Underpinning dissent is the ability to ask questions of the system, and underpinning this is critical thinking, which has been celebrated through the ages but has been sorely neglected in recent times. We now live in a world where debate is more often than not shut down so this skill must be revived: without it we will find ourselves at the mercy of unscrupulous governments and commercial interests.
The book shows how critical thinking can protect us from a world dominated by propaganda, obfuscation and vested interests. The skills needed are those identified by Descartes when he wrote how ‘every part of thinking should be questioned, doubted and tested’ with Jung summarizing the benefits of asking questions as ‘the greatest resource in learning the truth’. Interestingly, the term critical thinker is the perfect counterbalance to the label ‘conspiracy theorist’ since it shows the profound questioning and thinking that underpin it.
Gloria also looked at the multiple obstacles to critical thinking including the lure of propaganda and power of repeated messages. As everyone knows, Goebbels said ‘If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes truth’ to the point where ‘those who are being manipulated are confident they are acting on their own free will’.
However, the lie can be maintained only for such time as the government or those in power can shield the people from the consequences of the lie. As a result, it is important that the lies are kept under wraps and that the truth is censored at every point. So anyone who is not toeing the party line has to be silenced immediately. Happily, as the book shows, learning, promoting and practicing critical thinking can and does bring the truth to light.The power of critical thinking – The Conservative Woman