Monday, 22 May 2017

Failure of intellectuals

With the rise of populism, as seen with the election of a buffoon in the US, the success of rightwing extremists in France and the Netherlands, and the appearance of an extremist party in Germany (where also neonazism raises its ugly head again), as well as the brexit drama apparently stimulated by irrational nationalist identity instincts, I got the feeling that Western free democracy demonstrated it could destroy itself entirely legitimately within its own system and method. So, I began to suspect that it would be better if the unthinking simpletons of society would somehow be filtered-out from the election system, to protect democracy and the fundament of a free society: the rule of law, from this central flaw: that everybody has the same right to vote, entirely irrespective of understanding, knowlegde, moral development, etc. Maybe some sort of exam as a precondition for the right to vote would be better, as to make sure that some knowledge and understanding of the values of society and the meaning of democracy would underpin the choice made in the cubicle. Building-in an intellectual barrier to keep-out self-destructive stupidity seemed a logical conclusion.

But then, I hit upon this review about the treason of so many intellectuals in the past, and had to conclude that intellectual capacities do, in general, not garantee protection against self-destructive stupidity, and that such protection may be found in some kind of religious / spiritual awareness:

These intellectuals sought a spiritual element that would bring meaning into a meaningless view of the world. But then, also religion (that is, organized religion) brought some desastrous trouble into society, as history learns, so it would seem that an element of spirituality combined with Enlightenment ideas would do better - after all, modern Western free society was born from such combination. Obviously, this society is still in development, and this development is of importance for the developments within the field of culture.

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