This falsehood is pushed by the elitist, social Darwinian. The phrase reeks of corporate public relations propaganda and the Madison Avenue peddlers of personal insecurity. On an individual level, deciding to perceive our own life in a positive and optimistic light can have its shallow benefits, if only temporarily. Of course, the reality of a person's circumstances, if viewed by an impartial and unattached set of eyes, is what it is. In a digital media age, governmental and corporate leaders use human psychology against the passive viewer, with slick talking heads to spin ideas, filter out uncomfortable truths, and shape their desired perceptions. Indeed, it requires an active (if not rebellious) mind to withstand the perpetual motion of the corporate PR machine. Remember the hubris of former White House chief-of-staff Karl Rove, who admitted:
"We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors ... and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."Ignorance is NOT Bliss
Unfortunately, a large number of us subconsciously live with the original statement as a kind of personal philosophy. Society is run for the benefit of a very few, the government is corrupt, our birthright is being stolen, and civil society is breaking down. People know this, but it scares them and they simply do not want to deal with it. Ignorance is Slavery! This is the context in which English poet Thomas Gray wrote Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College:
"Yet ah! why should they know their fate?
Since sorrow never comes too late,
And happiness too swiftly flies.
Thought would destroy their paradise.
No more; where ignorance is bliss,
'Tis folly to be wise."
Gray's statement is a satirical warning to his countrymen. Ironically, we formerly free and democratic people have come to live in a world in which we delegate our just and sovereign authority to the bureaucratic state, Law Enforcement, and distant panels of experts. In the post-democratic West, the global elite are happy to oblige in running every facet of our lives.
The Ends DO NOT Justify the Means
The quintessential Machiavellian notion tends to be the foundational idea for tyrants and control freaks, big and small. Wrapped in visions of a Utopian society, the oligarchs sadistically believe in their right to power at the expense of all other interests. The leadership in domestic law enforcement agencies accept this concept wholeheartedly. For them, better some innocent men be imprisoned than any "criminal" live free. Similarly, their actions prove that they believe they should be above the law to more effectively enforce that law upon civilians. Our rights have become a serious obstruction to the will of the strong arm of the law. Of course, if we lose our liberties, there is no society worth protecting; only the local warlords who repress their fiefdom so that the powers that be can better rob their victims.