Will we ever speak truth to power?

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Steve3007
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Will we ever speak truth to power?

Post by Steve3007 » October 11th, 2017, 9:05 am

Harvey Weinstein, Donald Trump, Jimmy Saville, Rolf Harris, Henry VIII etc.

It seems that for as long as we can remember powerful old men have used their positions to pressure younger women into various sexual acts. And other people in the societies in which they lived have largely known about it but either been powerless to stop it, felt that they were powerless to stop it, or simply not cared because it seemed "normal" at the time.

In "western" societies, at least, we like to think that we are slowly consigning this kind of thing to the history books and creating a culture in which it is possible to "speak truth to power" in this and other contexts. But are we? Or is it always going to be a sad logical inevitability that having power means that the person wielding that power can give the weaker person a simple non-explicit but obvious choice: "Do what I want if you want the benefits of my power". And they can say a similar thing to wider society: "The benefit to you of having me on your side outweigh the harms I am doing to this one person." Again, not always as explicitly as that but just as clear.
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Burning ghost
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Re: Will we ever speak truth to power?

Post by Burning ghost » October 13th, 2017, 6:27 am

I don't quite understand the question :/

The best I can manage is to say I think some people will always be willing to "trade" their morality for some perceived "benefit".
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Steve3007
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Re: Will we ever speak truth to power?

Post by Steve3007 » October 13th, 2017, 7:36 am

Who is "trading their morality"?
"Even men with steel hearts love to see a dog on the pitch."

Burning ghost
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Re: Will we ever speak truth to power?

Post by Burning ghost » October 13th, 2017, 10:08 am

Steve3007 wrote:Who is "trading their morality"?
Humans. I was thinking along the lines of the recent scandal. Meaning I expect some women were quite happy to trade sex for an immediate career boost. If both parties agree to the deal then I see no wrong doing (although I find it immoral in respect to those not willing to

Like I said, not really sure what your question is? "truth to power"?
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Steve3007
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Re: Will we ever speak truth to power?

Post by Steve3007 » October 13th, 2017, 10:16 am

I called the topic "Will we ever speak truth to power?" because I wanted to explore whether we will ever succeed in creating a society in which powerful men like Harvey Weinstein can be stood up to. i.e. whether we can "speak truth" to them. I used that expression because it's commonly used in the media to describe the act of the relatively powerless (often journalists) verbally confronting powerful people without fear.
I expect some women were quite happy to trade sex for an immediate career boost. If both parties agree to the deal then I see no wrong doing.
I disagree because it's not as simple as that. As I said in the OP, when you have power you can always use it to persuade and you can always do it in such a way that the victim can be portrayed as having consented, as long as you don't actually physically overpower them. That doesn't mean that it is genuine and willing consent in any meaningful sense.
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Re: Will we ever speak truth to power?

Post by Burning ghost » October 13th, 2017, 10:34 am

Of course it's not that simple. It can work both ways with the "victim" actually being the one accused. What I was trying to point out was that those not willing to sleep with person X suffer a disadvantage, and that if this kind of thing is known to happen then it is unprofessional. Of course it is hard to prove that person Y slept with person X to get a promotion though, and I doubt that this is limited to sexual exchanges.

If someone is threatening then you can prosecute them.

I've never heard that term before. I guess many people do feel over powered by certain situations.
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Greta
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Re: Will we ever speak truth to power?

Post by Greta » October 13th, 2017, 5:11 pm

People will always speak the truth to power, just as the powerful will always have their orbiting sycophants. The latter will tend to enjoy more wealth and security than the former. However, those who speak the truth can easily find themselves unemployed - or becoming international fugitives with trumped-up rape charges against them, or dying in a car accident, or ...

Steve3007
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Re: Will we ever speak truth to power?

Post by Steve3007 » October 13th, 2017, 6:14 pm

Greta:
trumped-up rape charges against them
Assange? I don't know much about the details of the case, but do you really think it was trumped up for political reasons because of Wikileaks?

-- Updated Fri Oct 13, 2017 11:18 pm to add the following --

The name I most associate with the expression "Speak truth to power" is Maria Colvin, the journalist who was (the evidence strongly suggests) killed by the Syrian armed forces while reporting from Homs.

theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/feb/ ... peak-truth

-- Updated Fri Oct 13, 2017 11:19 pm to add the following --

(That's Marie, not Maria. Sorry Marie. Wherever you are, or aren't.)
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Greta
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Re: Will we ever speak truth to power?

Post by Greta » October 13th, 2017, 9:22 pm

Steve3007 wrote:Greta:
trumped-up rape charges against them
Assange? I don't know much about the details of the case, but do you really think it was trumped up for political reasons because of Wikileaks?

-- Updated Fri Oct 13, 2017 11:18 pm to add the following --

The name I most associate with the expression "Speak truth to power" is Marie Colvin, the journalist who was (the evidence strongly suggests) killed by the Syrian armed forces while reporting from Homs.

theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/feb/ ... peak-truth
The rape charges were most convenient, don't you think?

The one that comes to mind for me is Karen Silkwood.

Also, having worked in OH&S, you'll find that whistleblowing employees tend not to do so well afterwards.

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Re: Will we ever speak truth to power?

Post by LuckyR » October 15th, 2017, 2:45 am

Burning ghost wrote:Of course it's not that simple. It can work both ways with the "victim" actually being the one accused. What I was trying to point out was that those not willing to sleep with person X suffer a disadvantage, and that if this kind of thing is known to happen then it is unprofessional. Of course it is hard to prove that person Y slept with person X to get a promotion though, and I doubt that this is limited to sexual exchanges.

If someone is threatening then you can prosecute them.

I've never heard that term before. I guess many people do feel over powered by certain situations.
Finally someone identifies the other victim, (the first victim being the actress who deserved the role but wasn't hit upon and thus didn't get the part when another actress slept with the producer). In this era, where the powerful can be ruined if this sort of thing goes public, actresses who accept the proposition perpetuate the problem, ie they are enablers, though they prefer to be seen as victims.
"As usual... it depends."

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