Why do so many of our political leaders support creationism? Here’s a disturbing glimpse of the way the neo-conservative elite thinks, discussing specifically Irving Kristol:
Kristol has acknowledged his intellectual debt to Strauss in a recent autobiographical essay. “What made him so controversial within the academic community was his disbelief in the Enlightenment dogma that ‘the truth will make men free.'” Kristol adds that “Strauss was an intellectual aristocrat who thought that the truth could make some [emphasis Kristol’s] minds free, but he was convinced that there was an inherent conflict between philosophic truth and political order, and that the popularization and vulgarization of these truths might import unease, turmoil and the release of popular passions hitherto held in check by tradition and religion with utterly unpredictable, but mostly negative, consequences.”
Kristol agrees with this view. “There are different kinds of truths for different kinds of people,” he says in an interview. “There are truths appropriate for children; truths that are appropriate for students; truths that are appropriate for educated adults; and truths that are appropriate for highly educated adults, and the notion that there should be one set of truths available to everyone is a modern democratic fallacy. It doesn’t work.”
The masses must be kept ignorant and pacified. The ruling elite will keep the truth locked up, and dole out “truthiness” to the mob.
I think whenever you start talking about different “truths” for different people, you’re using the word incorrectly. There is a truth about the world, and what Kristol is actually suggesting is that there are lies, not truths, to be given to children, students, and those adults he does not fancy having in his privileged club of power.
I’ll also note that their cynical strategy does not work. Cultivating ignorance in the people in the belief that a cunning elite will be better able to manage them leads to situations like we’re facing now: where the ignorant and stupid are encouraged to thrive and take power, and where the Bushes and Becks and Palins rise to the demagogic top and find the mob malleable and easy to push into extremism and insanity. I suspect that an “intellectual aristocrat” would be appalled at the unintended consequences of his wretched plan…