Our evidence, now, is increasingly damning
I must say, it is great relief to me that naive trust in our leaders is finally becoming a topic of public question. Our hopes of continuing as a species are threatened, as much by anything else, by the blind faith we bestow in politicians, journalists and all perceived figures of intellectual authority. There really are intellectual authorities we should be listening to, but the truths they stand for – like an uncompromising critique of ourselves; an understanding of our own fallibility – these truths, like all truths, are so often obscured by what we want to believe.
It should be looked on with great shame that we have complied so willingly in cementing the power of leaders who fall, ethically, so immeasurably short. We should trust nothing and no one on faith, our views should be determined through the rigours of reason alone. Like the falling tyrants of the religious hierarchy, we should believe the most cautiously those who gain power from our trust. I hope that when this debate is viewed in retrospect the link between ignorant faith and the unconscionable actions of our leaders is unmistakably clear. The power has always been with the people. It is only by a small abstraction that that power is harnessed by those who can influence the masses. It is fair to say we have been tricked more than twice.
What I mean is that I hope the list of policies that have been sold to the public, so often founded on conjecture, lies, fantasy and fear, I hope those policies come to ring like a siren in our minds. A reminder of the evil we were complicit in because we were too trusting. To any who believe that mass surveillance, for example, is really an initiative to protect us from ‘terrorism’; think how the US state reacted to its uncovering. It is typical now that we are being asked by them to believe a lie. They are asking us to believe that this secret project was all in our interest, that, so committed to protecting us they were, they were willing even to pass up on credit for doing their jobs. When has a politician ever done their job without crassly detailing each facet of their success at every public opportunity? And yet, as Obama smiles and charms, too much faith remains. The surveillance programme is an instrument of power. An immense one.
This current adolescence of our civilised history must be looked back on with the stone face of wisdom, a wisdom cognizant of the suffering, oppression and injustice we have allowed. A wisdom that has taken far too long to mature. If we can define publicly the ways in which our leaders are failing us, then we will be educating our collective. A more educated collective could amass the voting power to elect ethically acceptable leaders. Even the standards of mainstream journalism could rise if the cost of blind faith was understood more clearly.