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Welcome to the Second Enlightenment

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New Discourses Logo  fiber_manual_record  Oct 15th, 2021

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The New Discourses Podcast with James Lindsay, Episode 51


You may have noticed that times are turbulent and that something very nefarious seems to be afoot. You're not wrong, of course. That's exactly what's happening, and it presents a dangerous time for humanity. The question is why it's happening because the answer to that question informs us significantly on our prospects going forward. On the one hand, and this is correct, a global push for a kind of communo-fascism is underway: a power grab of the grandest proportions in human history. This is consistent with Communist visions stretching back over a century and must be recognized and resisted. On the other hand, it's happening now instead of at some other time. Is that merely because the technological tools to make this attempt finally exist, with digital technology and social media enabling new forms of propaganda and social credit systems for unprecedented social control? Partly, yes, but merely, no. The internet, like its nearest conceptual predecessor, the printing press, has changed everything. Understanding the nature of that change sheds useful light on the world we now inhabit along with how we should address this new threat and what we have to look forward to if (or when) we succeed.


In this episode of the New Discourses Podcast, host James Lindsay walks us through a view that breaks out of our limited historical parallax and considers the question of what's going on around us in a broader frame. What he sees is the dawn of the Second Enlightenment, which will change the world in unbelievable ways for the better if it can set the world ablaze and spread its light. Drawing on lessons from the previous Enlightenment, which unfolded from the sixteenth through the nineteenth centuries, Lindsay makes a case that for all it did accomplish, it didn't do the one thing that most educated liberals believe it did. The First Enlightenment did not create a Marketplace of Ideas. It created an aristocracy of ideas, which was a huge step in the right direction away from the magisteria of the Darker Age that preceded it. Now, with the advent of the internet and the ability for the average person to hold "information property" by the fruits of his own research, the Marketplace of Ideas is finally emerging. It's also threatening the power of the "information aristocrats" in the Expert Caste, including its worst offenders, the technocrats. These are doing everything in their power to re-establish a technocratic information aristocracy in the form of a new administered information economy: an information socialism totally under oligarchical technocratic control. Join James for this eye-opening discussion here on the New Discourses Podcast.

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