What is a word that means: To deliberately educate the masses away from knowledge of self sustainability/self reliance. I heard this word some 10 years ago and can't remember what it was..

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    Capitalism. (Seriously -- think about it.)
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    Commented Jul 30, 2015 at 2:59

3 Answers 3


Close, but no cigar:


Disfranchisement is also termed to the revocation of power or control of a particular individual, community or being to the natural amenity they are abound in; that is to deprive of a franchise, of a legal right, of some privilege or inherent immunity. –Wiki

Usually, it has to do with voting:

dis·en·fran·chise /ˌdisənˈfran(t)SHīz/ verb –Google

deprive (someone) of the right to vote.
"the law disenfranchised some 3,000 voters on the basis of a residence qualification"
deprived of power; marginalized.
"a hard core of kids who are disenfranchised and don't feel connected to the school"
deprive (someone) of a right or privilege.
"a measure that would disenfranchise people from access to legal advice"

North Korea disenfranchises its citizens from just about everything.


Doublespeak (most likely coined by George Orwell in his book Nineteen Eighty-Four) is one such method of doing that which you've described. Here is the Wikipedia definition:

Doublespeak is language that deliberately disguises, distorts, or reverses the meaning of words.

In many cases, doublespeak effectively amounts to feeding the masses trivia-masquerading-as-fact so as to deter them from educating themselves — or, as Edward S. Herman is quoted (from the same Wikipedia entry),

"What is really important in the world of doublespeak is the ability to lie, whether knowingly or unconsciously, and to get away with it; and the ability to use lies and choose and shape facts selectively, blocking out those that don’t fit an agenda or program."

Note that obfuscation, or the act of purposely confusing someone or -thing, is a key component of doublespeak.

Also of note is disinformation, which (again, as defined by Wikipedia) is

"intentionally false or inaccurate information that is spread deliberately. It is an act of deception and false statements to convince someone of untruth."


I suppose you could use the word "domesticate" since one definition is:

domesticate: to breed or train (an animal) to need and accept the care of human beings [1]

Use of this word would, however, have a derogatory connotation in this context.

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