Whenever the state is given the power to identify or enforce a ‘particular version of right and wrong, truth and untruth’, the freedoms of belief, expression and speech are in serious trouble. The establishment of a Reality Czar and, in effect, a Ministry of Truth would deprive people of the right to determine what they hold to be true. One of the privileges of a citizen in a democracy is that they have both the right and the duty to participate in truth-seeking. Truth is not something handed down to us from on high; it is something we acquire through deliberation and debate.

Underpinning the idea that officialdom should have the authority to pronounce on what is true and what is real is a view of ordinary people as lacking the moral and intellectual capacity to behave as independent-minded citizens. A Reality Czar would not simply explain ‘the truth’ to people – he or she would also seek to alter how misguided people conceive of reality. One of the experts cited by the NYT in its call for a Reality Czar argues that helping the misguided to see the light is a ‘public-health issue’. In other words, those who believe that there is media bias against conservatives, or who believe other things that the NYT and Biden-supporting experts disapprove of, are not only wrong but also sick.

The NYT piece suggests that those who possess hardcore dissident views should be targeted with ‘messages about mental health and mindfulness’. So, the preferred method of these reality police is not to find the truth through argument and debate, but rather to use the paternalistic, soft-totalitarian measures of psychological manipulation to alter people’s view of reality.