Welcome to Nebo Literature.

Resisting the Abuse of Power:

“As my sufferings mounted I soon realized that there were two ways in which I could respond to my situation -- either to react with bitterness or seek to transform the suffering into a creative force. I decided to follow the latter course.”   Martin Luther King Jr.

Democracy is not threatened by the actions of a few, but the inactions of the many.

Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber. Plato, ancient Greek Philosopher

"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."    -- Thomas Jefferson

"Truth forever on the scaffold; wrong forever on the throne".  Lowell.


"The price of freedom, as the old saying goes, is eternal vigilance. More than ever, that’s a job for the reader as much for the journalist."    Rob Burgess

“It is a truth wearily demonstrated by history that acts of tyranny condoned against some will finally become a tyranny visited on all.”  Richard Flanagan

"When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.  Thomas Jefferson

"The time is out of joint, o cursed spite, that I was born to set it right".   Hamlet 

“We are living in dangerous times. It is important that people recognise that they have to care, and actually apply some effort in democracy, so that it will work. No one else is going to fix it for you.  You are the system.  Birgetta Jonsdottir – Iceland – Pirate Party

Russian dissidents - Pussy Riot:

The Russian legal system is mired in controversy; arguably more concerned with cracking down on dissent than executing justice. Among the most notorious examples are the ongoing "farcical" trial of the assassination, years ago, of journalist and Chechen war critic Anna Politkovskaya and the Yukos affair that saw the politically motivated, unjust jailing of former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky among many others.

After the murder of Anna Politkovskava, Putin refused to answer any questions about her for six days.  When he finally did respond, it was to devalue her legacy by maintaining her work made no significant contribution to Russian society.

Pussy Riot note that authorities use many means to get people to obey.

Don’t accept anything at face value.  Scrutinise everything you hear or read – even your friends.  They could lie to you.  Don’t trust anyone.”

“We are living through a car crash that is the twentieth century and it is not an easy ride.  There are no heroes who will come and save us from evil. Every person can do something to change the world. It is happening every day in classrooms and in the streets.

While the world goes to pot, focus on the small stuff.  Stay close to family and friends.  Look after the ones you love.  Start by changing your home.  Remember it is not the politician’s country – it is your country and the future of your country is in the hands of its citizens.  All citizens have rights that cannot be taken from them. “


Real Power is imbued with authority and legitimised by implicit trust and respect. Vaunted, bulwark power is an abuse of power actually diminishing its own authority.  The latter needs to be called out for what it is and challenged.  However, dissenters, protesters and activists must avoid carping,whining, self-righteousness and absolute certitude.  It is better to recognise the problems and calmly, relentlessly search for constructive solutions.  

All power structures are insidious.  Some maintain power is only gained by exercising it.  This is at best a half truth.   The most effective and enduring power is soft, non-coercive - inspirational. A great leader's influence can last for eternity.    Aristotle claimed "Dignity does not consist in possessing honours, but in deserving them" which  Twain updated to:  "It is better to deserve and not have honours than to have them and not deserve them.

It is in the nature of hard power to ally yourself with other powerful institutions, corporations and governments.  Power is intoxicating, but ephemeral. The purpose of power is to accrue and consolidate your power so none can hold you to account.  Since the mid nineties there’s something noxious drifting through the world wide body politic; the rapid decline of respectable institutions through combination of arrogance, anonymity, unaccountability associated with an air of irresponsibility – grab what you can for yourself and yours; bugger anyone else – self interest trumps public interest.

Bureaucracies have become so commonplace and ingrained that we seldom question their purpose and authority, yet, according to anthropologist and anarchist, David Graeber, they inform every aspect of our existence – “bureaucracy has become the water in which we swim”.  According to Dom Amerena, the best artistic satires occur in Kafka’s The Trial and in Heller’s Catch-22. Graeber claims bureaucracies derive their power from the veiled threat of state sanctioned violence against non-compliance or even criticism.

Some critics suggest that corporations and institutions have become the new evil “robber barons” with no public interest in mind. Some have found symptoms of psychopathy, e.g., the callous disregard for the feelings of other people, the incapacity to appreciate human relationships, the reckless disregard for the safety of others, the deceitfulness (continual lying to deceive for profit), the incapacity to experience guilt, and the failure to conform to social norms and respect the law. 

