The Right to Understand

I have a lot of time for Naomi Klein, which is saying something because these days my standard reaction to anyone trying to speak about politics is usually scorn and derision, because they’re usually spouting total rubbish. But Naomi Klein, she talks sense, and it’s backed up by fact. I’m a physicist, I can’t help it, I’m a sucker for good evidence. But more importantly than anything, she doesn’t just deliver the bad news, she offers a solution. Not a cure. Not a panacea. Not a key to any utopia. Because there are no perfect worlds, some people, no matter the society they live in, will lie, cheat, and steal, but not nearly as many people as you might think. I call myself a misanthrope. Not so much these days but I’ve had always had a tendency towards, lets say, a lack of faith in humankind. But I’m optimistic, when empowered with knowledge and the agency to control their own futures, people can be a force for good. And a powerful one. Which is why what people like Naomi Klein and Owen Jones are doing is so important, granting people the right to understand.

It was almost exactly a year ago when I first picked up No Logo, the story of how that happened a whole other blog post, and my perception of the world has shifted so dramatically I’m not sure if I would recognise myself. I won’t lie, the change in perspective hasn’t been an entirely happy one, it’s set me at odds with my parents, though that’s not too unusual, and more recently, some of my closest friends. I might even say that it worsened my depression, but despite all of that I’m still following this lead, having devoured every book on neo-liberalism, free markets and corporatism I could get my hands on and done my fair share of yelling at the TV, I suddenly have something real, concrete to believe in. Not something as abstract as free speech, or ‘equality’, whatever interpretation of those words is being discussed at any given moment. I believe in people. I believe in real democracy, not the version we’re being force fed at the moment. And, more importantly, I believe in myself. And that’s a right so many people have so long been denied, the right to understand the world they live in, and feel a part of it.

I suppose this is one of those Power to the People moments, I’m not telling you to go read Naomi Klein’s books, or any books at all if you don’t want to. Though I will recommend No Logo and the more recently published No is Not Enough, if you’re interested. But I am asking you to listen with a critical ear, demand evidence, from everyone, even the people fighting your battles, because in the end lies and deceit in your favour, is still lies and deceit. And I won’t stand for it.

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