Ecotrain Question of Last Week - Is it right for governments to lie to us to control our behaviour or prevent panic?

I'm late again with my response to the @ecotrain question of the (last) week! Not quite as late as last week, so maybe I'll get in on time next week?


My answer to this quite straightforward....

IF we believe in decentralised governance, which means involving as many people as possible in the decision making process, which in turn requires that as many people as possible are as maximally informed as possible about the issues under decision, then we can only answer the above question in strongly negative terms.

In short 'no, it is not right for governments to lie to us in order to control our behavior or prevent panic, because that undermines the very principle of effective decentralised governance.

The only way the above question makes sense is if we have a government with sufficient executive power to be able to control us, and if that's the case then we're already in a state of 'failed decentralisation'.

Of course, this is largely where we are at the moment in most countries around the world with Covid-19 - governments selectively using information to try and control populations, but I'd say rather than it being a case of 'controlling or behaviour to prevent panic', they're using panic (or at least a sense of urgency/ emergency/ fear) to control our behaviour and keep us indoors.

Although it's not just the government doing this, it's the government, the media, and here in the UK a very large section of the public joining in, having 'selected' the 'highly contagious/ high death rate' Covid-19 narrative' as the controlling message, with critical voices about the actual death rate (based on the actual infection rate) being silenced or ridiculed.

This situation is akin to 'lying' to the general public IF we hold the belief that effective governance involves a maximally informed population - the government is failing in its job to inform people with all of the data, rather, it is the originator of the 'dominant narrative' and one of its chief enforcers.

In an ideally decentralised world, the government wouldn't be lying to us, it would be educating us, and in an ideally decentralised world, that would mean it would be us educating ourselves, because we'd also be governing ourselves.

I'm also sceptical about whether this selective Corona-narrative and the controlling 'lockdown' response is really about saving lives, it is quite possibly really about inducing an economic crash that was about the happen anyway in a fragile Capitalist system, with Corona now as a handy scapegoat rather than the fundamental flaws in the Capitalist system itself.

Capitalism itself requires lies to keep economic growth going - advertising to create false needs to drum up demand, and an obscuring of the reality of the poor working conditions and waste mountains that capitalism has generated so that the minority can have easy consumer goods.

And it requires the occasional 'shock' to kick start it again for the benefit of the rich after each crash cycle.

Maybe that's why governments have to lie to us: because they support a system dependent on lies for its reproduction, and ultimately that's probably why I disagree with the concept of lying to control.

Turned into a bit of a free write/ rant that, so sorry!

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