In the 1950’s President Eisenhower was the first to warn us of the subtle incremental dangers of transformative power grabs like the rise of The Military Industrial Complex.  Since then multitudes of other powerful bulwark organisations have risen that threaten our democracy by assuming untrammelled power; including, but not limited to:  multi-national mining companies, the American Rifle Association, Monsanto, Drug and Medical Supply Companies,  the telecommunication industry, the legal/judicial industry.……..

The more monolithic bureaucracies become, the more they are reinforced by their remoteness; their schizoid disconnection from grounded reality. Incestuous institutions like the Catholic Church, the legal judicial fraternity or global corporations can become moribund due to calcification or entrenchment.  A self serving careerist mind set develops that they exist for themselves rather than for the greater good of the public.  Some believe that their institution exists simply to provide them with a job; not the other way around. Subject to groupthink, they become reluctant to hear opposing views or to work with anyone perceived to be on the outside.  Some live high up in an ivory tower; embedded in a bubble world doubling as an echo chamber.  The peer review process becomes dysfunctional.  Only a seismic paradigm shift can change entrenched mind sets.  What we need are not only better individuals; we need a better system to make up for individual flaws, rather than a culture and practice of concealment.  All professions harbor individuals of varying degrees of incompetence for different reasons.  It is in the long term interest of all professions to weed out the worst offenders.  They are a danger – cause injury, not only to the public, but by undermining the faith, confidence and authority of the institution.  The reputation of one Judge/Priest/individual is not more important than maintaining the public confidence of the entire  institution.

Noel Turnbull, adjunct professor of media and communications at RMIT University writes:

It has been axiomatic that the first principle of issues management is always masterly inaction. (Sweep it under the carpet) Think before you act, seriously consider doing nothing because it might aggravate the situation, and remember that it is probably not as big an issue as you think it is.  

Governments deflect responsibility and scrutiny by outsourcing into a nebulous mix of systems and separate decision-makers, leaving no one person or agency ultimately responsible. And the court system has long since become a Kafkaesque mix of arrogated presumptions of solipsistic vanity, mystical understanding, uncanny reasoning, evidenced by rhetorical theatre, institutionalised paranoia and irrational bureaucracy in which any semblance of logic is not merely dismissed but might even be considered folly.

This outsourcing of guardianship enables governments and politicians in particular to operate with complete plausible deniability. Ministers, who used to be considered responsible for what happened in their portfolios, can place their hands on their hearts and swear they know nothing, that they have sought advice but they too are powerless. They need to heed the advice of  Cicero 55 BC: “…the arrogance of officialdom needs to be tempered and controlled,….” 

Meantime, lawyers, activists, gadflys... hell, let's call them what they are, troublemakers -- get ignored without anyone with any authority having to front up and accept responsibility. It's all part of the constant process of delegitimising dissent.   Democracy is not a gift from above, rather a hard fought demand from the people.  Thousands of people died fighting for it in the English Civil War from 1640 – 1660, the French Revolution, 1789 – 1848, and various other struggles for freedom.  It is fragile and vulnerable.  Democracy can only be retained by constant vigilance and publically spirited endeavour.  The greatest danger to democracy is a feeling of powerlessness or abject servility caused by fear, resulting in disconnection or apathy; a frozen form of violence.

Donald Trump got fewer votes than Cain in 2008 and Romney in 2012, but Hilary Clinton received millions of fewer votes than Obama in both election years.  People have become disillusioned with left wing governments.

According to Nick Feik“The American people elected a candidate who promised to upend their political system. As with Brexit, it was a political result that seemed to come out of nowhere. The politics of rage, of populism, of protest, are overwhelming Western nations.

Thomas Drake claims that "the truth-tellers, the whistleblowers and the hacktivists are canaries in the coal mine of democracy. If we do not have rights such as privacy, then citizens are the subjects of the state, not free beings." Edward Snowden’s US defence lawyer

Jesselyn Radack agreed, saying that the "American constitution is designed to protect people from their own government. The people are supposed to govern the government, not the other way around."   Margot Saville, Crikey.com 05/08/14

Whistle blowers, like medieval martyrs, often pay a high price for their public service.   For examples of what happens to whistleblowers in Australia click here.

In a democracy, once accountability and transparency have disappeared, there is no room left for trust. While sunshine may be the best disinfectant, and It's amazing how quickly cockroaches and rats scurry back into the shadows when you shine a light on them, however, pachyderms have thicker hides; they don’t need to hide.    As Tacitus put it,” misdeeds, once exposed, have no refuge but in audacity”.

