The Crusade on Intelligence
It should come as no surprise to anyone that there is a great deal of injustice in our world; essentially everything is not as it should be; we humans do not act as we should. This is in our nature, according to philosophers and tyrants. That is to say that our nature is to be selfish; our nature is to be narrow-minded and apathetic. I for one do not believe that these actions are coded into every person (and thus able to be pointed to as justification for self-centered and short-sighted idiocy), but simply brought to the surface by various aspects of our society. Granted, the potential for every person to be selfish is certainly there, as are the kernels of greed, corruption, etc. The point, however, is that it need not be this way, and it certainly should not be, if we wish to have any hope of survival (and freedom, god forbid).
In general we prefer to ignore or even justify our wrongs, on both the small and larger scales. Typically we avoid looking to the larger whole at all, for fear of what we might (and almost certainly will) find. The result is that people are utterly trapped in the particular, in any given moment, in any given thing, only as it applies to them directly.
As we do not think beyond our (generally immediate) position and status in society, we become unable to understand the effects of our actions, and in turn the influences those previous effects will have on our life. It cripples us with an inability to recognize the patterns of history; it makes us unable to grasp the motivations behind political actions, etc.; however, most importantly, it destroys our ability to grasp the necessity of action, as well as the target and/or purpose of said action. While we may be upset with a war for instance, we protest the war and not the causes of it; we complain about an economic crisis but not its cause nor its implications in the future; we are appalled by human rights abuses but remain unaware as to why they occur or perpetuate.
This unwillingness or inability to look at or grasp the larger whole is the primary reason our existence is (and is destined to be) so troubled. The world cannot change without a change in the attitudes of the people themselves. That is to say that any drastic departure from our idiocy first requires the people themselves to recognize their actions as such. However this recognition alone is not enough, from there they must be willing to act.
There are many things, both domestic and in the world at large, which should cause some degree of outrage amongst the people. While we claim to be against slavery, we overlook the fact that our nations have enslaved the bulk of the world; while we claim to be appalled by such actions as murder, we ignore that we are causing the starvation, poverty, and otherwise suffering of billions of people across the globe. Our lifestyles, our selfishness, our addiction to wealth cause all this. Money is but a means of enacting control over the masses, and it has certainly succeeded in enslaving us, as much as we would like to ignore it.
The ruling class has always gone to great lengths to suppress the general intelligence and political consciousness of the "mob". Nothing is more dangerous to tyrants than a populace which is actually interested in and informed about the affairs of government. As such, various tools are employed to distract and pacify us. As a result, the general consciousness of any modern or historic population has never been great enough to pose a threat; the masses typically remain ignorant, although during certain periods there is a - slightly - greater proportion of intelligent people.
The oldest form of stunting intelligence is organized religion. In ancient civilizations, the leaders were considered Gods, and as such anything they said could not be questioned without committing blasphemy. As people eventually became conscious of the ridiculousness of such claims, different forms of religious rule have been implemented. The modern form of religious influence is not in such a direct (or obvious) manner; it does not simply tell its followers that they must listen to one person absolutely, but instead adherence to laws of the religion, which will include unquestioning belief in the religion. It is this unquestioning belief which is the danger; it gets people used to the idea of accepting things without any solid, material proof whatsoever, and instead has them base their lives on words written in a book. Their minds become closed, and because of this their ignorance will - usually- spread to other areas.
Such religious faith (belief lacking material evidence) also serves to give people a false sense of hope. They are taught to endure suffering in this world, as in the afterlife they will be rewarded; so long as they simply believe, they will be saved after their life. Such a notion encourages and justifies general apathy in this world, as they shall without any effort attain salvation if they endure. The ease of this salvation is one of the great appeals of most religions, especially considering the perceived difficulty of changing the world here and now. The ruling class likes nothing better than people accepting the extent to which they're exploited and abused; the false hope associated with blind faith is among the most effective ways in which they can encourage people to do so. The dangers of such faith, of unquestioning belief in anything, cannot be overstated.
While the overall influence of religion has decreased in the modern world due to improving education and communication technologies, these same technologies have been twisted - intentionally or otherwise - to serve the purpose religion once did almost exclusively. The modern methods of creating ignorance and apathy have become entirely integrated into our day-to-day lives. We have been given to countless forms of entertainment: from TV's and video games to drugs; there is an endless supply of mindless activity to keep us from thinking too much.
