Speak Truth to Power
Speak truth to power is an expression and an idea that has been around for a long while in the history of mankind.
It is the practice of combating propaganda and misinformation through showing authorities and people in leading position the truth about certain subjects.
The idea would emerge in various historical concepts and situations, like ancient Greece where the term for speaking candidly was called parrhesia, while during the campaign of Mahatma Gandhi they called the tactic of truth satyagraha.
“Speak truth to power” as a quote is credited to Bayard Rustin, appearing in a letter he had written in 1942, as “the primary social function of a religious society is to ‘speak the truth to power.’ The truth is that war is wrong.”
Spread and Usage
Many political activists embraced the phrase, especially those who advocate pacifism and reject tools that involve violence.
“Speak truth to power” has been associated with several public figures from the Dalai Lama to Malala Yousafzai to Robert F. Kennedy and his daughter, Kerry Kennedy.
- Dictionary.com – Speak truth to power