Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira



To Stun is a Step towards Defeat





TFP Viewpoint, London, Vol. 20, No. 1, February 2013, page 7 (*)

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I am impressed with a certain contrast. On the one hand, the public has never been so informed; but on the other, the public has never felt, I believe, so stunned and embarrassed in face of such information.

Let me give a remote point for comparison in order to be better understood. Before the Second World War the average reader was relatively well-informed by the press regarding the more important events…

Although the scope of the abundant news was less than today, the nature of the news was much clearer and more optimistic… The news also presented more serious issues, but this made the news all the more interesting…

A clear panorama? Yes, clear and simple –or it might be better to say “simplified”. The real problems were either underrated or silenced. The underlying realities were almost totally unknown. This mutilation of reality in the news was a mistake, because if the public had known the whole truth, events might have taken another course.

*    *    *

After the Second World War, and especially in our days, the opposite has happened. Everything is exposed. There is news about everything, about every country and the news is reported with a totally different table of values... What of this whirlwind of information? Is it of interest? Entertaining? Of any help?

In my opinion, most of the time it causes confusion, agitation, and ultimately boredom –yes, boredom within the agitation. This is the state of spirit that the plethora of information creates in very many of our contemporaries.

In slim, everyone knows everything, understanding nothing, while some become nervous wrecks, and almost everyone, for lack of something betten yawns. How could it be otherwise?

Everything seems to be continuously running towards the abyss… that never appears but could do so from one moment to the next… Anything could happen, or nothing could happen. Nobody really knows.

However, someone could say that what is bad is not so much the excess of news but rather the excess of disorder: I agree. The two factors are added together.

So, I ask: To what point is the disorder of facts, so immense and so tragic, aggravated by the hyper-sensationalism resulting from this super-production of information? Moreover, to whose advantage is this super-excitation, and what effect does it produce? To stun only discourages and saps the will to fight.

The decline of the will to fight is already a half defeat...

It is to this phenomenon that I wish to draw the attention of those men capable of finding a solution

(*) Excerpts from an article by Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira published in the Folha de S. Paulo on 23rd May 1971. Original title: Aturdimento, passo para a derrota.

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© February 2013, TFP Viewpoint. Permission is granted to reproduce, in whole or in part, this newsletter as long as due credit is given to TFP Viewpoint.

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