Goya, the famous Spanish painter was well known for dark art. No one ever accused him of seeing only the sunny side of life. Goya inscribed one of his works with the following words: “The sleep of reason brings forth monsters.” I find that profoundly true. If we give up reason, we open ourselves up to nightmares, and much worse.
Voltaire, the father or the child of the Enlightenment, and one might say a Fundamentalist Enlightenment thinker, said it best when he said,: “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.” I would put it this way, “If I can get you to believe something without any evidence it is true, I can convince you to kill your friend.” Voltaire also understood that when truth was no longer respected there was a slippery slope to tyranny. That is why reason is so important. Reason is our best defence against tyranny. Credulity is our worst enemy.
Historian Timothy Snyder, an expert of European fascism recently said, “Post-truth is pre-fascism.”
Tyranny is one of the worst monsters born out of the sleep of reason. The tyrant knows he is safe when he can convince people to believe the absurd.