speaking truth to power
Posted: 22 August 2018 04:47 AM   [ Ignore ]
Total Posts:  356
Joined  2007-02-24

Is the Huffington Posts’ definition and history about “speaking truth to power” accurate? It was another phrase used on yesterday’s Maddow show:


Posted: 22 August 2018 06:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Total Posts:  6571
Joined  2007-01-03

It is as far as I can tell. The earliest cite that I can find is from “West Warned on Policy|Quakers Condemn Violence as Instrument of Nations.” The New York Times, 3 June 1955, 23:

While communism applies this code [that man is an instrument of the state] to all life, the West is not free of it, the committee said in a book-length study entitled “Speak Truth to Power.”

The “committee” is the American Friends Service Committee. Several newspapers report on this story the same day.

Posted: 22 August 2018 07:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Total Posts:  541
Joined  2007-02-13

An interesting topic.

Here is a link to the Quaker document

I have not yet read the entire document, but early on they explain their meaning of the phrase which comes out of a religious context (unsurprisingly):

Our title, Speak Truth to Power, taken from a charge given to Eighteenth Century Friends, suggests the effort that is made to speak from the deepest insight of the Quaker faith, as this faith is understood by those who prepared this study. We speak to power in three senses:

To those who hold high places in our national life and bear the terrible responsibility of making decisions for war or peace.
To the American people who are the final reservoir of power in this country and whose values and expectations set the limits for those who exercise authority.
To the idea of Power itself, and its impact on Twentieth Century life.
Our truth is an ancient one: that love endures and overcomes; that hatred destroys; that what is obtained by love is retained, but what is obtained by hatred proves a burden. This truth, fundamental to the position which rejects reliance on the method of war, is ultimately a religious perception, a belief that stands outside of history. Because of this we could not end this study without discussing the relationship between the politics of time with which men are daily concerned and the politics of eternity which they too easily ignore.

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