Saman Mohammadi
Jan 15, 2013

Good interview. I respect both men. Both have chosen a life of passion, purpose, and principles.

It is good that people are talking about controversial subjects, whether it be gun control, indefinite detention of activists, the destructive use of drones, unjust counter-terrorism policies, etc. There are authoritarians who don’t want debate and dialogue about public policy. They are not confident about their ideas and solutions so they censor opposing views and smear critics.

The favourite tactic of the thought police is to label dissenters as “mentally ill,” to discredit what they have to say. A sane and free society would instinctively reject this label when applied to political speech as totalitarian.

Conversation is better than censorship. As Dutch-American psychoanalyst Joost A. M. Meerloo said:

“If there is no free conversation human aggression accumulates. A man who listens only to his radio or is caught by the hypnotism of the movies must discharge his aggression somewhere else. But the civilizing sublimation of conversation does not reach him, so he cannot get rid of his aggression.

People have learned to be silent listeners. Dictatorship asks only for silent citizens. If man cannot redeem himself of his everyday tensions through words, the archaic primitive demands within him grow more and more awake. The world falls prey to his accumulated obsessions, and in the end collective madness breaks through. Let us talk now, so that we do not become mad animals!” – Dutch-American psychoanalyst Joost A. M. Meerloo, from “Conversation and Communication.”

Saman Mohammadi is the writer and editor at The Excavator

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