This blog posting by Glenn Greenwald provides some excellent insight on the nature of how one’s perspectives can and should change over time, with the introduction of new facts and the incorporation of an expanded roster of viewpoints to consider.
“Like most people who do not work on politics or journalism full-time, I had to rely back then on standard political and media venues to form my political impressions of the world. When I first began writing about politics, I had a whole slew of conventional political beliefs that came from lazy ingestion of the false and misleading claims of these conventional political and media sources. Having the time to examine political realities first-hand has led me to realize how many of those former beliefs I held were based on myth or worse, and I’ve radically changed how I think about a whole slew of issues as a result of that re-examination.”
I can relate to this in many ways, as I consider my own politically youthful coming of age, and the notable evolution in personal perspectives that have taken place over the past decades. We need more citizens to have the courage to face up to what is transpiring around us today, if we are to effectively change it. The regime of power is dependent upon our buying into the myth of it’s legitimacy. Now is the time to refuse the lie, to paraphrase Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, to no longer be complicit in supporting it. Liberals and so-called progressives need to give it up with this “supporting the Democrats because they are better than the Republicans” line of thinking. And those on the right need to move beyond their ideological fear of the “mob rule” of democratic accountability, the adherence to which has resulted in the excusing of some of the most flagrant and tyrannical abuses of power to confront our society over the past decades. Confronting unjust and unaccountable power, and to question the legitimacy of state authority, does not inherently entail some kind of manifestation of the “tyranny of the majority over the minority.” In fact, today we couldn’t be farther from such a situation, as we are currently left politically prostrate in the face of a minutely small minority now with effective control over practically every single lever of power in society today. Such protestations about “majority tyranny” right now is a bit like lecturing a fireman about his causing water damage to a burning house.
We need to step beyond our current artificially drawn political paradigm, one consciously designed to keep us securely within the realm of manageable and controlled debate, one in which whatever direction it takes, will always result in the service to the status of quo of money and power that currently exists, no matter how illegitimate those gains are and that power is. This is something that Noam Chomsky identified over two decades ago, when he spoke of how you can maintain control in an ostensibly democratic society is that “you control what people think is by creating the illusion that there’s a debate going on, but making sure that that debate stays within very narrow margins. Namely, you have to make sure that both sides in the debate accept certain assumptions, and those assumptions turn out to be the propaganda system. As long as everyone accepts the propaganda system, then you can have a debate.”