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Inconvenient Facts Kept Dark

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posted on Nov, 18 2016 @ 06:53 PM
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Inconvenient Facts Kept Dark



George Orwell's keen eye for tyranny makes his work especially valuable, not to mention frightenly relevant. In his preface to Animal Farm, for instance, he wrote about political correctness long before it was fashionable to do so:


“If publishers and editors exert themselves to keep certain topics out of print, it is not because they are frightened of prosecution but because they are frightened of public opinion. In this country intellectual cowardice is the worst enemy a writer or journalist has to face, and that fact does not seem to me to have had the discussion it deserves.”



“Unpopular ideas can be silenced, and inconvenient facts kept dark, without the need for any official ban…At any given moment there is an orthodoxy, a body of ideas which it is assumed that all right-thinking people will accept without question. It is not exactly forbidden to say this, that or the other, but it is ‘not done’ to say it, just as in mid-Victorian times it was ‘not done’ to mention trousers in the presence of a lady. Anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness. A genuinely unfashionable opinion is almost never given a fair hearing, either in the popular press or in the highbrow periodicals.”



“I know that the English intelligentsia have plenty of reason for their timidity and dishonesty, indeed I know by heart the arguments by which they justify themselves. But at least let us have no more nonsense about defending liberty against Fascism. If liberty means anything at all it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. The common people still vaguely subscribe to that doctrine and act on it. In our country — it is not the same in all countries: it was not so in republican France, and it is not so in the USA today — it is the liberals who fear liberty and the intellectuals who want to do dirt on the intellect: it is to draw attention to that fact that I have written this preface.”

George Orwell. Freedom of the Press

Of course, we are not Orwell. He wrote in a time of upheaval, and threat to liberty. As a reminder, Liberty is something we in the West have taken for granted.

Nonetheless, he was right, even today—citizens lucky enough to live in free societies have little to worry about when it comes to government censorship. Unless a person dabbles in racist or homophobic proselytizing while in places where there are fatuous wars against "hate speech", the government is unlikely to censor anyone.

But citizens lucky enough to live in free societies cannot say the same about their fellow citizens. “Political correctness”, which is a euphemism for a milder form of political repression and “intellectual cowardice”, is enforced more by public opinion and self-censorship than any official entity. Anyone who will not speak according to the fashionable opinions of the prevailing orthodoxy risks being spurned, slandered, and shunned by scandalmongers, who have nothing better to do than to police the speech of others. Students and so-called activists have grown to tolerate racism, denial of free speech, identity politics (a euphemism for tribalism), and they have been supported by school administrations and the media alike, not because it is honest or better for society, but because it is more lucrative and fashionable to do so. At any rate, if seeing the police protect rallying members of the KKK from a seething mob is any indication, the government is more likely to save the speaker from the crowd instead of the other way around.

Education has offered us nothing on this issue. Walk around your own streets and ask people if they know the arguments in favour of free expression. They might feign to cliché and say people are entitled to their own opinion, but press for more. Ask them if they know why free expression is considered a fundamental human right in the declaration of rights and freedoms across the world. Ask them if they’ve read John Milton’s Areopagitica, or John Stuart-Mill’s On Liberty. Implore them to explain why free speech is the most important right upon which all other rights are built. Finally, ask them if they even care. I wager they will respond in the negative.

Rather, it is likely you’ll hear some nonsense about racism and bigotry. They’ll tell you about how the laws and declarations protecting free speech pertain only to the government. You’ll hear some quasi-religious piffle about words being weapons, that words can hurt, that words can cause irreparable psychological damage to entire groups: marginalizing them, belittling them, disparaging them.

No, if children were illuminated to the facts of our free societies and their core tenet, namely, that many died for speaking against the blasphemy laws, the book burnings, the superstitions, the divine rights of kings, slavery, racism, sexism—all of them demystified by the voices of fearless men and women—there might be at least a morsel of respect towards freedom of speech and the blood it was founded upon, instead of the torpid ambivalence we have since grown accustomed to.

For some time, free speech has succeeded coercion and force as the foundation of many societies. But as the interest in it wanes, and education in it subsides, the momentum towards coercion and force returns. The right with which we defend all other rights, and upon which all other rights are built, is becoming an anachronism in some minds, if not outright forgotten. It won’t be long before language becomes a means of concealing thought instead of expressing it, with unpopular opinions silenced, and inconvenient facts kept dark.

