Throwing the Flag on Whistleblowers

Friday, June 14, 2013

I don't agree with everything Brendan O'Neill says in his essay about the increasingly common elevation of whistleblowers to iconic status, but he makes a number of valuable points, such as the following:

The cult of the whistleblower also casts a harsh light on modern-day radicalism. The reliance of everyone from anti-war activists to civil liberties agitators on the revelations of One Brave Man, and their acceptance of the idea that there's "wilful ignorance" among the public, speaks to an increasingly elitist, almost Vatican-like politics, which treats social change as something to be brought about by tiny numbers of brave individuals in the face of general stupidity. [minor format edits, bold added]
The idea that the man on the street is an idiot reveals a lack of appreciation for the role of philosophical ideas in shaping a culture (and thus, history) and a lack of confidence (at best) in reason. I would also say that, based my encounters with this and similar phenomena, the contempt for the man of the street exemplified by such terms as "sheeple" and the facile use of the term "wilful ignorance" to smear opponents is an example of psychological projection.

Being in the know isn't a result of whom one listens to, but of how much mental work one does, and its quality. Effecting cultural change is likewise a process of winning minds, one at a time, and not of winning instant converts via "revelation".

-- CAV

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