Governments Don’t Want Well Informed

Governments don't want well informed
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“Governments don’t want well informed, well educated people capable of critical thinking. That is against their interests. They want obedient workers, people who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork. And just dumb enough to passively accept it.”George Carlin


George Carlin (1937-2008) was an American comedian, actor, writer and social critic, known for his irreverent, controversial, and often politically charged humor. He was a prominent voice in the counterculture movement of the 1960s and 1970s, and his comedic routines often addressed social and political issues of the time. His comedy also touched on the English language, psychology, and anything taboo. Comedy Central ranked him second in the list of 100 greatest stand-up comedians in 2004.

During the peak of his career in the late 1960’s, he became a frequent performer and guest on the Tonight Show, and hosted the first episode of “Saturday Night Live.” He was making a total sum of $250,000 annually. Nevertheless, Carlin eventually got tired of his “conventional” image that he changed his routines and his appearance. In the 1970’s, he transformed into an anti-establishment hippie who constantly got in trouble with the police.

The idea that governments may prefer a population that is not highly educated or capable of critical thinking has been a topic of debate for decades. It is argued that an educated population is more likely to question authority and hold leaders accountable, which can be a threat to those in power. On the other hand, a population that is not highly educated or capable of critical thinking is more likely to blindly accept the status quo and not challenge the status quo. It implies that governments do not have the best interest of the citizens in mind, and that citizens should strive to retain their own rights.

Moreover, this quote also touches on the topic of education and how it can empower individuals to think critically and make informed decisions. Education can play a crucial role in helping individuals understand their rights and responsibilities as citizens and how to participate in the democratic process. It also enables them to make informed decisions about their health, their environment, and their future, and to question the information they are presented with.

Carlin had made adversaries later in his career not only for being “too outspoken” but also for being a self-professed atheist and avid cocaine user. But although he was deemed anti-religious and disrespectful by conservatives, the younger counterculture saw him as a hero. Eventually, he was arrested for violating obscenity laws after his infamous show “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television.” It’s ironic to think that we now hear most of those words all over the place and have become desensitized to them, but prior to Carlin’s day they were considered very shocking by most.

Called “the dean of counterculture comedians” by one newspaper, his influence spawned a new brand of intellectual yet “irreverent” comedians, such as Louis C.K., Jon Stewart, and Ricky Gervais. On the same year he died, he was posthumously awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, America’s highest honor for comedians.

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