The only justification for repressive institutions is material and cultural deficit. But such institutions, at certain stages of history, perpetuate and produce such a deficit, and even threaten human survival.
Anti-intellectualism … first got its strong grip on our ways of thinking because it was fostered by an evangelical religion that also purveyed many humane and democratic sentiments. It made its way into our politics because it became associated with our passion for equality. It has become formidable in our education partly because our educational beliefs are evangelically egalitarian. Hence, as far as possible, our anti-intellectualism must be excised from the benevolent impulses upon which it lives by constant and delicate acts of intellectual surgery which spare these impulses themselves.
"Anti-Intellectualism in American Life" (1974)
I have a foreboding of an America in my children's or grandchildren's time -- when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what's true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness...

The dumbing down of American is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30 second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance.
"The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark"
It doesn't matter what our parents think. Most of our parents, despite their big careers and degrees, are zombies brainwashed by television, and think they are informed by watching the news and reading the new york times. They are, for the most part, lost. Not to mention, they will be dead soon.

What matters is our generation, and the generations after us. Edward Snowden, Bill Binney, Thomas Drake, and others have made the information available so we can know the truth, and act accordingly. People are now able able to choose, rationally, based on factual evidence, what side of history to be on. The true revolution begins in people's minds, after all. We are in a position to choose between an enlightenment and a dark age.
These definitions coincide with the terms which, since Greek antiquity, have been used to define the forms of government as the rule of man over man—of one or the few in monarchy and oligarchy, of the best or the many in aristocracy and democracy, to which today we ought to add the latest and perhaps most formidable form of such dominion, bureaucracy, or the rule by an intricate system of bureaux in which no men, neither one nor the best, neither the few nor the many, can be held responsible, and which could be properly called the rule by Nobody. Indeed, if we identify tyranny as the government that is not held to give account of itself, rule by Nobody is clearly the most tyrannical of all, since there is no one left who could even be asked to answer for what is being done. It is this state of affairs which is among the most potent causes for the current world-wide rebellious unrest.
"On Violence"
Man's main task in life is to give birth to himself, to become what he potentially is. The most important product of his effort is his own personality.
Until now the totalitarian belief that everything is possible seems to have proved only that everything can be destroyed. Yet, in their effort to prove that everything is possible, totalitarian regimes have discovered without knowing it that there are crimes which men can neither punish nor forgive. When the impossible was made possible it became the unpunishable, unforgivable absolute evil which could no longer be understood by the evil motives of self-interest, greed, covetousness, resentment, lust for power, and cowardice; and which therefore anger could not revenge, love could not endure, friendship could not forgive. Just as the victims in the death factories or the holes of oblivion are no longer "human" in the eyes of their executioners, so this newest species of criminals is beyond the pale even of solidarity in human sinfulness.

It is inherent in our entire philosophical tradition that we cannot conceive of a "radical evil." And this is true both for Christian theology, which conceded even to the Devil himself a celestial origin, as well as for Kant, the only philosopher who, in the word he coined for it, at least must have suspected the existence of this evil even though he immediately rationalized it in the concept of a "perverted ill will" that could be explained by comprehensible motives. Therefore, we actually have nothing to fall back on in order to understand a phenomenon that nevertheless confronts us with its overpowering reality and breaks down all the standards we know. There is only one thing that seems to be discernible: we may say that radical evil has emerged in connection with a system in which all men have become equally superfluous.
"The Origins of Totalitarianism"
The only remedy for a barren heart is prayer, however poor and inadequate. As I did that night at Blumberg, I'll keep on repeating it for us both: We must pray, and pray for each other, and if you were here, I'd fold hands with you, because we're poor, weak, sinful children. Oh, Fritz, if I can't write anything else just now, it's only because there's a terrible absurdity about a drowning man who, instead of calling for help, launches into a scientific, philosophical, or theological dissertation while the sinister tentacles of the creatures on the seabed are encircling his arms and legs, and the waves are breaking over him. It's only because I'm filled with fear, that and nothing else, and feel an undivided yearning for him who can relieve me of it.
Most Americans are educated in name only — we do not have the comprehension of ideas that would be required to think for ourselves, and we also are not trained or encouraged to do this. Not only are we unable to think creatively, we don't even possess this expectation, and this is not an accident.