When institutions like the Catholic Church, Justice system, Politicians or Corporate leaders abuse their power, their diminishing credibility, influence and authority breaks our faith, confidence and trust. Not since the birth of liberal democracy have so many of its key establishments been both so reviled and powerless. Faith in the political process to deliver to the will of the people sits at a level roughly commensurate with that of used car salesmen -  and not without reason. These powerful institutions often give us no reason to believe that they are acting in anything but self or mutual interest, and it is no wonder at all that many of us believe that private interests trump public ones or that politicians are trustworthy.  The first instinctive reaction of public servants being criticised is a siege mentality; close ranks, shield your own - circle the wagons, protect your turf.  Government officials and regulatory authorities are reluctant to actively pursue other silo government agencies for misconduct.

This is a credibility crisis so severe and widespread that it might not be overstating matters to suggest that a dangerous malaise is now infecting the very heart of confidence in the democratic system of government.  It seems there is an increasing deep and persistent political credibility crisis that threatens to make most countries increasingly ungovernable, creating even more failed states.

Due to this collapse of trust, the whole world is fast becoming a catalogue of failed states as we become more afraid of our governments than of any other evil forces.  The American gun lobby claims people need fire arms to protect them from arrogant government officials.  

Throughout history the race has gone to the rich. Power in the paws of the plutocrats, be they monarchs, popes or secular tycoons. Modern democracy promised things would be different. But the meek did not inherit the parliaments. Nor did the Soviets deliver the promised dictatorship of the proletariat.  Now we are witnessing the rise and rise (and occasional fall) of the oligarchs . 

Despite our objections to inequality, to the one per cent, billionaires are buying political supremacy.  And we, the strugglers are voting them in. Berliusconi, and Donald Trump.  Both have oodles of loot, legendary sexual appetites, stratospheric vanity, awesome vulgarity and funny hair.  Both play the media for fools by shamelessly manipulating gross celebrity.  Both are also seen as fools outside their own countries.  Phillip Adams

Dissent

Throughout history there have been many significant champions challenging a dominant but corrupt establishments. Naomi Klein questions how do social movements succeed in forcing elites to forgo substantial political and economic self-interest?   We can think of Jesus Christ who took on the Jewish establishment, Martin Luther who questioned the power of the Catholic Church, Abraham Lincoln, whose anti-slavery movement deprived plantation owners of trillions of dollars, Ghandi who stood up to the profiteering British colonialists, Martin Luther King and segregation, Nelson Mandela and the disparity of Apartheid …..

In more recent times the investigative journalists, Woodward and Bernstein, who exposed the crimes of Watergate, Julian Assange, Bradley Manning and Edward Snowdon disclosing American abuses and Pussy Riot protesting Russian tyranny.  There are many others.  Power brokers trivialise these exposes. 

Shortly after Anna Stepanovna Politkovskaya,  a Russian journalist, writer, and human rights activist, known for her opposition to the Second Chechen War and fierce courageous critic of  President of Russia Vladimir Putin was murdered in the elevator of her block of flats in 2006, Putin ignored the event for days before dismissing her death as insignificant as her work was not important to Russia.

Just like the printing press provided reformers like Martin Luther access to pamphleteering, so modern social media provides the ability for a freer exchange of views and opinions.

What we must avoid is the stereotype of whining or negativism in favour of positive and constructive criticism.  Alarmist, hysterical or rabid language needs to be avoided. 

A captious critic is relentlessly negative; carpingly dismissive of all.   It is important to realise that we are all flawed individuals and criticism, unless constructive, can appear petty, trivial and pedantic if it merely serves the purpose of venting by ranting and raving.

One of the most vocal critics of modern society is John Pilger, however his message is being lost because of his polarity and negativity.   Spiro Agnew is famous for his smearing of opponents: including "pusillanimous pussyfooters," "nattering nabobs of negativism"  and "hopeless,  hysterical hypochondriacs of history."Agnew once described a group of opponents as "an effete corps of impudent snobs who characterize themselves as intellectuals." All products of Spiro Agnew’s speech writers:  Pat Buchanan and William Safire.

To be more effective, stay calm, positive and constructive, but reserve the right to stand up to people who abuse their power. 

Al Gore has been advocating for measures to combat climate change for more than 25 years with many abject failures but also remarkable success. 