Thank you for reading,

LesMis



edit on 18-11-2016 by LesMisanthrope because: (no reason given)




posted on Nov, 18 2016 @ 07:01 PM
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Bravo! Superb!



posted on Nov, 18 2016 @ 07:22 PM
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a reply to: LesMisanthrope

It seems we are also in a bit of upheaval these days. We don't yet know what level the upheaval will ultimately reach, being on the leading end of it as we are. The possibility exists that we will required make some significant sacrifices to beat back the forces attacking individual liberty yet again. Time will tell.



posted on Nov, 18 2016 @ 07:25 PM
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a reply to: LesMisanthrope

When we talk of political correctness and intellectual cowardice, we cannot forget to mention comedians.

It seems the only people who are consistently willing to shed light on inconvenient facts these days are comedians. They are like the Fools from Shakespeare's plays. They had the liberty to say anything they wanted because no one would take them seriously anyway. Comedians today are the Fools of yesterday. My two favorite reporters are Jon Stewart from the old Daily Show, and Daniel Tosh from Tosh.O. They report on many of these inconvenient facts that traditional news stations aren't willing to discuss. They will make us laugh about what we are uncomfortable talking about. They expose the absurdity of the society we live in. We laugh at ourselves for a short time, and laugh at the absurd state of things, and then go back to living our absurd lives.

So in the end, who really is the fool?


edit on 18-11-2016 by Wang Tang because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 18 2016 @ 07:36 PM
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When we talk of political correctness and intellectual cowardice, we cannot forget to mention comedians.

I agree. Comedians often point out our foibles and foolishness. Song writers/musicians provide another scrying glass for looking into our collective soul.



posted on Nov, 18 2016 @ 07:36 PM
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originally posted by: hunamongyou
"When we talk of political correctness and intellectual cowardice, we cannot forget to mention comedians."

I agree. Comedians often point out our foibles and foolishness. Song writers/musicians provide another scrying glass for looking into our collective soul.



posted on Nov, 18 2016 @ 07:40 PM
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a reply to: hunamongyou

Pardon the somewhat double post. Wished to credit Wang Tang with quoted segment.



posted on Nov, 18 2016 @ 08:26 PM
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a reply to: LesMisanthrope

I agree with you on the evil of political correctness and fear of public opinion. People need a wake up call to be themselves again.

Basically , There are people like myself who are considered "abravise" simply because we speak our mind. Trump does that too.It is better to speak out and ignore public opinion than to be a coward.

It is not just political correctness that is the problem; it is that new kind of "social media" culture we have now where people just want to "belong". They only say things which does not threaten their membership to that social club ; they never speak their mind. How sad !!

I see that sheep culture everywhere. At my office , where we have hundreds of employees , only a handful seem to have a mind of their own. The rest are just zombies; when they talk it is just a regurgitation of 'acceptable' topical conversation. Acceptable conversation these days is to criticise Trump and Brexit. Luckily , my wife is just as headstrong and individual as I am. She does not make many friends at the office, but she has me as her biggest fan and her heart is in the right place.

It is people themselves that have supressed their convictions and opinions. They keep those convictions and principles in the dark . Eventually it is lost to them. This is what is happening , particularly in big cities. I have heard that the mayor of NY city and leaders of other big cities have told Trump that they will shield all criminals from deportation. This is how silly political correctness and liberalism can become.

For those who do not walk with the sheep and say what they have to say, please continue to be true to your heart . That is what gives power.


edit on 18-11-2016 by crowdedskies because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 18 2016 @ 09:17 PM
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a reply to: Wang Tang

There is a good quote by Czeslaw Milosz that reads "Irony is the glory of slaves." Sometimes we need irony to make bearable the things we cannot not change. I suspect some cognitive dissonance is at work in stand-up comedy and sitire.

