“…inhabitants of a world whose assumptions are false, and self-descriptions fraudulent.”

Here’s a piece worth sharing on the subject of politics and truth (we might also through journalism in there too for good measure)….First of all, John Kay on Vaclav Havel:

Havel emphasised the mechanical nature of the process of effusion. “Part of the essence of the post-totalitarian system,” he said, “is that it draws everyone into its sphere of power, not so they may realise themselves as human beings, but so they may surrender their human identity in favour of the system.”

The empty exhortation of “workers of the world unite!” conceals the reality of the power structure that lies behind it. But the vacuous rhetoric traps the speaker as well as the hearer, the leaders as well as the led. “Both are objects in a system of control, but at the same time they are its subjects,” wrote Havel. They are inhabitants of a world whose assumptions are false, and self-descriptions fraudulent.

It put me in mind of this piece I blogged on Slugger about six years ago by Jerry Fodor:

It is a characteristic relativist claim that, in principle, we can always make up alternative versions of the stories that we tell about the world. But one finds, if one actually tries, that it is surprisingly hard to do so.