For years progressives have comforted themselves with age-old biblical adages that the "truth will out" or "the truth will set you free," but waiting around for the truth to set you free is lazy politics. The truth does not reveal itself by virtue of being the truth: it must be told, and we need to learn how to tell the truth more effectively. It must have stories woven around i, works of art made about it; it must be communicated in new ways and marketed so that it sells. It must be embedded in an experience that connects with people's dreams and desires, that resonates with the symbols and mythologies that they find meaningful. The argument here is not for a progressive politics that lies outright, but rather for a propaganda of the truth. As William James once wrote: "Truth happens to an idea."I've just started Duncombe's book, but I'm finding many of his ideas resonating with some thinking that I've done about the construction of truth as a practice of storytelling - the side who tells the better stories possesses a stronger claim for truth. See here for more details of this, basically a discussion of ideological framings used by political actors (politicians) in their performances of policy, with a discussion of version 1.0's The Wages of Spin wrapped around this. Duncombe is far more explicit in his call to embrace dreams and fantasies, and I look forward to seeing where his analysis travels.
Wednesday, 23 January 2008
A propaganda of the truth
From Dream: Re-Imagining Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy by Stephen Duncombe (The New Press, London and New York, 2007, p 20):