Understanding Society, Culture, and Television

By Paul Monaco | Go to book overview

The purpose and goal of human development is to liberate the human mind and spirit, and to permit men and women to realize the fullness of their potential and their desires so long as doing so does not directly inflict harm upon others. Still, many people resist this fundamental truth. Some are those ideologues clinging to the idea that government is an end in its own right, and that the state, in one form or another, is the primary apparatus through which human happiness will be achieved. Some are the educators spouting received ideas devoid of any vision of challenge and excellence. For them, the concept of opportunity simply is incompatible with any form of meritocracy. Some are the parents and social theorists who avoid making tough-minded choices that guide young people toward a genuine sense of self-worth based upon hard work and accomplishment. Some are the narrow- minded in all walks of life who resist new technologies. Some are the citizens who demand cultural, social, and economic planning on the part of the state in attempts to preserve what is destined for the ash heap of history. Some are those who see democracy only as a mechanism to exert social control through repression by recourse to majority rule that violates fundamental human rights and liberties. Some are those who can conceive of government only as an apparatus for assuaging their own special interests, and who therefore abandon all principle for short-term benefits. Some are those who demonize television by misrepresenting its true nature and its use.

As in every era, transitions are difficult. Because today we are at the end of one long phase of history, the stakes look especially high. And because today's technologies of communication are global, new voices are being heard. It is the function of human reason to provide the on going basis for a society and a culture to thrive in liberty. Beyond an the deceptions that are perpetuated about television, our commitment must be to analyze and to accept this medium in accordance with the basic principles of rationality and freedom.


NOTE
1.
W. Russell Neuman, The Future of the Mass Audience ( Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), p. 9.

-128-

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