In our society there are institutions for explaining what you should believe. There is someone on top, be it a person or a group or something more abstract, and they tell you what is true. If you don’t believe it you are either stupid or crazy. I call this Intellectual Feudalism. We have lords who tell us what to believe, and if we do so without independent thought and investigation, we are intellectual serfs.
In the past our lord was the church. You believed what they said or burned at the stake. Nowadays the church isn’t as powerful as before, although it does wield a lot of influence in some places and among certain types of people. Yet the practice hasn’t changed. Now we have countless “official” sources, be they government or academic, or corporate that has the appearance of being government or academia. You have to believe what the government says or you are a conspiracy theorist. You have to believe what academia says or you believe in superstition and pseudo-science. This, of course, is simply mind control. On some levels it is done deliberately to control people. Yet a lot of people sincerily believe in the intellectual authority of an abstract authority figure and attack you if you do not comply. They would be intellectual serfs (an alternative for sheeple?).
Everything about this Intellectual Feudalism isn’t necessarily bad. Sometimes governments do know better (or rather the people working for the government) about some issues, whereas the general public does not, and acts appropriately in those situations in the best interest of everyone. Academics too have a lot of actual knowledge in some issues, whereas in others they blindly follow dogma. So the problem is not inherent in having these intellectual authority figures, but rather when people blindly accept them. It is a way of evading responsibility. “I don’t know how humanity came to be, but since they say Creationism/ Evolution is the answer I believe them. I don’t want to face this difficult issue myself.”
The fact that we have institutions that oppress us is not really the fault of the institution, even though I’d gladly get rid of them, but of the people who want them to oppress them. Since the intellectual feudal master gives the serf intellectual security, the serf is happy to sell his soul for it. So say no to Intellectual Feudalism. Don’t be a serf!