For centuries people have been kept in the dark about so much particularly when it comes to religion, politics and social institutions. Some would argue that certain things should remain clandestine or secretive for our own protection and security; others would say that we as the people have more power than any higher governmental or established body because we select who wields that sacred power and therefore we should be privy to everything. I am of the opinion that it’s difficult to be part of either side; I believe it is more a case of understanding and knowing what will truly affect us in the long-run and what will have the biggest ramifications.
In the past few weeks we’ve heard about the alleged lurid actions of the film industry mogul, Harvey Weinstein. Here is a man that embodies the very notion that Charles de Montesquieu described, that ‘every man invested with power is apt to abuse it and to carry his authority as far as it will go.’ Weinstein was the epitome of the immense power of Hollywood and the entertainment industry. With funds in excess and a formidable movie empire, it seemed that Weinstein believed that he could do anything beyond reproach and get away with it, and this was especially the case with women. Truth and transparency remained hidden for decades; women, actresses and entertainers alike, came forward in their droves as victims of his indecency. Due to fear and threat of becoming pariahs of the entertainment world, these women were silenced. Only in 2017, have these women felt strong and courageous enough to report their horrible experiences to The New York Times, whom as an established journalistic medium, knew it was its duty to tell their stories. Why did it take so long for such truths to be revealed so that less women would be affected by one man? Was it the social establishment? Was it that women were made to feel helpless and undignified? If transparency had been supported decades before, less would be affected by such a malicious and predatorial individual.
From social truths to historical truths, it is now the deadline for the President’s choice to release the last classified documents of the JFK assassination. As soon as the event took place back in November 1963, historians, conspiracy theorists and even your everyday individual, have all questioned the very nature of what happened. Was it a lone gunman? Was it part of a wider mission? Above all else why did it happen? We as the people were confined to one judicial decision held by the work of the Warren Commission in 1964, that the sole suspect and executor of the assassination was Lee Harvey Oswald and that it was now time to move on from this. But why do you think no one has moved on?
We as humans are creatures of inquisition and if we’re not satisfied with what we have been told we seek out truth and transparency ourselves and this is what has happened up until now. I believe that the remaining documents hold a shattering truth that has been kept away from us for over 50 years and that I believe will stop all mind-boggling theories and settle everything once and for all. Many have argued that whatever has been documented that still remains secretive has its reasons for staying under wraps; that may be by sharing what has been outlined in these papers will threaten the very notion of a free democracy, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. In a sad state of irony, it was JFK that stated that ’the great enemy of truth is very often not the lie – deliberate, contrived and dishonest – but the myth – persistent, persuasive and unrealistic.’ In his very own words, JFK almost clairvoyantly saw what will happen. Institutions, both governmental and judicial, have upheld a verdict by pure persistency and persuasiveness, after all if their decision was correct there would be no need to release the documents in stages or hold hostage the last few.
The power of truth and transparency has been demonstrated in the above two cases almost too easily but, why is it that the truth is so feared? Is the Swiss moral philosopher Henri-Frédéric Amiel correct in surmising that, ‘what governs men is the fear of truth’? I believe that for a period of time this notion did resonate because it was commonly perceived that truth and rationale could only be understood by an elite and educated few. We have since moved on from such a narrow perception and now we as the people are able to accept such truths and transparencies that we can lobby for changes to be made at the highest of levels. While such openness may not be immediate, when it does make its way to the surface, a lot can be done to stop detrimental ramifications and promote a better way of living.