Critical Thinking is Dangerous

It’s a matter of who it is dangerous for that matters.

The danger of critical thinking is this – you teach people to think (not what to think) and to question things. This usually leads to questioning the status quo and authority, rather them memorize the approved answer. This can make those who are more concerned with control and order a bit nervous because critical thinking places a higher value on seeking knowledge and truth, rather than order and control.

Critical thinking, in whatever form it takes, is the antidote to authoritarianism, which is more interested in control. Authoritarianism doesn’t want people to think – or rather to think for themselves or to think critically. It would rather indoctrinate and tell people what to think.

It doesn’t matter if we are talking about authoritarian politics, religion, or anything else. It’s all the same. It’s about maintaining a controlled status quo, keeping order (as if it were sacred), and centralizing power. Critical thinking is antithetical to authoritarianism because it is about empowering people, rather than hoarding power in the hands of just a few. Authoritarianism is dehumanizing to its core because it asserts that only a select few are chosen by God to lead, so don’t question them or the system they maintain. It’s a modern day version of divine right kings.

Want to spot an authoritarian tactic? Simple – anything that tries to limit thought, conversation, hides facts and history. It demands compliance and demand that everyone agree with the authoritarian’s version of reality and facts, regards of the truth. Banning books fits into this. So does restricting what can be taught about history. Authoritarians and authoritarian systems exist on both the left and right.

Critical thinking is dangerous. But not thinking critically is more dangerous.


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