Friday, September 6, 2013

What If Socrates Had WiFi?

Many, many, many years ago, I came across a book of essays entitled, “I Dissent” or maybe it was “We Dissent.” I can’t remember now. But, what I do remember is the effect that it had on me. It was the first time that I encountered a validity to the idea of challenging authority. The essays, or at least my internalization of them, presented the challenge of authority as one responsibility of the citizens of a democracy. In this context, the challenge is not a call to man the barracks; it is not to become oppositional simply for the sake of it; it is not to obstruct, as so many in our current Congress appear to believe. It is an entreaty to question and to participate in society with intellect, as well as heart.

I am of the opinion that without a knowledge of history, dissent risks advancing without the substance necessary to persuasion. My formal education in America, alas, did not provide me with a conversance of how human beings got from “there” to “here.” What it did give me was the desire to know. And in the 21st Century that’s all one needs. Information on any and everything is just a click away, waiting for our encounters to make some reasonable sense of it all. Plus, we have the wealth of services at public libraries. I want a bumper sticker that says “Love Your Librarian!”

Our government tells us the what of policies, rarely does it tell us the whys of policies, and never does it tell us the possible consequences of policies, potential or real. These things we must ferret out for ourselves - if we want to know.

Right now, I’m waiting to see if the G20 Summit gets around to discussing how the international community will deal with those wealthy individuals and corporations who have become such adept tax dodgers, and, hoping that we don’t punish one immoral act with another in the Middle East. In the meantime, I dissent.

1 comment:

  1. I remember learning about Socrates. He recognized dissent as energy in the political debate. Dissent could win or fail to be considered in making laws.
    I think that Socrates described a political dynamic that exists in political decisions.
    To prove his statements, he drank hemlock.
    Elected leaders today have political decisions to make.
    Obama offers to fill their cups with the milk and honey of presidential leadership that helps America prosper and keeps us secure.
    The elected leaders who oppose Obama are drinking from a cup filled with political hemlock. The Republicans drink political hemlock
    by opposing President Obama in every political debate. The Republican leadership needs to express opposition to Obama on every political decision. The argument is stated as, I oppose our president. The tone of the argument expresses their pain from drinking political hemlock.
    They ignore the good that Obama achieves with his leadership.
    Elected leaders need to drink milk and honey in order to get re-elected. The choice is to side with President Obama, or oppose him.
    Elected leaders need to choose to support the decisions that President Obama in order to benefit with political milk and honey. Leaders that choose political hemlock in every debate will not get re-elected.