THE truth that makes men free is, for the most part, the truth which men prefer not to hear, said Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Herbert Agar
And sometimes politicians don’t want people anywhere near the truth.
Tony Abbott’s new Australian government is hushing up academics, climate change specialists and human rights defenders. Even his own ministers are being gagged.
It reminds me of another time, when another Liberal party chief, then-Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, described church leaders who spoke out about poverty and injustice as “meddlesome”.
Martin Luther King, another meddlesome bloke, was more than a dreamer. His mission was, as he described it, “to disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed”.
It was, in fact, a call to action against the status quo. King wanted justice and equality and he wanted it now.
When King campaigned against the Vietnam War, The Washington Post denounced him as “irresponsible”. Time described King’s views as “demagogic slander — a script for Radio Hanoi” and complained that he, as a pastor, should stick to civil rights issues.
King talked of economic tyranny and dared to speak about US “imperialism”. He was much too confrontational for many in power.