In an unrelated note, in his book The Captive Mind, Milosz couldn't believe that Animal Farm (or was it 1984?), described perfectly the communism he was living under at the time in Poland. And he knew Orwell never went to a Communist country, which blew his mind. The Captive mind is a great read.



posted on Nov, 18 2016 @ 10:11 PM
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a reply to: LesMisanthrope

S & F! Everyone should be taking a hard look at themselves! Well written! I do censor my own expression in fear that some may find me offensive, but I think this is more out of courtesy than fear. Excellent thread!



posted on Nov, 18 2016 @ 11:20 PM
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a reply to: LesMisanthrope
None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. They feed them on falsehoods till wrong looks like right in their eyes.
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Maybe living within the bounds of relative freedom or relative enslavement is still, for lack of better term, not a bad thing?



posted on Nov, 18 2016 @ 11:33 PM
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Star and a flag

Who are you ? I've been missing writing like this since the silly election has been going on.

Keep on writing


Please



posted on Nov, 19 2016 @ 01:26 AM
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a reply to: LesMisanthrope

There is not much to comment on in regard to your opening post. It is a highly relevant, well-written piece that is difficult to find fault in.



posted on Nov, 19 2016 @ 02:11 AM
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a reply to: Dark Ghost

I was trying to find any illogical tendencies but can not so if there are faults then I am blind to it.

Good job LesMisanthrope.


Makes me think of:



posted on Nov, 19 2016 @ 02:19 AM
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originally posted by: MaxTamesSiva
a reply to: LesMisanthrope
None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. They feed them on falsehoods till wrong looks like right in their eyes.
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Maybe living within the bounds of relative freedom or relative enslavement is still, for lack of better term, not a bad thing?



Intellectually easier at least, but it will not increase the you:s/me:s awareness and increase objective measurement of what is instead of staying in illusions of falsehood.



posted on Nov, 19 2016 @ 09:30 AM
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a reply to: LittleByLittle
My Goethe quote is more in the context of goverments use of propaganda to control public opinion through mass media, education etc. I'm in a bit of a loss here so maybe a few definition of terms is in order?


Political correctness- The avoidance of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalize, or insult groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against.
oxforddictionaries.com


Freedom of expression- also known as freedom of speech. Includes free press. The right to say what one wants through any form of communication and media, with the only limitation being to cause another harm in character or reputation by lying or misleading words.
thelawdictionary.org
Freedom of Speech

Will it be acceptable if by “unpopular ideas and inconvenient facts kept dark" taken as an example in a case of hundreds of billions of dollars missing in government coffers without a trace and nobody is being held accountable for it? If a person exercising his freedom of speech said that governments and big corporations are ran like criminal syndicates, is it also a politically correct statement? What if a high government official or a VP of a mutinational corporation take offense with the statement?

If someone was labeled a conspiracy theorist in a derogatory way, another person might take it as a badge of honor. What is unpopular or inconvenient to a person or group of persons might not be unpopular and inconvenient to another... heck, now I'm more confused.



posted on Nov, 20 2016 @ 09:54 AM
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originally posted by: LesMisanthrope
a reply to: Wang Tang

There is a good quote by Czeslaw Milosz that reads "Irony is the glory of slaves." Sometimes we need irony to make bearable the things we cannot not change. I suspect some cognitive dissonance is at work in stand-up comedy and sitire.

In an unrelated note, in his book The Captive Mind, Milosz couldn't believe that Animal Farm (or was it 1984?), described perfectly the communism he was living under at the time in Poland. And he knew Orwell never went to a Communist country, which blew his mind. The Captive mind is a great read.


Found another great related quote.

"We must laugh at man to avoid crying for him." -Napoleon

I had not heard of the Captive Mind, I will check it out. Thanks.



posted on Nov, 22 2016 @ 03:39 PM
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originally posted by: LesMisanthrope

Inconvenient Facts Kept Dark



No, if children were illuminated to the facts of our free societies and their core tenet, namely, that many died for speaking against the blasphemy laws, the book burnings, the superstitions, the divine rights of kings, slavery, racism, sexism—all of them demystified by the voices of fearless men and women—there might be at least a morsel of respect towards freedom of speech and the blood it was founded upon, instead of the torpid ambivalence we have since grown accustomed to.

For some time, free speech has succeeded coercion and force as the foundation of many societies. But as the interest in it wanes, and education in it subsides, the momentum towards coercion and force returns. The right with which we defend all other rights, and upon which all other rights are built, is becoming an anachronism in some minds, if not outright forgotten. It won’t be long before language becomes a means of concealing thought instead of expressing it, with unpopular opinions silenced, and inconvenient facts kept dark.

Thank you for reading,

LesMis




Beautifully written! Your poignant words are appreciated!



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