It is no longer possible,” John Dewey lamented in his 1939 book
Freedom and Culture
, “to hold the simple faith of the Enlightenment that assured advance of science will produce free institutions by dispelling ignorance and superstition,” those traditional “sources of human servitude and the pillars of oppressive government.” While dispensing truth and liberty, science has also given despots tools to control public opinion not by suppressing ideas but by promulgating ideas that buttress their repressive regimes. Thus, “for practically the first time in human history, totalitarian states exist claiming to rest upon the active consent of the governed.” Tyranny isn’t new, but tyrants who can rely on popular support from brainwashed or bullied masses are a product of modern technology, an unintended outcome of scientific Enlightenment.
The Vatican has announced that Pope Francis will confer the ministries of catechist, lector, and acolyte upon lay men and