First, a brief disclaimer about this post. The following inconvenient truths obviously follow a leftist perspective. I’m sure that conservatives and others of the ‘right’ can find similar truths from their own perspective – for example, something about the inordinate corruption of many unions. They are welcome to come up with them. But you won’t find them here.
#1: Climate Change
Former US politician Al Gore is well-known for the documentary he presented called An Inconvenient Truth, wherein he presented the case for climate change. The inconvenient truth part of the doco came from the idea that climate change is a ‘truth’ that is ‘inconvenient’ to certain interest groups, particularly petroleum companies and governments. The fact is, climate change has serious implications for all economies, and most governments and businesses know this but continue to act as though it either isn’t happening or doubt the veracity of the data. Basically, if something threatens that holy of holies, the economy (or anything to do with profit), then it must be suppressed. This goes for so many of the Inconvenient Truths listed here.
#2: Lead Poisoning
Although it took many years, due to the efforts of scientists like Herbert Needleman and Clair Cameron Patterson, governments and petroleum companies eventually acknowledged that lead-based fuels were poisoning populations and the planet. The fight was hard and long, but eventually the scientists won out (over the petroleum companies’ corrupt and paid scientists, especially Robert A Keyhoe) and unleaded petrol became the norm. But even today, many third world countries are still selling leaded petrol at the pump. Check out this Wikipedia on Tetraethyllead for the details. This episode of the revamped Cosmos also did a good job of telling Clair Cameron Patterson’s story.
#3: Social Mobility
The possibility of (usually upward) social mobility has been a dream for most of us for a long time. The media and society in general is positively awash with messages that promise we can all do better, that push our aspirational urges. We’ve heard about the people who came from humble origins and became rich and successful. If they can do it, then we can do it. Right?
Well, maybe not. Maybe those success stories are exceptions to the rule. But they are trumpeted by the media because, of course, they have enormous propaganda value for establishment views of social mobility (right at this very moment I’m looking at an online ad that says ‘How Australians Get Rich!’). The fact is, long ago some men called ‘sociologists’, particularly Emile Durkheim and Max Weber, quashed those dreams with their studies that concluded the possibilities of social mobility for most people are decidedly limited. They suggested the social class, status and place we are born into pretty much limits our chances to do better for ourselves. What a bunch of party-poopers! No wonder their conclusions have been buried within the nether regions of academia.
But surely we all know that, deep down, they are right. Our own experiences of life, our hopes for betterment, are severely curtailed by so-called ‘structural’ elements within society. We’ve all heard people voice this frustration, this admission of defeat which is implicit when someone says wistfully, ‘If I win Tattslotto’.
The only sociologists whose studies find favour these days are those that explore the areas of marketing and the manipulation of the masses. As for Karl Marx’s concept of class, well that’s one big inconvenient truth that’s simply anathema to the conservatives, who try to pretend it doesn’t exist.
#4: The News Media Is Not Objective
For evidence of biased reporting in the media one need only check out just about anything coming out of Rupert Murdoch’s many media outlets. There you’ll find almost nothing but right-leaning, climate change skepticism and anti-political correctness writ large. Finding it’s a bit like shooting fish in a barrel, really. But the news media, or the ‘fourth estate’, was supposedly founded on principals of objectivity and balance. People tend to be sucked into this myth because they believe what they see as in, If it was on the TV news then it must be true.
It seems the only time pundits (especially right-wing pundits) make a noise about media bias is when the ABC public broadcaster does a story on some left-leaning issue, or feature left wing opinion. It’s not bias, you knuckleheads – it’s balance. That’s something you won’t find on most commercial mainstream media outlets. Commercial interests often rule over the truth, and that’s an inconvenient truth.
For further discussion on this issue, check out our News Media pages.
#5: Most Investors Are Large Institutions, Not Mums and Dads
We hear about them all the time on all them finance report sections on the TV news: those anonymous, yet very powerful, entities called Investors. But who the fuck are these investors, these people whose private decisions directly affect all of us? Are they just ‘mum and dad’ investors like you and me? If they are then that’s okay, as hey, we’re all in this together, one big happy democracy. But they’re not. The vast majority of investors, and the business community in particular knows it very well, are large institutions, like the banks and large corporations. The business media does a poor job of informing the general public about the machinations of the stock market and the economy and business matters in general. Largely because they want them to remain ignorant about this.
#6: Wage Slavery Exists
It seems almost as natural as the air that we breathe. We get up each work day and go to work for a private boss, and we collect our pay for the amount of hours we put in. Meanwhile, the boss and the company make fat profits off our labour while doing bugger all to earn it. Is this normal, is this natural? Most of us are slaves who are exploited by employers. Pay them out for the price of their initial investment (which they’ve recouped so many times over) and take over, I say!
#7: Democracy Is A Sham
Will of the people? Nah, will of the investors, will of the corporations, will of whoever has the most money and power. Yeah, I’m looking at you Donald Trump. And oh yeah: let’s just see how this Brexit thing shapes up…
#8: Cigarettes Cause Cancer
A pretty obvious one. The smoking lobbies tried all kinds of tricks and lies to keep us smoking, despite the warnings.
#9: The Market Is Not ‘Free’
I was watching an episode of the ABC’s discussion show Q&A once and a panelist said something about the ‘free market’. And none of the other panelists called her on it! I couldn’t believe it.
#10: Earth’s Resources Are Finite
Get rid of advertising. In a world of finite resources, pushing for more consumption is downright irresponsible. But the economy must grow and continue growing, and consumers must continue to consume! That’s still the mantra.
That’ll do for starters…