Taughannock Falls

Taughannock Falls
from: althouse.blogspot.com

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Clearing our minds of the fog of ignorance

Thomas Paine was a champion of the American Revolution who inspired other patriots to risk their lives for a worthy cause. Now, more than two centuries later, his words can still inspire us.

The Revolutions of America and France have thrown a beam of light over the world, which reaches into man. The enormous expense of governments has provoked people to think, by making them feel; and when once the veil begins to rend, it admits not of repair. Ignorance is of a peculiar nature: once dispelled, it is impossible to re-establish it. It is not originally a thing of itself, but is only the absence of knowledge; and though man may be kept ignorant, he cannot be made ignorant. The mind, in discovering truth, acts in the same manner as it acts through the eye in discovering objects; when once any object has been seen, it is impossible to put the mind back to the same condition it was in before it saw it. Those who talk of a counter-revolution in France, show how little they understand of man. There does not exist in the compass of language an arrangement of words to express so much as the means of effecting a counter-revolution. The means must be an obliteration of knowledge; and it has never yet been discovered how to make man unknow his knowledge, or unthink his thoughts.

The plutocrats in this country have spent generations trying to cloud the thinking of ordinary citizens. They have invested heavily, in promoting the myth that concentrating ever more wealth in the hands of a few makes our economy more "competitive" and "efficient." This has never been an easy lie to tell, because it relies on people not recognizing the obvious negative consequences for them of the upward transfer of wealth. Yet, until the recent attack on public-sector unions in Wisconsin, I was afraid that too many Americans were living in a demoralized stupor, unable to understand how they were being shafted.

The last couple of weeks has seen the mainstream media try in desperation to minimize the significance of the protests in Madison, and throughout the country. But Americans have begun to wake up. They understand now that plutocrats like the Koch brothers and their Republican puppets are not good for most people in this country. Will they be able to organize themselves in order to reclaim this country, and fight back in a class war that they have been losing for thirty years? We shall see, but I must confess to being more hopeful today than I've been for a long time.


hectorp said...

It is time for all true patriots to fight back against the plutocrats. We know how corrupt they are, now we need to show how strong we are.

Cletis L. Stump said...

Great reference to Paine, Ulysses. One of my heroes.

Marx thought religion was the opium of the prolatariat. He might have augmented that thought had he ever seen a television. Mindless, deadening programming by and large that has created droids as opposed to citizens.

Courage, brave Ulysses, there is indeed a blue tide rising and jasmine is in the air.