“Knowledge is power,” Sir Frances Bacon wrote in 1597. Three centuries later, English historian Lord John Acton added, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority.”
So, if “knowledge is power,” and “power corrupts,” then one might conclude: “Knowledge corrupts.”
Granted, this is a syllogism – not the most valid form of argument.
Still, the world seems hell-bent on proving it true.
Knowledge seems very squishy these days. Each of us considers our own perspective to be based on “facts,” and opposing perspectives on “alternative facts.” Even “fact-checking” has lost credibility—especially when it exposes the fact-checkers’ own biases. Yet most of us tend to find and believe “facts” that support our preferred narrative, with no further thought or research at all.