Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Democracy and learning

Submitted without further comment, from the Preface to "The Great Conversation"--

We believe that the reduction of the citizen to an object of
propaganda, private and public, is one of the greatest dangers
to democracy. A prevalent notion is that the great mass of
the people cannot understand and cannot form an indepen-
dent judgment upon any matter; they cannot be educated, in
the sense of developing their intellectual powers, but they
can be bamboozled. The reiteration of slogans, the distortion
of the news, the great storm of propaganda that beats upon
the citizen twenty-four hours a day all his life long mean
either that democracy must fall a prey to the loudest and
most persistent propagandists or that the people must save
themselves by strengthening their minds so that they can ap-
praise the issues for themselves.

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