"If you have a belief that you strongly hold, that might not be the belief of the colleagues beside you, it is your right -- in fact, it is your duty -- to stand up and say something about it and to express your view. If you do not, you are letting yourself down and, worse than that, you are letting your nation down ..."

We have a moral obligation and duty to have the courage to speak out when we see or hear of injustice.

  Chairman Mao: "no political class would ever give up its power without a struggle".

You may choose to look the other way, but you can never again say you did not know.   William Wilberforce on Slavery

          Evil can only exist if good people stand by and do nothing.    Edmund Burke

          The world is not dangerous because of those who do harm; but because of those who look at it without doing anything.  Albert Einstein

"Silence in the face of evil is itself evil. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act." -- Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“A voice is a human gift, it should be cherished and used..  Powerlessness and silence go together”   Margaret Atwood

He has an enormous anger about injustice and has the courage to speak out loudly and often about the distortions of power in this world."  David Williamson in tribute of Thomas Keneally

"Speak truth to power"   

"I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn."  Anne Frank

"Sometimes you need to poke power in the eye".  As Odysseus does to Prometheus.

"the standard you walk past is the standard you accept"

General David Morrison's responding to Australian Defence Force scandals.

The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos.  Mencken

“Being outraged by injustice is the way to maintain a connection to one’s humanity.  The alternative is indifference.”  

Stephane Hessel, French freedom fighter 

The great American historian and teacher Howard Zinn, was a champion of public education. His textbook A People's History of the United States challenged the propaganda of established power that claimed democracy as a gift from the top, not fought for by us.

"I wanted my students," he wrote, "to leave my classes not just better informed, but more prepared to relinquish the safety of silence, more prepared to speak up, to act against injustice wherever they saw it”.

 This, of course, is a recipe for trouble.

Success in life does not necessarily come from prizes. What is important is the person you are, the kindness you express, the compassion you feel and the courage you show. Go into the world and relinquish the safety of silence and make trouble - remembering that the most important trouble is calling to account those who assume power over our lives.

An edited extract of an address by journalist and filmmaker John Pilger to the Sydney Boys High School annual speech night.

The Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism. The prize is awarded annually to a journalist whose work has "penetrated the established version of events and told an unpalatable truth that exposes establishment propaganda, or 'official drivel', as Martha Gellhorn calls it."

The truth is free; bullshit (spin) can be very expensive.

“Every time we witness an act that we feel to be unjust and we do not act, we become party to the injustice.  Those who are repeatedly passive in the face of injustice soon find their character corroded into servility.                 Julian Assange, 2006

The consequences of  complicity

  First they came for the Communists,

and I didn’t speak up,  because I wasn’t a Communist.

Then they came for the Trade unionists,

and I didn’t speak up,  because I wasn’t a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,

and I didn’t speak up,  because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for the Catholics,

and I didn’t speak up, because I was a Protestant.

Then they came for the Singers,

and I didn’t speak up, because I wasn’t a singer.

Then they came for the Authors,

and I didn’t speak up, because I wasn’t an author.

Then they came for me,  and by that time there was no one

left to speak up for me. One of many versions by Rev. Martin Niemoller, 1945 

A Parody:

First, they came for the bonox drinkers.
I did not speak out -
 
Since I didn't understand the idea of drinking cow.
Then they came for the Lemsip drinkers
And I did not speak out
 
Because I did not have a cold.
Then they came for the minimum chips & vinegar eaters
And I did not speak out -
Because I don't like vinegar.
Then they came for me & my chicken salted chips - There was no-one left to speak for me. 
Bruce Campbell

Make a Difference in the World

(A Peace and Justice Prayer)

 May God bless us with discomfort

at easy answers, half-truths,

superficial relationships, so that 

we will live deep within our hearts.

 

May God bless us with anger at

injustice, oppression, and 

exploitation of people, so that

we will work for justice, equity and peace.

 

May God bless us with tears to

shed for those who suffer from

pain, rejection, crime and war,

so that we will reach out our

hands to comfort them.

 

And God bless us with the foolishness

to think that we can make 

a difference in the world, so

that we will do the things 

which others say cannot be done.

Taken from 600 Blessings and Prayers from Around the World, Twenty Publications. www.23rdpublications.com   On my oldest brother, Aaron’s fridge. 

Knowledge and articulation help to empower people and are a rationale for teaching language:

 A democratic society needs people who have the linguistic abilities which enable them to discuss, evaluate and make sense of what they are told, as well as to take effective action on the basis of their understanding…. Otherwise there can be no genuine participation, but only the imposition of ideas of those who are linguistically capable.   Kingman (1988) 

Bernard of Clairveaux: Instruction & upbringing

            To Robert, a monk,  I know your heart, I know that you can be led more easily by love than driven by fear. . .