There are many vested interests that prefer us as we are — in government, religion and in corporate America. Think how much more trouble we would be if we could think for ourselves. Not only would we be much more difficult to govern (to the degree that politicians would have to explain their actions), we would be much more alert to the public stupidity that so often surrounds us.
If you look at the countries of the world and ask how are they dealing with climate change — probably our biggest challenge as a species — one of the worst records is in the US, the richest country, and one of the best, maybe the best, is in Bolivia, the second-poorest country of South America. It’s striking that countries that have large indigenous populations are at the forefront of this battle. They are pressing very hard for what is often called ‘rights of nature’ but should be called ‘right to survival’.
One must not always think so much about what one should do, but rather what one should be. Our works do not ennoble us; but we must ennoble our works.
When young one is confident to be able to build palaces for mankind, but when the time comes one has one's hands full just to be able to remove their trash.
Letter to Johann Kaspar Lavatar (March 6, 1780)
Don't depend too much on anyone in this world because even your own shadow leaves you when you are in darkness.
My feeling then, and now, is that IF there is to be an army, then the burden of service should be shared, not assigned to the disadvantaged by one or another means, as in the case of all onerous tasks. That does not imply that those called upon to share the burden should necessarily agree. There are always cases where refusal is justified, and refusal to serve in Vietnam was, in my opinion, one such case. Same always. Garbage collection should be shared, not assigned to the disadvantaged, but if someone is ordered to dump toxic wastes in a schoolyard, he or she should refuse.
ZNet forum reply, February 3, 2005
Part of understanding the creative urge is understanding that it's primal. Wanting to change the world is not a noble calling, it's a primal calling.
An idea is not responsible for the people who believe in it.
Before the sponsored updates.
Before the terms of service changed.
Before data stopped being private.
Before we sold our memories.
Before we forgot our rights.
Before everything that made media
Less social and more cynical,
There was one simple idea:
Our lives are our own.
What we share and who we share it with,
Our memories, our secrets,
Our lives are our own.
That idea is important
So we’re going back to before.
And in going back to before,
We’re going forward.
It's true that I detest organised, bigtime, major league religions... but I love spiritual individuals, you can see the universe in their eyes, if you're really looking... I love people, I hate crowds, groups, organisations... soon they become zealots, then they start wearing hats... then they have fight songs and come and visit you at 3 am in the morning...
If I get the call to come in and fix engineering issues, I immediately try to seek out the people who are clearly disgruntled or have already confirmed that they are finishing a 30-day or 2-week notice due to employment elsewhere. If I'm able to identify that they are correctly disgruntled, and simply not causing havoc, I'm going to feed you your employees’ own knowledge. And I'm likely going to charge more than it would have cost for you to simply listen to your employees.

When you do not listen to this relaying of information, and you are still set on hiring outside forces to solve your problem, I will do whatever engineering is required and absolutely shock you in terms of how productive one engineer could be. In reality, this is not because I'm a super genius high-level engineer, it is because I am leveraging your team's engineering against you because you are too fucking thick to see otherwise. This goes back to my writing of "Learn from Your Mistakes." I will give you every tool possible, and perform to the best of my ability, to help you prevent making the same mistakes. If you are not willing to learn, I am more than willing to charge extra the next time you call me.

It is important to note here that I am not trying to take advantage of your situation. Charging more is a direct response to being tired of lessons not being learned. Conversely, I do in fact lower my rates and increase my availability for companies that have proven to learn from their mistakes and adapt. This is because while they still may have a problem or are facing a situation caused by outside forces. Working with those who understand growth both as an employee and as a company simply feels good, and that is exactly what I want to do.
Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic socialism, as I understand it. It seems to me nonsense, in a period like our own, to think that one can avoid writing of such subjects. Everyone writes of them in one guise or another. It is simply a question of which side one takes and what approach one follows.
What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.
Just as love is an orientation which refers to all objects and is incompatible with the restriction to one object, so is reason a human faculty which must embrace the whole of the world with which man is confronted.
The ceaseless, senseless demand for original scholarship in a number of fields, where only erudition is now possible, has led either to sheer irrelevancy, the famous knowing of more and more about less and less, or to the development of a pseudo-scholarship which actually destroys its object.
If machines produce everything we need, the outcome will depend on how things are distributed. Everyone can enjoy a life of luxurious leisure if the machine-produced wealth is shared, or most people can end up miserably poor if the machine-owners successfully lobby against wealth redistribution. So far, the trend seems to be toward the second option, with technology driving ever-increasing inequality.
I make a statement. Then another. Soon, more follow; truncated by pauses, commas, contemplative line breaks. The flow is shallow, stagnated. The words stop as quickly as they start. Another sentence. They are interminable, needlessly pithy reminders of a point I'm trying to bore into your skull. They are obtrusive. Some time later - though not so much later, in this instance - I break my cadence with a qualification blocked in hyphens. It is expository, important, essential to the rhythm of the piece. You can tell that this is intentional. Another sentence. Then another. This one, slightly longer, though not much. My points are considered; important. Take heed of this gravitas.
I think we've gone well past the equilibrium point between ease of use and computer literacy, to the point that we are now disempowering users rather than helping them. If someone record a video on their phone and want to share it we know it's just a file on a disk, but most users don't, to them it's just a video that appears in a list in an app. We know a file can be copied, modified, shared, etc, but all they can do is what the share button on the phone's UI allows them to do, like upload to youtube. Even if they had a youtube clone owned by themselves or a friend they wouldn't know how to upload it.

I saw it with my mother going through photos she took on her digital camera, she's a slave to the software that came with the camera and the features it provides. She doesn't access the file, she goes through a UI to view the images and manipulate them. If she wants to post them to facebook she does that through the UI. When the camera dies and is replaced she has to relearn a different software package whereas if she'd managed her files through explorer like we probably do then the knowledge would be transferable.

Unless we start teaching computer fundamentals better and expect people to apply that knowledge to do things then we are sliding head first into the world of digital serfdom.
God isn't dead, he just couldn't find a parking place.