To make matters worse, modern education systems limit free thought, and serve to close minds rather than open them. The focus is on absorbing individual pieces of information, generally irrelevant facts separate from the larger whole; the vast majority of people achieve mediocrity at best, with close to a third dropping out of high school entirely. Our education is succeeds in little but to program most to be mindless drones. The effect is increased when the primary goal of education becomes to prepare someone for a mundane job, one wherein they will probably be forced to work increasingly longer hours for less wages and benefits, given economic trends which will continue to worsen. The purpose of education should be to encourage curiosity and creativity, not to destroy them, turning the victim into a slave without the ability to think.
Given the great many alternatives to extensive thought, and the corrupt education, it is entirely unsurprising that the vast majority of youth are entirely apathetic to politics; adults tend only to care so long as their finances and their pet belief or moral issue is concerned, paying little attention to the bigger picture. The general perception that politics and economics are incredibly complicated is only true in the sense that they're made appear complicated as a means of discouraging people from attempting to grasp such things. This perception ensures that only a few will take any interest in politics, and those that do will only do so as far as trying to advance their career. Most politicians even fail to grasp politics as their methods of understanding are those which have been taught in a corrupt education.
The corruptions of our culture can be witnessed in any area of our society. Essentially everyone, from politicians, to taxi drivers, will have the same unquestioning attitude which serves to enslave them. Given that there are multiple contributors to such intellectual crippling, the failure of any one could not and will not allow sufficient consciousness to bring about any real change. The only way the system can fail is if and when the entire populace consciously rejects such things for what they are; religion must be abolished willingly, intelligence needs to be returned to the media, and the education system rebuilt from the ground up.
Such social changes must also be accompanied by changes in the economic system and government. Capitalism is a corrupt system, always leading to most of the world's property shifting into the hands of a few. Forced labour using money rather than gunpoints is still slavery; all but those manipulating the system by playing around with money (capitalists, corporations, etc.) spend large portions of their lives working simply to provide for those who were fortunate enough to be born into a rich family. Changes in class are few and far between.
The great lie they tell us is that democracy cannot work without capitalism. Capitalism destroys democracy over time, as it is focused on personal interest, and as such those with the advantage of built-up wealth will simply use that wealth to acquire more at the expense of others. In an old democracy (such as the US, Canada, Europe), governments will be influenced or even controlled outright by the rich. As their relative wealth increases, their influence on all aspects of society increases. Education systems will be and are based on promoting the supposed merits of capitalism, the way things are, while shunning any and all alternatives. Above all they have tarnished the very word "communism" and the political left to the point wherein they're considered something akin to the boogeyman. They twist the communist theory, creating misconceptions based on "implementations" of communism which were not even anything resembling communism (Soviet Russia, "communist" China, Korea, Cuba, etc). Communism was always intended to be in a democracy. A few words in the theory were taken out of context by tyrants and abused in order to enslave their people by paying lip service to the ideals of communism. This abuse has happened as often in "democracies" at least as often. The United States, for instance, preaches its great democracy, when there has almost never been a president not from corporate, military or political circles. They have a ruling elite, and they have millions of fools blinded by absolute faith in their "democracy"; anyone questioning the mainstream viewpoints are openly called unpatriotic, terrorists, or blasphemers by the media.
The world is going to plunge again into another dark age; in a sense it is already in one, in spite of all of our vaunted technological progress. Overall intelligence is decreasing, apathy is rampant. Slavery is everywhere, even in "free nations", our master and our God is the dollar; the masters of the dollar rule us all. The only chance is for something to happen which has never before happened in the history of the planet: There must be a revolution, a real revolution in thought which, once begun, will reshape every aspect of life across the planet. The people of the world have to wake up, to do otherwise is to condemn every person, now and in the future, to slavery.
The final question to be asked is this: Are we willing to work to ensure our survival, and our freedom? I'm quite certain it is a matter of choice... True action must be taken, but only after each person comes to understand what is happening in the world. Nothing happens of its own accord in this world; governments and corporations don't become corrupt unless the people allow them to. Each of us must understand how it happens, or anything I or anyone can tell them will be useless anyway. Humanity as a whole must change its attitude, defying what many have called "our nature." Then and only then can a democratic society function as it was intended to. The ideals of justice and equality rely wholly on the people ensuring that they are realized. Whether we think we are able to succeed or not, the time for action is now; to fail to do so is to surrender any semblance of hope that remains to us.