Sunday, March 20, 2011

Fear of Knowledge Leads to Oppression

Truly Great thinkers throughout the ages have argued for freedom, for liberty, rather than justify a ruling class, or change the way an elite behaves, they have argued for freedom, limited governments, and free exchange of ideas and goods.

The movement in this direction began in the West with the economist/ philosophers Francois Quesnay and improved upon by Adam Smith. Their works were later fully established by Ludwig von Misses and Frederick Hayek. These economists all understood that it is the free interaction of people that allows society to progress. The free interaction of people does not just include the exchange of goods and services, but the exchange of ideas, scientific knowledge, and political speech.

Two millennia before Adam Smith and Quesnay, in China there was a philosopher known as Lao Tzu, probably the first human to postulate that governments should be as small as possible, a quote from his famous works Tao Te Ching, “it is always through not meddling that the empire is won.” The Chinese only learnt recently of the truth of these words and allowed economic freedom, and just like that there is a boom. To those who feel bothered that Lao Tzu was the first to stipulate small governments, this article is for you, because you dread knowledge, thereby fearing humanity and freedom.

Central to the concept of freedom is the concept of equality before the law. Equality before the law means everybody gets equal protection from the government. In an economic sense, this means that whatever A can do, given the same resource B can do it. If B cannot do it because of the law, that means B is not receiving equal protection from the law, the law is biased towards A. For there to be fair competition in an economic, even political sense, the law cannot protect one over the other, anything else is not equality before the law. The minute one understands this they will see how unequal the law is in almost every society in the world, why is A allowed to own a casino and not B if they are equal before the law. Where there is true justice, if B fails to get a casino license and there is a law stipulating equality before the law, B should win, think about it. Governments to go around the concept of equality before the law always state they are protecting people therefore some must be more equal than others.

Central to these philosophers of the past was smaller governments, why? Governments are run by human beings, these human beings have friends, have interests, the larger the government, the larger the interests, and more friends the government will have. It is natural to help a friend. Big governments will have more interests to protect. It is best the government is small and keeps out of the way of the people, the general citizenry who are not in government and have no government protection. Friends of the government will be treated more equally than those who have no connections in government.

Having laid down the basic concept of freedom, what is it we use to create goods and services. We use knowledge to create goods and services, all human progress has come through the actions of the human mind. Knowledge shapes our modes of life as well as mode of thinking. Space is vast, but we once thought above the clouds was the home of the gods. Motion is relative, time itself moves differently in different societies, faster in undeveloped countries, hence progress seems to be slow, and slower in developed countries, hence more work is done. More work done in terms of knowledge and creating goods and services. Hence there are taboos in less developed countries that have long been found to be nonsense in developed countries. The more taboos, the less knowledge will sink in as a culture because people will be afraid of seeking out knowledge that might contradict those taboos.

Being afraid of taboos rises to oppression, and a society must make sure there are laws protecting those taboos. Hence people like the 18th century philosopher Kant argued that religion should be a private affair, the taboos in religion will hinder the progress of a society. Those who fear taboos will have to oppress people who have different views solely in order to preserve their power, yet most scriptures themselves say people are given a choice, why force the choice upon them.

Talking of taboos we can see now how oppression comes about and why the laws will not have equality, fear of knowledge. This group that fears taboos are against what they would consider chaos developing in society, they strictly want to protect their positions. This class has changed from the religious/ aristocratic link to the academic/ business link. However both use the same argument, and both fear knowledge equally for the same reason. They are what can be considered conservatives broadly speaking in a contemporary sense.

The religious/ aristocratic link said all knowledge comes from them, they have been chosen by some higher being or beings to receive knowledge and control society, thereby justifying they having more rights than the serfs, slaves who they ruled. Europe went through much bloodbath for this class to protect itself, any view different from them was written into law as heresy. Scientists were oppressed for having different views that went against the religious doctrine, as the justification for their power was the religious doctrine. Europe stagnated for over a thousand years, the dark ages.

