PJ Media

The end of reason?

I am re-reading a href=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0226320553?ie=UTF8tag=wwwviolentkicomlinkCode=as2camp=1789creative=9325creativeASIN=0226320553″span style=”font-style:italic;”span style=”font-style:italic;”The Road to Serfdom/span/span/aimg src=”http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=wwwviolentkicoml=as2o=1a=0226320553″ width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” / as it’s been awhile and I tend to forget material that is not right in front of me. One of my favorite chapters in the book is one entitled, “The End of Truth” where Hayek discusses propaganda and it’s role in a totalitarian society. He argues that intellectual freedom is important because it leads to intellectual progress:br /br /blockquote…So long as dissent in not suppressed, there will always be some who will query the ideas ruling their contemporaries and put new ideas to the test of argument and propaganda.br /br /This interaction of individuals, possessing different knowledge and different views, is what constitutes the life of thought. The growth of reason is a social process based on the existence of such differences. It is of its essence that its results cannot be predicted, that we cannot know which views will assist this growth and which will not–in short, that this growth cannot be governed by any views which we now possess without at the same time limiting it. To “plan” or “organize” the growth of mind, or for that matter, progress in general, is a contradiction in terms. The idea that the human mind ought “consciously” to control its own development confuses individual reason, which alone can “consciously control” anything, with the interpersonal process to which its growth is due. By attempting to control it, we are merely setting bounds to its development and must sooner or later produce a stagnation of thought and a decline of reason.br /br /The tragedy of collectivist thought is that, while it starts out to make reason supreme, it ends by destroying reason because it misconceives the process on which the growth of reason depends. /blockquotebr /br /When I think of the suppression of a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming_controversy#Political_pressure_on_scientists”free thought in areas like global warming /aor a href=”http://blogcritics.org/politics/article/suspending-fifth-grader-for-anti-obama/”children who are suspended/a for their political beliefs, I wonder how future generations will ever learn how to figure out truth from fiction, or learn critical thought and reason. If science, truth and reason lead to progress and our society suppresses it, will we stagnate both economically and in terms of our progress as a society? I am going to assume that the answer is “yes.”