           For those superiors[monastic teachers] who wish always to inspire fear in their communities and rarely promote their welfare.                    Learn that you must be mothers to those in your care, not lords; make an effort to arouse the response of love, not of fear; Show affection as a mother would.

Be gentle, avoid harshness, do not resort to blows, expose your breasts: let your bosoms expand with milk not swell with passion.  Sermon on The Song of Songs

Quotes on Power:

       "You know the very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. They don’t alter their views to fit the facts. They alter the  facts to fit their views.   Doctor Who

        "most great men of the past were only there for the beer -- the wealth, prestige and grandeur that went with power." AJP Taylor

        "Knowledge is power".    FRANCIS BACON 

        “Justice and power must be brought together, so that whatever is just may be powerful, and whatever is powerful may be just.”              Blaise Pascal

        “Power is not sufficient evidence of truth”                              Samuel Johnson

 

        “Might is not necessarily right”

 

        “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.” 

        "The attempt to combine wisdom and power has only rarely been successful and then only for a short while”    Albert Einstein

         "He who controls others may be powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still”     Lao Tzu

"Even despots accept the excellence of liberty. The simple truth is that they wish to keep it for themselves and promote the idea that no one else is at all worthy of it. Thus, our opinion of liberty does not reveal our differences but the relative value which we  place on our fellow man. We can state with conviction, therefore, that a man's support for absolute government is in direct proportion to the contempt he feels for his country.   Alexis de Tocqueville

The speech of Norway’s current Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg following the Utøya Island massacre were moving and profound and defiant:

I have a message for those who attacked us. And for those who are behind them.

It is a message from the whole of Norway:
You will not destroy us.
You will not destroy our democracy or our commitment to bringing about a better world.
We are a small nation, but we are a proud nation.
No one is going to bomb us into silence.
No one is going to shoot us into silence.
No one is ever going to frighten us away from being Norway.

We must never give up our values.
We must show that our open society can pass this test too.
That the answer to violence is even more democracy.
Even more humanity.
But never naivity.
That is something we owe the victims and their families.

Not for Stoltenberg or his country any shrill recourse to the rolling back of accrued democratic rights and freedoms in the face of terrorism.

We can keep power in check, which is different to influence

Toby Ralph, The Power Index: 15/02/12

Power, real power, is about having the ability to refit societal frameworks to meet your needs; fixing court cases, reframing laws, commandeering public assets and bending the public mind to your will.

We see it across Africa, through the Middle East, in the non-tiger economies of Asia. It flourishes in Russia and China and positively blooms in North Korea.

But in truth we don't want to see much of it in Canada.

Arouse in others the desire to be great

Rose Herceg

Tuesday, 21 February 2012  The Power index.

Having real influence means being able to inspire those around you to be great. Power Players know they've got something special when they can make their colleagues want to reach for the stars.

My Power heroes always make me want to impress them and I'm constantly trying to find new ways to show them that I'm on the case. Just the very presence of my Power heroes makes me want to be great and I imagine myself coming up with the best ideas of my life. I care deeply about what they think and how they view my ideas.

In return, they seem to bring out my creativity and drive.

With great power comes great responsibility  Rose Herceg

 People say it all the time because it's true. Power Players are aware of the responsibility that comes with Power. When they enter a room it can feel like Moses parting the Red Sea.

And they know their words carry extra calories. This is why they are careful with their words.

Aspiring Power Players should remember this very important piece of advice: once you start to have some Power in a room, your words and actions pack twice the punch.

Don't get predictable by using this Power badly. It's not fair that you need to be twice as careful as everyone else in the room, but that's the price you pay for Power.

Practice this: when someone does something boneheaded, choose not to be that final nail in his or her coffin. Either find a way to help them or shut up. That's real Power.

Power Play #46: Watch the body language

Power Players know that body language can give them away quicker than anything else can. They control their mannerisms and quirks so that no one knows what they're thinking until they say it out loud.

Slouch and you look like you've already lost.

Place your arms akimbo and everyone thinks you're angry.

Look down and you're having a crisis of confidence.

Look up and you're either uncertain or just plain lying.

 Body language can often be manipulative. And Power Players are no fans of manipulation. They never experiment with passive aggression either.

