Friday, March 10, 2006

Pierre Tristam

“If false teaching leads to tyranny and we cannot discover absolute truths,” the great and indestructible Jacques Barzun wrote in Of Human Freedom . . . “what can we teach that is not open to the charge of propaganda? The answer is: the diffusion of ideas is propaganda, whether fascist, communist, or democratic. The democratic hope has always been to raise the standard of gullibility, to sharpen judgment, to confront opposite propagandas.” That democratic hope these days shines as dimly as an overshadowed star in the recesses of Orion. This is an age of beliefs blind, blinding and bleached of the redeeming corollary of beliefs in less fanatical ages: the capacity for good will.
— Pierre Tristam, “Genesis of Gullibility: Beliefs, Superstitions, Lies” in Candide’s Notebooks