After years of religiosity enforced on humanity’s masses by the police power of Rome, a small group of highly intelligent men and women gave birth to the Enlightenment. Luther’s Protestant Reformation resulted from information technology advance, the mass printing of holy texts. Enlightened individuals in France had similarly gained access to classical Greek predecessors.
Applying skepticism to what Ayn Rand later would illuminate in “Attila and the Witch Doctor”, Denis Diderot wrote, “Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.” Political revolutions followed inevitably. The writings of Voltaire, Rousseau, Diderot, and others were picked up by many, including Goethe. The most intellectual of America’s founding fathers, Jefferson, was profoundly influenced by Diderot.
In today’s democracies, if you are looking for persons to strangle, Diderot’s kings have been replaced by the “shadow government”, referred to as “the dreadful few” by one writer and as “the usual suspects” by our greatest twentieth century historian. Their kings’ henchmen today are bribed politicians. Diderot’s priests remain, in dwindling and increasingly precarious repute, having been functionally replaced by newspaper, television, and Hollywood propagandists.
Mankind’s betters, the few, have not been consistently dreadful. Philosophically despising monarchs didn’t stop Diderot from letting Catherine II of Russia bail him out financially. Diderot felt that critical thinking and inquiry was hereditary and shared by a minority. He, as Galileo earlier, was ruthlessly persecuted.
Political power does not have to micro-manage the repression of skeptical thought and inquiry. It has merely to sanction it and masses respond predictably. Regicide makes room at the top for democratic forces of repression as old as Anthony Comstock, The Women’s Temperance Union, and A. Mitchell Palmer. Today’s social “reformers” are as new as Mencken’s Rotarians and Southern Baptists.
To think that greed and lust for power will ever be eradicated in certain human natures or, using the Jeffersonian term, “chained” by our Constitution or other paperwork, is wishful thinking. Today we must focus upon and protect even to the risk of our lives as evidenced by Gary Webb, America’s First Constitutional Amendment.
The huge pertinent question, as raised in the famous Grand Inquisitor excerpt from Dostoevsky’s “The Brothers Karamazov”, is whether or not control of the masses by widespread official myths and narratives, such as 9/11 and such ongoing absurd daily televised nonsense as 9/11, Aurora, Sandy Hook, and Boston Marathon, is the most desirable way to preserve social harmony and to effect geopolitical objectives. Today our Rulers must be contemplating supplementary means of institutionalizing economic plunder and compounding political power to render it far more effective than that formerly held by monarchs and their henchmen.
Political questions were elucidated by Horace and Plato but you can bet that they go back a longer way. They concerned the founders of our government centuries later. Today they stare us in the face. Orwell’s 1984 nightmare has arrived in America. Optimists point to advancing information technology, our digital revolution, as mankind’s means to resolve the dilemma.
Until the internet is free, or human nature changes, or until education is separated from government and commercial advertising is removed from mankind’s natural resource, its airwaves, don’t put your money on solving the problem in this new millennium.
Posted by Stewart Ogilby on January 12, 2015, With 1737 Reads Filed under 9/11, Education, History, Life, Of Interest, Religion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.