The Human Right to Answers – Let’s make it a “Previously” Unthinkable - Alcyonenews

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Posted December 29, 2023

The Human Right to Answers – Let’s make it a “Previously” Unthinkable

This piece carries much from my January 17, 2020, column “Ideas Bank - Antidote for Power Corruption.”  I advocate for the Ideas Bank, a concept I developed in the 1960s in the course of my work in the Bay of Fundy Tidal Power Study.  This was new science and elicited many “suggestions”.  I had joined the public service to work on that project and being “new” to the system, I was struck by the reckless “wastebasketting” of peoples’ submissions.  I acted to reverse that, but met systemic contempt for the public.  Seasoned dispensers of traditional “pink slips” loathed hoi polloi “advice” and tag the writers “wasteful”.

Some of those ideas could take a day’s work or more to answer, I was told and I grabbed that.  If it takes that long to evaluate an idea, it surely merits it, I reasoned. Ideas inherently merit the time it takes to assess them – denying that handicaps civilization.  I stand on that.

I recognize the human endowment of curiosity which renders Enquiry a Human Right. On the political stage and some other situations such as education, the Right to Question includes the Entitlement to an Answer, for a question in isolation from the answer is akin to a candle without wick – it damns us to live in the dark.  The soaring “Democratic Deficit” currently menacing the Land is traceable to us being stripped of our entitlement to Answers.

In effect all questions are “answered”, even if with a “pink slip”, poppycock or silence.  It is to defeat that the culprits resort to “Wastebasketting”. I use this word to denote blanking-out the Question & Answer event, that is to say, to hide the whole thing “from a to z”.  They toss it to be sucked in some astronomical blackhole.  This leaves the public ignorant of the event and lets the culprits free to wastebasket again.  On the whole, the harm done the society is enormous, most emanating from the Wastebasketting trope. The people can assess the question and the response given and draw conclusions therefrom.  But that entitlement is stolen by the wastebasketeers.

It is imperative therefore to condemn Wastbasketting; We must recognize it for being a dire subversive activity; we need to proclaim the entitlement of the people  to ask questions; the obligation of the magistrates to answer these questions; and the entitlement of the whole society to see the whole sequence.  For who poses the question may be a citizen or a few but the answer belongs to all.

The above are essential but insufficient to ensure Reason will prevail.  A flash in the pan is temporary, flare-ups are easily put out by the brigades of mind-manipulators currently unleashed on the society.  Characteristically, in managing the Dark Ages the Christianists did not rest after “burning” the books which they did with abandon.  They launched a perpetual scrambling of the minds of the people, to ensure the monopoly of their own dogma.  They kept on summoning the people into cathedrals which were cleverly designed conducive to hallucination; Yearly they would “re-stage” the birth and the death of Christ for the coming generations to “connect”; Daily they rang the church bells to call the people to break from tilling the land to praise and pray to the God “American Gothic” fashion.  And they would stage more faith-boosting shows the year around.  Churchill gauged the power of perseverance in the adage: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts”.

We need keep vigilance over the Human Right to Questions and its adjunct entitlement to Response.  Above all, we need to ensure that the whole conversation transpires in the open, in front of the public eye.  This will keep the questions alive, open to all, to those who may help, and to those who may scorn, to who may approve and to those who improve the questions, to those who may in any way cause the ball to reach the goal.

Seventy years ago, Joseph Welch asked Joseph McCarthy a simple question: “At long last, Sir, have you no decency left?”  It was this that brought down the miasma of McCarthyism.  It transpired in front of the TV Cameras.  It blasted McCarthyism to smithereens only because it could not be Wastebasketted because the cat was out of the bag.

There are a host of reasons dictating restructuring the interface between people and government.  Some are new, others have been known for a long time, many are traceable to Pericles and Plato.  They converge to make the Ideas Bank if not a vaccine against Czarism, certainly an essential element of Democracy.  For without the Ideas Bank, or something better than that, when someone thinks one, whatever we need, desire and deserve will remain unattainable.

Let’s do it this year, in Canada. Let’s proclaim 2024 the year of the “Human Right to Answer”.  Let’s Make it a “Previously Unthinkable”.  The world expect that from us.
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