My last post noted leaders on both the left and the right tell whoppers, but only the right punishes. The left not only stands fast behind their lies but actively works to suppress embarrassing facts. What accounts for this disparity? The answer may reside in society’s historical makeup.
My series on “The Long Journey To More” stated there were only three ways to gain”More,” take it from somebody else, trade, or innovate. Before the 15th century, the first two were prevalent. Innovation was a slow and uneven process. The wheeled axle took many thousands of years to develop. The idea only made it to the new world after Columbus.
As people became agrarian and settled out of necessity, humankind across the world formed stratified societies. The lack of materials limited the ability to read, write and use numbers to less than 10% of any population. Because they knew the literate dominated.
The educated group was mostly hereditary and governed, ran the military, and performed religious functions. As a result, most of the good things in life accrued to them. The rest of humanity led near-subsistence lives.
The exceptions to this elite-peasant split were artisans and traders. Reading, writing, and arithmetic likely started with these people. The necessity to record and total transactions or make measurements demanded a specific literacy.
Change threatens the stability of privileged positions; it enhances the prospects of others. Of course, this meant tension between the relatively comfortable elite and those striving to do things better and more profitable. Accommodations between these classes were constant to reduce friction. Still, the two made up the literate one in ten.Continue reading