Fritz Agency
Published by
Seven Stories Press (February 2021)
Current material
Society & Social Sciences


And the Fight to Free Knowledge

by Kaufman, Peter B.

In The New Enlightenment, MIT Open Learning's Peter B. Kaufman describes the powerful forces that have purposely crippled our efforts to share knowledge widely and freely.

Popes and their inquisitors, emperors and their hangmen, commissars and their secret police - throughout history, all have sought to stanch freedom of information throughout time, all in the name of some spurious greater good. Kaufman takes us on a tour of the battlefields of fights against the worst kinds of thought control. He writes of times when the Bible could not be translated - you'd be burned for trying; when dictionaries and encyclopedias of facts were forbidden; when literature and science and history books were censored (sometimes along with their authors), trashed, and pulped; and when efforts to develop public networks of television and radio were quashed by private industry and hopes were abandoned. In the 21st century, the enemies of free thought have taken on new and different guises - giant corporate behemoths, sprawling national security agencies, gutted regulatory commissions. Bereft of any real moral compass or sense of social responsibility, their work to surveil and control us are no less nefarious than their 16th, 18th, and 20th century predecessors'. They are all part of what Kaufman calls the hideous and overgrown Monsterverse.

The New Enlightenment maps out the opportunities we have to take to mobilize for the fight ahead of us.

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Fritz Agency
Antonia Fritz

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Peter Kaufman has provided a powerful argument for the right of all of us to know. In forceful prose, he explains how information has been controlled from the invention of printing to today. But, he argues, thanks to the internet, we can still win the battle to create the full and free access to knowledge necessary for self-governing. This is a book that will spearhead debate in the twenty-first century. -- Alice Kessler Harris, R. Gordon Hoxie Professor of History, Emerita, Columbia University

Quote: Blurb

Peter B. Kaufman's rigorous and eloquent new book, The New Enlightenment and the Fight to Free Knowledge, traces the history of this dream of open access to knowledge. ... Kaufman's passionate proposal, should the economic and political will to execute it be summoned, could help to build this new home of mind, a.k.a. the noosphere... -- L.A. Review of Books

Review: The Los Angeles Review of Book

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