Why is knowledge power?

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And freedom? And why is education power and freedom?

The whole point of the enlightenment is that knowledge sets us free. “Wherever the people are well informed,” Thomas Jefferson wrote, “they can be trusted with their own government.” That we are less free than we can, and should, be is the point of Shawn Otto’s book The War on Science: Who’s Waging It, Why It Matters, What We Can Do About It. If you’ve not read it, please do so.

It is also the point of, let’s see … the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Under Trump, these freedoms are threatened daily. We are at a tipping point. A Trump is possible when the politicians and elected officials of this country have taken enough power from the voters that they can make voting itself a non-democratic act. A Trump is possible when ignorance becomes the willed objective of a large portion of the thought leaders of our society. Once a certain point of institutionalized repression of democracy, and a certain point of culturally determined ignorance, are reached, someone like Trump can become president and then, imperialized by whichever powers control him, push us the rest of the way.

That is the point of the best of this year’s Super Bowl commercials. The only one worth watching. In fact, better than the game turned out to be. This is it, from the Washington Post:

Have you read the breakthrough novel of the year? When you are done with that, try:

In Search of Sungudogo by Greg Laden, now in Kindle or Paperback

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8 thoughts on “Why is knowledge power?

  1. Why is knowledge power? Because without knowledge you don’t know what to do. And if you don’t know what to do – you either do nothing, or possibly the wrong thing (which is worse than doing nothing). The best thing is to know the right thing to do.
    That is my answer anyway.

    We learn our numbers and abc’s when small to learn how to read, write and do arithmetic, which leads to knowledge.

    Imagine how little any of us would know if we could not read, write or do math.

    Of course you can learn by example (tying shoes for example).

    I thought it was a good commercial.

    I didn’t get the Trump angle out of it though.

    I love the edit function. Thank you.

  2. It was a good one, and does hit the points Greg lists. You could also add that a Trump is possible when you have a large part of the public who endorse leaders who reinforce their own biases and prejudices, in perfect contradiction to reality. As Trump does with his supporters.

    I didn’t get the Trump angle out of it though.

    Nobody who has put up with reading your reams of bullshit over the years will be surprised at that. Nor will they believe that you value knowledge.

  3. The ad would be good if the paper, along with the rest of the corporate media, lived up to the blurb, but so often they don’t. The WP is no different in that regard. In unison they consistently cheer lead the war party, banging the drum every time it looks like ‘we’ are going to bomb the smithereens out of ‘them’. Herman and Chomsky’s propaganda model explains why. It isn’t rocket science.

  4. I briefly heard one of those savage right wing flamethrowers on the radio yesterday. He was ranting about evangelism, conservatism, immigrants, welfare and so forth and was obviously trying to work people into a frenzy over his cause. He was rabid. His world view was that of a pin headed xenophobe. And he has the complete right to rant in the disgusting manner of his kind. And people with child like credulity are exposed to this sort of distortion every day. Where does that whole subculture of tribal nationalism spring from? Who funds it? Who allows it to breed? Who nurtures it?

    When making the transition from feudalism and religiosity to reason and enlightenment, how does one deal with human flame throwers, their patrons and their sheep, who strive daily to bring us back to cave days? It is not an easy problem to solve.

    1. Tribalism is, I think, built into people and it is not a bad thing in many circumstances. Most people cannot solve the problems that bother them. The problems are too big or those bothered by them are in too small a minority to do anything about them or convince anyone else to do anything about them. This is often manifested in the yearning for a savior of one sort or another: its what I think of as the “Sieg heil” reflex.

      The current Trumpist-Republican Party has formed a coalition of all the normally fairly impotent disaffected groups — you know who they are — and, seeing it as a means to an end — of taxes, environmental regulations, unions, consumer protection, and on and on — the billionaire backers and their emulators at lower income levels are funding the Party and empowering the coalition’s groups — financially in some cases, , in only in perceived acceptance and a greenlight to act, in others.

      Nixon’s Southern strategy started it, the Tea Party’s successful manipulation of the Republican primaries spelled the end of the former Republican Party, and the final push was the bizarre Supreme Court validation of the idea that corporations are people! They are not only people, but actually superior to actual people in that they do not really have the kind of responsibilities to the country in which they exist that living, breathing citizens have.

      Please correct me if I’m wrong in any of this.

    2. Tribalism is, I think, built into people and it is not a bad thing in many circumstances. Most people cannot solve the problems that bother them. The problems are too big or those bothered by them are in too small a minority to do anything about them or convince anyone else to do anything about them. This is often manifested in the yearning for a savior of one sort or another: its what I think of as the “Sieg heil” reflex.

      The current Trumpist-Republican Party has formed a coalition of all the normally fairly impotent disaffected groups — you know who they are — and, seeing it as a means to an end — of taxes, environmental regulations, unions, consumer protection, and on and on — the billionaire backers and their emulators at lower income levels are funding the Party and empowering the coalition’s groups — financially in some cases, only in perceived acceptance and a greenlight to act, in others.

      Nixon’s Southern strategy started it, the Tea Party’s successful manipulation of the Republican primaries spelled the end of the former Republican Party, and the final push was the bizarre Supreme Court validation of the idea that corporations are people! They are not only people, but actually superior to actual people in that they do not really have the kind of responsibilities to the country in which they exist that living, breathing citizens have.

      Please correct me if I’m wrong in any of this.

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