction, and stop as needed. When blizzards blanket the motorways with ice and snow, movement is dangerous and disaster looms just around the bend.

Whether we are examining healthcare, tax policy, firearms legislation, education, economic policy, the affects of social media, welfare reform, or anything else, facts and objective truth are the foundation of an informed way forward. The abandonment of such leaves us spinning out of control.

How are we doing individually to cleave to facts and truth? I often ask myself the following: “During the past five years, have I revised, refined or reversed my position on relevant policy issues?” If my honest answer is “no,” I have been slothful in my civic duty to absorb additional facts and truth. After all, could I possibly have possessed every fact five years prior?

Progress and the preservation of our society from the era of post-truth politics will require a renewed reliance on facts and objective truth, the availability of which has never been greater, the acquisition of which has never been easier.

As the 19th-century poet John Jaques once penned:

“The sceptre may fall from the despot’s grasp

“When with winds of stern justice he copes.

“But the pillar of truth will endure to the last,

“And its firm-rooted bulwarks outstand the rude blast

“And the wreck of the fell tyrant’s hopes.”

Marcus Hutchins

Southport