Previous posts in this series addressed “True Tales of the Legendary Past” (linked at http://wp.me/pVUDj-7E ), followed by “Legendary Tales of the True Past” ( http://wp.me/pVUDj-CU ), and then “Smoke and Mirrors” (at http://wp.me/pVUDj-Dt ). This post will challenge you to search for the truth, a challenge that will involve normal reaction to the situation, renewed awareness, and a call to action that arise from…
Cynicism versus Realism
In 1953, Bertold Brecht reframed a telling public comment about the failed national socialist “leadership” of East Germany — a post-World War II jurisdiction named “German Democratic Republic” that was not democratic, not a republic and, based upon who pulled the puppet strings, German in name only.
Take the liberty to substitute a contemporary date and event, and replace the now-perjorative street name (sadly undergoing rehabilitation in parts of the world), and you can re-address his report to some of the “enlightened people” today.
“After the uprising of the 17th June, The Secretary of the Writers’ Union had leaflets distributed in the Stalinallee, stating that the people had forfeited the confidence of the government, and could win it back only, by redoubled efforts.
Would it not be easier In that case for the government To dissolve the people And elect another?”
That unintentionally sarcastic recommendation by the Writers’ Union “leader” in response to a public reaction to his group’s “progressivism” is chillingly similar to the reactions of too many “experts”, “political leaders” and “public servants” today, when they forget who and what they serve as they revel in their self-importance and authority.
Action is the New Competence
Propaganda can be true or false, positive or negative. Carefully designed, copywritten and placed, with appropriately “computer enhanced” (or altered) images, false propaganda can often be presented in a way that is more compelling than the “unvarnished truth”. The truth often arrives unadorned and is spurned as not being attractive, or as being “old-fashioned” or “traditional thinking” or “uncool” or “out of touch with the times”.
A former President of the United States of America proposed an excellent first response action to avoid falling victim to such “false advertising” and to allow a positive move toward regaining confidence in relationships damaged by abuse of the facts…
“Trust, but verify!”
There is another required step – a change of behavior – to reassert truth and properly recognize mere legend. The change is difficult because it requires speaking out (respectfully), being visible in the crowd (civilly). A desire to avoid the risks entailed too often results in the wide-spread reaction that Winston Churchill recognized,
“Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.”
Churchill’s observation faithfully follows the lead of Edmund Burke’s admonition that…
“All that is required for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing.”