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Author: joe

Thursday, 09 December, 2010 - 21:05

Here's a message for the Liberal Democrats if ever there was one. There's little condemnation of the Tories (we know they're robber barons); Labour are essentially invisible but did what oppositions do and voted against the coalition's bill. But the Lib Dems are the king-makers, the party that want to say they are the key to ensuring progressive policies are tabled and adopted. "Progressive" is the word they try to buy. Well Paulo Freire, the Brazilian teacher and thinker, has something to say about being a progressive.

If we are progressive, if we have more experience as opposition than as government, we must be reminded that, in such a historic moment as ours, it is easier to win elections than it is to govern. As we strongly react against the defamatory accusations leveled against us, may we not allow ourselves to adopt the same untruthful language used against us?
We must also observe, with ethical rigor, our right and our duty to speak about how we intend to govern and avoid demagogic promises or impossible dreams. If, in order to win an election, I needed to make a false promise, it would be preferable to lose and continue my political-pedagogical militancy, persevering in my ethical position.

It is fundamental not to give in to the temptation of believing that the ends justify the means, making condemnable agreements and deals with antagonistic forces. If I am progressive, I cannot join forces with those who deny the popular classes a voice.
Pedagogy of the Heart by Paulo Freire

If, in order to win an election, I needed to make a false promise, it would be preferable to lose . . . Are we supposed to think that Paulo Freire is somehow naive for believing that ethics should play a role in political decisions? Does some discourse of realpolitik mean we should discard the means in favour of ends? That is exactly what he calls "banking education": manipulating education to ensure that its beneficiaries don't go "above and beyond ideology". Give me an education of naivety any day, and hound those charlatan hypocrites out of Westminster.

Categories: Paulo Freire, education, liberal democrats, hypocrisy, ethics,
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