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Educate against Propaganda

Comment 10th August 2010

Put education in critical thinking onto the political agenda, prevent monopolies on the press, preserve and support politically independent sources of information (e.g. BBC), remove sites like this that are open to abuse and manipulation, and encourage in depth analysis and the use of genuinely independent experts to inform policy rather than public opinion, which is so very easily manipulated.

Why does this matter?

An understanding needs to be fostered in the public as to how easy it is to influence public opinion, even whilst appearing to be following it. Currently most newspapers are feeding us a viewpoint that is in line with that of the governement and with big business, to the extent that our "free press" is probably similarly free to that of the former soviet union. Sites like this do nothing to help the situation, because they allow people to air views that have no basis in fact and there is no system to analyse the truth or practicalities of individual suggestions, so there is lots of talk but we don't actually learn anything.

Sites like this are also open to abuse – any idea those with power want to take hold in the national consciousness can be planted on a page like this just as it can be planted on a newspaper front page. So, we occupy ourselves getting angry at the people they tell us to get angry at – the most vulnerable and disenfranchised members of the community such as asylum seekers or people on benefits (watch out for single mums, all immigrants, people with disability, gays, women, moslems etc etc.). Until our education system encourages critical thinking powerful people will get away with the most horrendous abuses of their privelege while we just sit and channel all our anger in the wrong directions.

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