This time of year is a good point at which to reflect and the older I get the more I realize that I, along with everyone else, have been fed a narrative of misinformation, half-truths and downright lies. It certainly happened at school and it may have started with my parents but it has certainly gone on throughout my adult life. It has been a constant drip of commentary, much of it propaganda, either to keep me in my place or to prepare me for what society may need from me.
Over the last few years I realize that I have had to unlearn many things which I had been taught and had deep down believed to be true, things such as:
- The British have a sense of fair play. The last few years have shown that lying and cheating are alive, well and, unfortunately, effective.
- Developing countries are backward due to bad government and low intellect. The global economic system is governed by the rich countries and heavily slanted in favour of them.
- The UK is a tolerant place. Xenophobia end hate crimes are on the rise, stoked by a fervent media and political disinformation
- There is no need to learn another language as everyone speaks English. It may be the lingua franca of business but for how long? Chinese will one day become as ubiquitous.
- We are the mother of democracy. We have not had a government that earned more than 50% of the popular vote since 1931. First Past the Post does nothing to represent us. Our system is undemocratic.
- Everyone is equal before the law. The law has become prohibitively expensive and only the very well off can afford proper representation.
- If you work hard you can achieve anything you want. The people who work the hardest are often the most disenfranchised in society. Hard work in itself is no panacea.
- Being poor is a lifestyle choice. Very few people choose to be poor. Most poverty is due to poor circumstances, health problems or luck. The difference between poor people and the rich is the lack of money.
- The President of the USA is the leader of the free world. Trump has proved that the American system is no better than any other. The president of the USA may be one of the most powerful people in the world but that power is used to maintain the USA’s hold over the globe.
The list goes on and I ask you to take a step back from what you hold dear and believe to be true. Make it your New Year’s resolution to challenge your perceptions. You may be shocked by what you find.