Distrust in democracy and “the common man” is used as a rationale for having different classes of people invested in different “grades” or “tranches” of truth. The belief that commoners can’t handle the truth is probably the central dogma of modern politics. The belief is to some extent real, as self-deception is critical to credible lying, but primarily serves to mask the deep conflicts of interest of those holding power. The dogma is frequently presented in a way to suggest that truth is imminently dangerous to national security concerns, justifying the invocation of state’s secrets. One version of this “Father knows best” attitude was famously articulated by Irving Kristol:
“There are different kinds of truths for different kinds of people. There are truths appropriate for children; truths that are appropriate for students; truths that are appropriate for educated adults; and truths that are appropriate for highly educated adults, and the notion that there should be one set of truths available to everyone is a modern democratic fallacy. It doesn’t work.”
Irving’s taxonomy of people according to grades of maturity and education, which I read as code words for “ideological intelligence” is almost diabolically funny, in retrospect.