 They understand their body language speaks volumes. It can be used to inspire confidence and show a sense of great calm.

 True Power Players never use their body language to exploit, boss, hurt, humiliate or terrify anyone in the room, no matter what.

 Watch your body language in the mirror. Get to know your natural quirks and understand just how much information your body language can communicate.

 If it's not for public consumption, then make certain your body doesn't betray you.

You have far more impact as a union leader than being a member of parliament – absolutely, especially at a union like ours. We have a big impact on a significant sector of the workforce."  Power Play: Never forfeit your right to fight

Rose Herceg, 

Power Players always reserve the right to fight. Yes, the sentiment may rhyme, but it’s more than just poetic. If something is totally dumb or just plain wrong, Power Players fight the injustice. One good, solid, committed fight can be a far better strategy than trying to smooth things over in a gentle way.

Gentle and subtle are always preferable ways to go it but if what’s required is a nice, juicy knock down, then so be it.

Think about the scene in The Godfather (Part 1), when Clemenza tells Michael Corleone that every few years a good messy feud between the mafia heads is exactly the ticket: clears out the bad blood.

Sometimes a good old-fashioned brawl in business achieves exactly the same thing.

No amount of pussy boy behaviour can deliver you quite the same conclusion as a definitive win/lose fight.

Suit up and fight (when you have to). Sometimes it really is the best course of action.

Paul Pollard writes: Re. " ICAC's 'disgusting' ruling against Labor: Obeids, Macdonald face charges " (yesterday). In your July story on the recent ICAC report on mining leases, you repeat the statement by counsel assisting the inquiry, Geoffrey Watson SC, early in the inquiry, that it would reveal "corruption on a scale probably unexceeded since the days of the Rum Corps". This silly statement shows remarkable ignorance of the seriousness of corrupt state government in much more recent times than the Rum Corps. It is now undisputed that the NSW premier Bob Askin was the recipient of funds from organised crime in NSW for years. Similarly, in Queensland the Police Commissioner Terry Lewis, appointed by Joh Bjelke-Petersen, was on the take from organised crime for years, and went to jail for that (though he continues to protest his innocence), while a number of ministers in the Bjelke- Petersen government were sent to jail for corruption. Having a premier and police commissioners as a part of organised crime for years rather puts the corrupt granting of a coal mining lease by a  minister into perspective.

Temporal Power:

The fall of Rudd is a lesson worth remembering for those who aspire to power: it's hard to get anywhere in this life—except in North Korea—unless you bring people along with you. Power in almost every area depends on some degree of consent. He had it from the people but not from those who knew him and worked with him.

And so he blew the top job. Once the most powerful person in the country, he now has none at all.  A rooster one day; a feather duster the next.

"If you have a belief that you strongly hold, that might not be the belief of the colleagues beside you, it is your right -- in fact, it is your duty -- to stand up and say something about it and to express your view. If you do not, you are letting yourself down and, worse than that, you are letting your nation down ..."

 The fact that they do it is not the thing that should bother us. The fact that we shrug our shoulders and recognise the political calculations for what they are and give them grudging admiration, that's the troubling bit.

We let ourselves be taken for this ride, by participating mutely in a structured political drama that can argue for people's very lives in one month then turn around the next and do the opposite straight faced. One of these elections we might demand better.

That we collude quietly for now is a particularly dark piece of moral turpitude. It shouldn't be assessed against the standards of political cunning, it should be judged against the standards of simple decency.

A counter argument is presented by Homer when he has Achilles’ reply to Odysseus in Hades:

far better, he says, to be a serf among the living than to lord it over the dead”

 Or “it is better to be an abject craven coward, than a dead hero”.      Variation of a quote by Bill Allen

.....................

Question:  Why is it best not to question Authority?

Answer:    It might embarrass them; they don't have any answers either.

Nick Davies of Hack Attack: How the Truth Caught up with Rupert Murdoch fame says:

“The journalist’s fantasy, that gets you out of bed in the morning, is that if you write about a bad thing, then the bad thing will stop.  That isn’t what happens.  You write about a bad thing, the people responsible get furious and run around shouting at you and threatening to sue you, and then they carry on as ever.”

The strongest existence is to go on in the face of obstacles; yet to keep your dignity. .

Albert Camus.

"In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger -- something better, pushing right back."

“Although there is no reason to hope, that is no reason for despair."

“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” ― Theodore Parker - 1810


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