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15 Aug 2016

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A despot may seize power by persuading or bribing the hierarchy of the military force. Keeping the power gained by doing this needs a particular condition. The successful dictator must keep your majority ignorant of his real intentions, excluding just about his group of friends.

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'Treat Them Like Mushrooms'

A population kept in the dark and fed on garbage is simpler to regulate than one that's awake, fit and accurately informed.

 To harness the population as unconscious accomplices to an authoritarian government is dependent upon reserving knowledge towards the trusted collaborators with the leader. The secret extends back to a time before human records begin. At some point, the gang elite moved from being gatherers of food to being hunters of meat.

Successful hunters could not help but share knowledge gained by experience.

 Even if someone wanted to keep secrets from his fellow hunters, they could follow him towards the best hunting grounds and copy his tracking methods or tool-making techniques. Familiarity with these skills could be passed down from father to son. The hunters excluded one group: the gatherers. Women, forbidden to make or use weapons, were rendered politically ineffectual.
 Art, made for purposes we can only guess at, is made by specialists who have been supported by the gang but reserved their skill set privately. In later times, reading and writing were skills ready to accept a minority of privileged people.

Each time a human population is held in general ignorance, specialist groups hold power.

 Bureaucrats keep secrets for that hierarchy of church or state, much as the mandarins served the emperors of ancient China or perhaps the Inquisition served rulers with the Vatican. Scholarship, like professional skill, was restricted to men near the top of society's ladder. Science was a private quest for rare, brave men with inquiring minds. To openly propose a fresh theory, based on scientific method or evidence, brought dire penalties of imprisonment, torture or death.

It couldn't last. Also it didn't last.

 In the 15th century, a goldsmith named Gutenberg developed the printing press. His invention made possible the dissemination of the Bible to some readership outside of the monasteries. Translation of the stories into languages in accordance use sparked a wish for knowledge among the wider population.

Today, basic education for each and every child, male or female, is accessible legally in developed nations. University level education is economic reach on most Westerners attempting to study in any field of the sciences and arts. Free public libraries and also the world-wide Internet provide the curious with the information accumulated by humanity to date.


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