The Decline of Facts

Published 3 Comments on The Decline of Facts

I’m not looking forward to the presidential debates. The reason is that facts will not be part of the discussion. Imagine this fictitious argument:

  • Fact Person: “The world is spherical.”
  • Feelings Person: “I feel that it is flat.”
  • Fact Person: “There are pictures, science, facts. It’s provable!”
  • Feelings Person: “All of that is faked. Photoshopped. It’s all paid for by Big Round, the round earth lobby.
  • Fact Person: “How can I prove to you that this is a fact.”
  • Feelings Person: “You can’t. How can I prove to you the world is flat?”
  • Fact Person: “What?? You can’t. It’s spherical! Idiot!”
  • Feelings Person: “Oh, so not you use name calling. Good argument.”

Do you see how facts are impossible to prove to someone who doesn’t want to hear them? On the internet, every point of view has a page that supports their ideas. How can we move forward in this world if facts don’t matter?

Newt Gingrich got in an argument about violent crime. He said, “People feel that crime is worse now than ever.” The moderator said, “But the statistics say the opposite is true. Crime is way down!” Gingrich replied, “I’ll go with what people feel and you go with the facts. Let’s see who wins that election.”

That is terrifying. Facts don’t matter. Only feelings matter.

As a B2B product leader, I actually know that feelings actually do trump facts. (No pun intended). The way a product makes you feel is more important than how much money is makes your company. Feelings are more powerful than facts. So much crazy behavior stems from this.

I don’t try to fight that in product development. Rather, I lean in and make sure the application nurtures people’s feelings as much as their bottom line. However, as a progressive, I have trouble mapping that to the current political environment. How can Hillary win when she is just using facts? She needs to build up her foundation of positive feelings.

Come on Hillary, I know you can do it. 🙂

*Fact: Not photoshopped.


  1. What you’re describing is an effect of Alberto Brandolini’s bullshit asymmetry principle, which states that the amount of energy necessary to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude higher than the energy to produce it.

Whatya think?