“Discourse and Truth: The Problematization of Parrhesia”
Michel Foucault, in “Discourse and Truth: The Problematization of Parrhesia”, speaks about those who, at danger to themselves, speak against, or criticize, a person more powerful than themselves. He later mentions Socrates, who criticized the city of Athens, and was put to death. It is true that those who speak uncomfortable truths will often be ostracized and scorned. Other examples, such as Martin Luther King, and more recently, Ralph Nader, and Edward Snowden, come to mind. Galileo was convicted of heresy for daring to suggest that the earth wasn’t the center of the universe. History is full of examples such as these. People are uneasy with many truths initially, and other pay the price for this unease. Those in power often have the most to lose by truth tellers. A good example would be those who deny the existence of man-made global warming, in spite of the fact that the overwhelming majority of scientists claim that it is occurring. Large oil corporations often have the most to lose by the widely held scientific view that carbon dioxide is causing this phenomenon. As a result, meaningful legislation has a hard time being passed. Social pressure is also a factor in discouraging people from stating the truth.