Bewitched

7/7/2016

Boulainvilliers suggested to the nobility that knowledge, too, is power.

You will not regain power if you do not regain the status of the knowledges of which you have been dispossessed… There comes a point when the real battle, or at least the battle within society, is no longer fought with weapons, but with knowledge.” (Foucault, Society, p. 155)

On the first reading this sounds very similar to the tactic, if you can’t beat them join them.  There are some significant differences, however, in this message.  For instance, rather than speaking as the priests always have and philosophers often do, B does not tell the nobility that he has the way, the truth, and the light.  He does not ask them to come to universal truths or moral truths.  He does not ask them to be enlightened by knowledge of the Good; he suggests to them that they should study history and the social order so that they can understand the forces allied against them.

Although the nobility were well-versed in martial planning and strategy, they had little knowledge of their relationship to those who had become their worst enemies – who had, through education/indoctrination slowly dispossessed them of their power and status in society.  Boulainvilliers’ noted that the nobility’s lack of real-world knowledge of themselves and those who were turning the masses against them bordered on imbecility or bewitchment.  The accusation is as valid today as it was centuries ago: the white middle-class denounces itself  as immoral and renounces its privilege, lured into this position by the priests who support the real, hidden power structure, and who present the academically-bewitched white middle class as the enemies of the masses.  The ignorant masses as promised greater equality.  So, the traditional power is squeezed between the real, elite power (those who control the media, the banks, the oil) and the masses.  This is done thr0ugh the education system (which includes, of course, the media).

Like Boulainvilliers, I do not call for bloody revolution.  The privilege of the white middle class is still to be envied when compared to the rest of the world.  But it seems clear to me that the current use of privilege-guilting is an old practice, used again and again, as a tool to transfer power from its traditional holders to the priests (and those who wield power in hidden, indirect ways).

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