The Insidious Box


In the following three essays there is a common theme, namely one of thought control. In the modern world with its variety of media and emphasis on education it would seem that we should be thinking more freely than ever.

Unfortunately there is a great potential with television and other media to present a highly skewed interpretation of the world. This in turn allows the media to virtually brainwash large sections of the population, especially those with poorly developed skills for critical thinking.

If we were better served by our education systems it would not be such a problem. A good education should equip students to think clearly and critically. Most of our schools fail in this respect and to worsen the problem there is a tendency to teach kids what to think rather than how to think. Indoctrination is getting the better of education.

One would expect that in a democracy that free speech would be paramount. In fact it is impossible to have a real democracy without free speech. A number of state governments and the Federal government have seen fit to interfere with this right by passing so-called anti-vilification laws.

Between manipulation of thought by the media and repressive laws our democracy and way of life are in serious danger. The more our rights to free speech and thought are whittled away the more our democracy is likely to become a sham. A 'guided' democracy is little more than a dictatorship under a democratic disguise.

If we are serious about retaining a proper level of civil and political rights for all citizens then we should be repealing laws that inhibit or restrict freedom of speech and thought. We should also be demanding that our education authorities introduce a curriculum aimed at strengthening young people's commitment to democracy and encouraging them to develop a healthy cynicism towards the manipulative effects of the media.

As we advance technologically and in other ways, we should also be improving and developing our democracy. Unfortunately if we are not vigilant we could see an increasingly less democratic Australia develop. Hopefully the following essays will help in some small way to stop this happening.

Roger Hughes

The Insidious Box