Presentation on theme: "Plato’s Allegory of the Cave (Republic, Bk. VII) Appearance vs Reality Perception is Reality."— Presentation transcript:
Plato’s Allegory of the Cave (Republic, Bk. VII) Appearance vs Reality Perception is Reality
Micro-level freedom: control over your immediate surroundings Macro-level freedom: control over the institutional structures that determine the range of possible actions open to you
Is micro level freedom real freedom? To what extent do we have the capability to determine the conditions within which we live our lives? Is institutional power at the macro-level used to promote and protect or undermine and thwart freedom at the micro-level? Do we in fact live in such a world: cultivates, promotes, creates the conditions within which macro-level freedom flourishes?
Democracy or Corporatocracy? Representative Democracy: A constitutional, democratic republic. A government by representatives (the republic), deriving their power from the consent of the governed (democracy), operating under the rule of law (the Constitution). Corporatocracy: government of, by, and for the interests of corporations
A Chomskian interpretation of Plato’s Allegory of the Cave (“Media Control”) 1.Those who own society – Corporations (Finance, Insurance, Health, Communications, Military Contractors) 2.Those who enable/act in the service of those who own society – Politicians 3.Those who manufacture consent by shaping public opinion – Media 4.Thundering Herd – The Public: Follow orders from the governing elite; enjoy a marginalized ‘freedom’
Conspiracy theory ? 1.Our political system engages citizens in participatory democracy 2.Corporations do not engage in deceit and lying, or manifest a reckless disregard for the safety of the public 3.Government agencies protect the public good 4.The media inform the public about important issues & give fair, balanced, and critical coverage of divergent points of view.
Politics 2004 Commission on Presidential “Debates” Government regulation and oversight FDA, Vioxx FCC, media consolidation Global hegemony (“The National Security Strategy of the United States of America,” September 2002.)
The Economy Credit Card deregulation Wal-Mart – Good Old American Values Changes to Bankruptcy Law No serious nation-wide debate on GATT, NAFTA, World Bank/WTO 'debt peonage' society
Media Armstrong Williams case: "covert propaganda,“ ‘No Child Left Behind,’ 20+ federal agencies prepackaging video “news” releases (VNR) In 2002, syndicated columnist Maggie Gallagher repeatedly defended President Bush's push for a $300 million initiative encouraging marriage as a way of strengthening families. Jeff Gannon, faux ‘journalist’
Framing the ‘News’ The chosen agenda becomes the ‘news’ – pubic opinion becomes a perfunctory exercise in accepting a prefabricated agenda, how the issues are framed Public: not engaged as participants in shaping the debate about how the agenda is formed. George Lakoff: “he who frames the issue, wins” e.g., tax = revenue enhancement
The United States of Amnesia Attacks on language and our ability to function as meaning makers and communicators – undermining effective communication serves two purposes: –Conceals reality & deception, and –Makes us unable to share our concerns with others and take concerted, corrective action
“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.... Anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness.” George Orwell “The Freedom of the Press”
"If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear." George Orwell “The Freedom of the Press”
What Makes People Free? Education Historical perspective Critical thinking Access to a diversity of views: Internet Resistance to a non-literate culture Civic virtue Personal Authenticity