This piece was exclusive done for PTH.
The war on human mind; Conspiracy or not – who should decide?
“The basic tool for the manipulation of reality is the manipulation of words. If you can control the meaning of words, you can control the people who must use the words.” – Philip K. Dick
We have been watching the so called democratic governments around the world, using words to enchain millions of minds and turn people into their obedient machines without a will and without any thoughtfulness in their actions beyond the lies are they are fed to, by their leaders – read role model, for many. What really makes words a bigger threat to freedom, justice, and truth than bullets is how they manipulate minds of the masses into submission. I call it speech enslavement, – they use words to bring people to compliance.
I’d like to mention a rather relative expression here that we all have so often heard of and most of us even despise; “conspiracy theory”. What is conspiracy theory really? Have we ever considered how often we have watched leaders user this term to shrug off things and how many times have this been an alternative answer to rather off beating questions? The term “conspiracy theory” has thrown in more to the obliteration and enslavement of people in Pakistan than the oligarchical Establishment’s assassinations of reformers like Hakeem Saeed, Salman Taseer, Shahbaz Bhatti, Saleem Shahzad and other truth-telling speech a’meliorators. The stigma surrounding ideas and topics that are collectively referred to as “conspiracy theories” thwarts away the possible critical thinking among the masses avoiding to reveal the exact intentions of their biased leaders and the policies ratified by their governments.
The say that matters like 9/11 truth or the Kerry Lugar Bill are out of bounds and don’t belong in proper political discussion is an attack on free speech and justice. It is actually very simple to understand. Whenever an idea or opinion is demarcated as crazy, paranoid, or cynical by ‘politically privileged’ and the Establishment it means they are afraid and have something to hide. From President Musharaf to Zardari and PM Gilani, everyone has warned us publically to stay away from conspiracy theories on severe national occasions. Why is there any need to limiting the thought process? Who is to decide which theory is a conspiracy, unless the both sides of the coin are really properly examined?
We have long watched words shape a people’s destiny for good or evil, hide ugly truths from the people, and protect the powerful from retribution. There are numerous examples when certain terms are used to kill the free debate of ideas and ban critical opinion from mainstream discussion. Most modern rebellions are brought about with words and ideas. Our government manipulating the truth against an open and measurable debate is no exception.
Unlike the Chinese and Soviet communists who got rid of their political enemies by killing them by the truckload, today we see a differential strategy of collectivist tyranny on the masses within and abroad, by the west. Right now we are suffering from the worst form of speech enslavement, where freedom of speech is not just manipulated, it happens to be the chief ‘instrument’ of enslavement. A slow, gradual, step-by-step process of governments relying mainly on propaganda, censorship, mental brainwashing, political harassment, cleansing of history in the people’s minds, subversive advertising, psychological conditioning, and perception management techniques. That’s why I call it speech enslavement.
Instead of banging heads and crushing skulls through the front door like the Soviets and Chinese did when their stubborn enemies resisted their draconian policies, the totalitarian revolutionaries came through the back door, silently, secretly, like petty thieves, without causing too much of an alarm. Evidently so, large portion of our population has been slumbering throughout the past six decades, undeterred by the screaming of “conspiracy theorists” who are raising the fear that tyrants and thieves have broken into the house and seek to burn it down to the ground.
Freedom of speech is threatened by words, not guns. Words like “conspiracy theorists” and “domestic terrorist” stop critical thought from naturally maturing into an informed opinion about history and future.
Such words are words of darkness, evil, tyranny, and ignorance. They not only dilapidate free thought but also vilify freedom fighters (Salman Taseer), journalists who ask ‘un-rhetorical’ questions (Omer Cheema), politically awakened individuals (Saba Dashtyaar), law abiding citizens (Mukhtara Mai), true parliamentarians (Marvi Memon), and patriots who support the principles of freedom (Saleem Shahzad).