W.E.B. Du Bois - the current political crisis
W.E.B. Du Bois deserves far more attention as a political and social thinker than he is given. Think alongside Thoreau and Emerson in high school texts. Take this for example:
"Propaganda is the effort not necessarily to spread the Truth, but to make people BELIEVE that what they hear is true; and to the propagandist any means which will accomplish this end of passionate, of unwavering and of forcible uncritical belief is justifiable. This is a dangerous but a very widespread method of public teaching today and what makes it most dangerous is the use which it makes of the Lie.
Lying is so dangerous an enemy to organized human life that usually it is regarded as an absolutely unjustifiable instrument of human advance. Yet manifestly everyone admits certain extreme cases when a deliberate Lie can be defended; and many are willing to use a partial truth to gain a good end while millions are willing without any attempt at investigation or corroboration to assume as true anything that they passionately wish to be true.
Propaganda then, with large use of the deliberate Lie, the Half Truth and the Unproven Wish, has become a tremendous weapon in our day and is used particularly by the Dominant Wills to establish themselves in power by voluntary limitation of the Right of Challenge, or in other words by limiting the right to vote or the votable questions or the general field of democratic government."
From what was to be Chapter 1 of W.E.B. Du Bois magnum opus The Black Man and the Wounded World. It was never published. Posthumous attempts were abandoned as impossible to carry out the unfinished and meticulous research Du Bois demanded of himself. A marvelous account of this is available in The Wounded World: W.E.B. Du Bois and the First World War, by Chad L. Williams Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2023
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