Today’s link is the academic/ business link, these are the modern conservatives. They use academics to justify there not being competition in society, there will be chaos if more competition, there will be chaos if there is no bailout, others are genetically pre dispossessed to have knowledge as compared to others, in this university 2 + 2 = 4 is better than 2 + 2 = 4 from that university. Therefore business, the modern aristocracy uses academics, the modern priests to justify there not being competition. The modern priests fear any truth from anybody they consider an outsider, any new discovery that comes from an outsider is frowned upon, and they try to hide it and block it by any means they can. They have to do this to preserve the mantra that knowledge can only come from them; hence one can only learn from them and be chosen by them to do things. They fear equality before the law because you will not need their permission to start a casino, they will no longer be able to claim we taught him/ her. Nobody can just start their own investment advisory, they want to say we taught him/ her. Incidentally, the academics act liberal but are very much conservative as they believe all source of knowledge comes from them, bestowed upon them by going to an institution that teaches the same knowledge but the bricks and mortar at those particular institutions has special vibrations.

The conservatives, those considering themselves on the right fear knowledge because if it can come from anybody then their elite positions in society are challenged, they fear knowledge because of their greed. They will never believe in equality before the law, they believe in bailouts for themselves as they have the special talents to make money in good times, something that anybody can do by just advising people to put their money in a Dow Jones Index fund or Shanghai Composite index. The conservatives just want to make money and justify that means by using the modern priests, who if agreeing with them, shower them with money. And business returns the favour by refusing to accept knowledge can come from anybody else besides their teachers, if it comes from somebody else you just take it without acknowledging it.

The left fears knowledge for completely different reasons, the modern academic is not part of this group, they protect their interests by acting conservative, that best knowledge stems from them. The left fears knowledge because they lack confidence in themselves. They do not believe if there was equality before the law they will have anything worthwhile to contribute to society. They fear those they consider better than them, they fear that others have better knowledge than them, hence they fear to be free, and politicians take advantage of this by promising a more fair society, and the first thing they do is get rid of the concept of equality before the law, you will need special dispensation from them to use your knowledge, if you adhere to their principles, just as conservatives behave.

Fearing those with what they consider have better knowledge, the left is not driven by greed per se, but by envy, why did he discover that, that is not fair, why is he better than us, we are all the same, his work was stolen, good, that will keep him in his place why rise above the rest of us. Therefore whilst the right leaning parties use greed to fight knowledge, the left uses envy, both equally destructive emotions. At the back of the mind of so called left leaning parties is a time when we where all cave men and had no possessions and lived for 30 years, having lived brutal lives against the elements. The left envies those who allow society to progress, yet the leaders on the left themselves always have money but need to keep their people all poor, they need to keep the people in a state of lack of confidence by taking away from them the desire to be and letting state take care of it all.

Envy and greed produce an intense fear that one finds joy in the suffering of others, because to them that is justice that the mind is a worthless tool, and anybody using the mind must be feared because they are different, how comes I cannot think of that but I have a PhD from Harvard, that is just wrong and not fair, you mean I wasted my time at Harvard, anybody can gather knowledge, even on a mountain top one can discover the laws of existence, people will not pay me what the media promised I will get if knowledge exists for all who want it. But is better to get institutional education at one point, you can see human behaviour.

Do not fear knowledge, be you on the right or left. Those on the right have to stop being greedy, stop shouting you believe in equality before the law yet you never implement it. Those on the left, stop demanding for equality before the law if you fear so much that others are better than you and will progress. Both left and right should demand equality before the law rather than use it as a slogan, get rid of your greed and envy. The minute you say greed is a good thing, you will corrupt the government to serve your needs, to give you bailouts. Envy will corrupt governments to hide that others can discover new things, though both left and right have a degree of both envy and greed.

It is hoped that in Egypt, Tunisia, and in the future, Africa, well truth be, let us hope the world respects the concept of equality before the law, this will lead to a more productive world, a world were people do not fear knowledge and where it comes from, and where people will not fear new knowledge, no matter who discovered this new knowledge.

Fear of knowledge will always lead to oppression, as we move towards being one human race, to a golden age of humanity we must accept knowledge can come from anybody, and not be oppressive. What is the problem if anybody shows the world new knowledge and understanding, nobody is ordained by God or genetically to advance humanity. All humans have a duty to use their knowledge, oppressive systems and attitudes means others should not use their abilities to the full extent, that means no golden age. A golden age comes about when humans all over the world are free to be.

Bhekuzulu Khumalo

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well said. It baffles me, that people to some extent react offended when they approach new knowledge. This was a good read, thank you.



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Bhekuzulu Khumalo

I write about knowledge economics, information, liberty, and freedom