Last updated on May 3rd, 2022 at 05:19 pm
About a year ago I penned a piece in IfamNews entitled “Havel’s ‘Living in Truth’: still valid today as a way to combat ideological tyranny.” In it I wrote about how the essay entitled “The Power of the Powerless” written by Czech dissident Vaclav Havel in the 1970s was relevant to today’s situation with wokeness. In his essay, Havel wrote that the reason the oppressive communist Evil Empire was able to impose its will on its people was because everyone agreed to work “within the lie” of this empire. That is, citizens in communist countries refused to confront the lies of their governments out of fear and self-interest and as result those governments continued to exist. Havel argued that only by refusing to go along with lies (“living in the truth”) could these regimes be toppled. Havel gave as an example of the power of truth a greengrocer who defies communist authority by refusing to put up a sign saying “Workers of the World Unite” in his store. Havel wrote:
“The greengrocer has not committed a simple, individual offense, isolated it its own uniqueness, but something incomparably more serious. By breaking the rules of the game, he has disrupted the game as such. He has exposed it as a mere game. He has shattered the world of appearances, the fundamental pillar of the system. He has upset the power structure by tearing apart what holds it together. He has demonstrated that living a lie is living a lie. He has broken through the exalted façade of the system and exposed the real, base foundations of power. He has said that the emperor is naked. And because the emperor is naked, something extremely dangerous has happened: by his action, the greengrocer has addressed the world. He has enabled everyone to peer behind the curtain. He has shown everyone that it is possible to live within the truth. Living within the lie can constitute the system only if is universal. The principle must embrace and permeate everything. There are no terms whatsoever on which it can coexist with the truth, and therefore everyone who steps out of line denies it in principle and threatens it in its entirety.”
Significantly, Havel’s insights proved correct. When the people of communist Eastern Europe in the 1980’s refused to continue accepting lies, they were able to topple their regimes.
In my article, I stated that Havel’s “living in the truth” strategy was applicable today in regard to defeating the Evil Empire of wokeness. I wrote:
“Havel’s thoughts on the power of ‘living in the truth’ are as applicable today as they were 40 years ago when he first wrote about them. For people in the West today living under oppressive ‘politically correct’ regimes that force conformity to left-wing dogma, ’living in the truth’ could provide a way of hope. While the tyranny today is more cultural than governmental (though this seems to be changing), and its enforcers tend to be Hollywood, Big Business, academia, Big Tech, and the media, people’s freedoms to think, speak, and practice their religion are under as severe an attack as in the communist block of old and there are real penalties for refusing to conform (job losses, promotions forgone, being ‘cancelled,’ etc.)
Thus, living in the truth can still be a valid strategy today. This means that people in the West living under oppressive regimes can advocate for the truth no matter the consequences. What could this look like in today’s world? Taking courageous stands for life, the family, freedom of religion, and the Judeo-Christian worldview. Shouting from the rooftops that political correctness and identity politics are based on lies. Speaking the truth that the LGBT agenda ruins lives. And then living these truths in the real world. While the dominant cultural institutions will come down on people harshly and swiftly for showing that the emperor really has no clothes, and many sacrifices will be required, “living in the truth” just may be able to bring down tyrannical left-wing regimes today like it did thirty years ago. If we can conquer apathy and resignation, and have the hope that Havel had, freedom may just win again.”
Now famed Harry Potter author J.K Rowling has come out in agreement with this view that Havel’s strategy of “living in the truth” is needed today to combat the Evil Empire of the radical LGBT agenda that will brook no opposition to any of its reality-defying demands, especially the claim that a biological man who “identifies” as a woman actually is a woman. Rowling expressed her support for Havel after reading a tweet that declared:
“It feels like TWAW [TransWomen are Women] as a mantra and cancelling women over accusations of transphobia was intended to test loyalty over reason and will she stand up to power or at best turn a blind eye to save her own skin. Does she value career advancement or doing the right thing?”
In support of this viewpoint, Rowling on April 20, 2022, issued a series of twelve tweets that quoted Havel’s words in “The Power of the Powerless” that showed how easily people are willing to live the lie. All the quotes related to how the “greengrocer,” before he committed his act of bravery by living in the truth, was a prop of his authoritarian regime. Rowling wrote:
“‘The manager of a fruit and vegetable shop places in his window, among the onions and carrots, the slogan: ‘Workers of the World, Unite!’ Why does he do it?…
Is he genuinely enthusiastic about the idea of unity among the workers of the world? Is his enthusiasm so great that he feels an irrepressible impulse to acquaint the public with his ideals? Has he really given more than a moment’s thought to how such a unification might occur and what it would mean?
…That poster was delivered to our greengrocer from the enterprise headquarters along with the onions and carrots. He put them all into the window simply… because everyone does it, and because that is the way it has to be.
If he were to refuse, there could be trouble. He could be reproached for not having the proper ‘decoration’ in his window; someone might even accuse him of disloyalty. He does it because these things must be done if one is to get along in life
…The slogan is really a sign, and as such it contains a subliminal but very definite message… ‘I, the greengrocer XY, live here and I know what I must do. I behave in the manner expected of me… I am obedient and therefore I have the right to be left in peace.’
…if the greengrocer had been instructed to display the slogan, ‘I am afraid and therefore unquestioningly obedient’, he would not be nearly as indifferent to its semantics, even though the statement would reflect the truth.
The greengrocer would be embarrassed and ashamed to put such an unequivocal statement of his own degradation… To overcome this complication, his expression of loyalty must take the form of a sign…
It must allow the greengrocer to say, ‘What’s wrong with the workers of the world uniting?’ Thus the sign helps the greengrocer to conceal from himself the low foundations of his obedience… It hides them behind the façade of something high… that something is ideology.
Ideology is a specious way of relating to the world. It offers human beings the illusion of an identity, of dignity, and of morality while making it easier for them to part with them.
…it enables people to deceive their conscience and conceal their true position and their inglorious modus vivendi, both from the world and from themselves. It is an excuse that everyone can use, from the greengrocer, who conceals his fear of losing his job…
… to the highest functionary… Individuals need not believe all these mystifications, but they must behave as though they did, or they must at least tolerate them in silence, or get along well with those who work with them.
For this reason, however, they must live within a lie. They need not accept the lie. It is enough for them to have accepted their life with it and in it.’ Václav Havel, The Power of the Powerless, 1978.”
So there you have it. Czech dissident (and later President of a free Czechoslovakia) formulates a strategy of “living in the truth” that brings down the Evil Empire of communism. And famed anti-woke author J.K. Rowling (and yours truly) see the wisdom of using this strategy to take down the Evil Empire of wokeness. Let’s hope that more people will start living in the truth so once again the West can live in true freedom.