It used to be that those with a decent education made the rules and led social discourse, based on informed and science-backed rationale. But the times they have changed, and not for the better.
Sure, prevailing trends came and went, and were often not as beneficial as their drivers hoped they would be – communism and neoliberal economics are two prime examples – but there was thoughtful method behind their madnesses.
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And, as in most such cases, in broad theory society as a whole was meant to be uplifted.
That we got military or corporate juntas oppressing the masses for the benefit of an elite cadre of control-freaks had more to do with the grubby personal failings of humankind than the ethos they were supposedly advancing.
But now: Well, now we have every person able to freely express their uninformed uneducated opinion, on any subject, at will to the world.
And those bubbles of ignorance are reinforced by others living in similar intersecting bubbles, so what was once politely laughed off as the ravings of the village idiot becomes a whole city of idiocy.
One, critically, unable to laugh at itself.
At which point, ignorant opinion somehow transforms into fact – simply because a million other ignorant souls decide it's real.
Give someone a book and they'll be lifted from ignorance. Give them an internet connection and their ignorance will be entrenched.
This is how mass delusion arises. And whereas it used to require a messianic figure like a Hitler or a Pol Pot to lead whole countries into delusion, now everyone can reinforce their own fantasy by connecting with other such fantasists, everywhere, in two clicks of an algorithm.
That's what we're facing: A war of reason versus unreason; and the power of global social media lets unreason run riot.
Hence it's a war reason is already losing.
Because technology has galloped ahead with no thought given – or should I say, no attention taken, nor adequate safeguards put in place – to its effects, on a mass level, before handing it out willy-nilly to anyone with the wherewithal to buy a little piece of it.
On one hand, great. It's certainly proved a boon during this pandemic, helping keep us all sane in lockdown.
On the other, woe. It's proved as much an opportunity for conspiracy and scuttlebutt to run wild, fraying the edges of that sanity.
I'm both relieved and heartened by the fact we New Zealanders have in general believed the government and done what needed doing, collectively, in the best way practicable to get beyond Covid-19's reach.
I'm saddened and dismayed to see other countries, especially the USA, where there is no robust plan - and even in pockets where there is, half the people ignore it.
To now see the chief village idiot there inciting rebellion – how else do you interpret Trump urging anti-lockdown protesters to "liberate" their (Democrat-led) states? - shows how far behind the ball reason is.
Civil War II? Likely, and soon.
Not just because technology has helped dumb down half the populace to the point they are happy with a moron in charge, but because said moron is using it to further the purposes of his cabal's new feudal order. And winning.
Perhaps the time has come to admit the benefits of free speech can be vastly outweighed by the ability to share hate speech – including idiot speech.
And that any reasonable social re-ordering should put that high on the "fix it" agenda.
Because we are killing ourselves with our stupidity, and that's a dis-ease that's much harder to stamp out