Chapter 11: How They Govern
It is abundantly self-evident that all economic power comes from the collective minds and muscles of the majority. Why, then, do we allow a small elite minority to command and exploit this vast economic power to serve its own selfish ends, leaving most of us with little?
A human being is a singular conscious entity. It has a 200-billion neuron brain which empowers it to order and conduct its life. It has the power to communicate and develop relationships with other human beings. The myriad relationships between the billions of sentient human beings on this planet connect them into what we call human society. But society itself isn't sentient. It is not a singular conscious entity. It has no brain. It cannot order and conduct its life like a giant organism.
So, what exactly is the nature of human society? It is not a machine like a car or a computer. It has no systematic structure. It is a vast nebula of individual human beings, who interact with each other according to a natural protocol. This protocol is determined by the nature of the way human beings naturally relate to each other, rather like the way atoms and molecules relate to each other in the atmosphere. The 'society' of the atmosphere is the world's weather system. Like the atmosphere, human society is therefore what science would term a 'complex dynamical system'. The only thing in it that truly has form is the human being. Its overall view is formless, rather like a cloud.
The global weather is governed entirely by the protocols of physical law, which determine how one atom interacts with another. And all is well. It has no governing hierarchy mediating the whole process. Since each 'atom' of society - the human being - is likewise able to order and conduct its interactions with others, then why is human society subject to hierarchical governments? Is government really necessary?
Government certainly exists. There is no question about that. The force of its presence is ubiquitous throughout the Earth. As a bird of freedom, I certainly feel caged by it. It is overwhelmingly powerful. But it is neither wise nor benign. Whenever it descends upon me, I find myself being forced to reason my case with what exhibits the comportment of an onmipotent cretin. Nor is it just. In my experience, its expedition of justice has proven to be painfully fallible.
Government rules the people. It is the primary power. It enforces its rule through law (expedited by a judiciary) and enforcement (expedited by a police force internally and a military externally). The three powers together form what is called the State.
The State takes the form of a wall of control. This wall contains the State's subject people and territory and excludes the rest of the world. What passes between the inside and the outside can do so only by leave of the State.
The people who reside within the wall are naively led to believe that they are what are termed citizens and that hence, the State exists for their benefit. But although they are called citizens, the majority of the inhabitants of a modern State are not citizens: they are subjects. And a subject exists for the benefit of the State: not the State for the subject. As such, they exist merely for the King's pleasure. The reason they draw breath is solely to serve a privileged elite.
Man is a sentient being. He has a powerful 200-billion neuron brain. He has the power of independent conscious thought. This empowers him to observe, experience, analyse, map and respond to his natural and social environments. He has the capacity to relate freely with his fellows. He has the inborn desire for freedom of expression and self-determination. So why does he tolerate his caged existence under the governing hierarchy of a modern State?
It is not through lack of access to learning. Modern communications and education have long since evaporated the mists of ignorance. It is not through lack of power. Enormous mechanical and computing power is now available to almost anybody in the developed world. It is because he has been deceived. An elite minority has ensnared him within a web of delusion which has convinced him that he is free, thus rendering him unable to perceive his chains of bondage.
His chains of bondage are not physical chains. They are not bars of steel or walls of stone. They are a cage of the mind. In effect, he has been beguiled into relinquishing the sovereignty of his mind. He has given up the inalienable human prerogative of free thought. He has become part of a quantum society in which all, like sheep, act in unison according to the dictates of a government hierarchy.
He has become no more than a production robot, his 200-billion-neuron brain having been relegated to doing nothing beyond that required to perform a simple cyclic procedure. He is like a powerful PC workstation that has been shamelessly wasted in the role of a dumb terminal. He is relentlessly driven by the corporate clock in an endless daily grind. Get up, go to work, perform some boring task, rush home, flop on the sofa, gawp at the television, go to bed. Thus the wheel turns. A mechanistic existence punctuated only by meals, tea-breaks and the sardine crush of an urban bus or commuter train. All for no higher purpose than to procreate and raise the next generation of factory fodder.
Even the higher so-called "professions" simply apply the same prescribed curricula, rules and procedures to lesson after lesson, case after case, project after project. For most, there is nothing to satisfy the hunger for variety and creativity, which is vital to a healthy human mind.
In this sad condition, the subject of the modern State is the callous victim of a malicious irony. Not only is he enslaved by the State to serve its corporate elite, he is also forced under a crippling burden of taxation to pay for the very agent which inflicts his enslavement. Thus, although the Earth returns bountifully to the labour of man, he ends up with very little of the fruit of his labour. Most of it is forcibly confiscated to feed State revenue and corporate profit.
Though imprisoned by his system of government and enslaved by the economics of capitalism, the subject of the modern State is oblivious to his condition. His conscious mind is trapped within the universal delusion that all are free. Notwithstanding, his subconscious mind, and the underlying physiology it controls, are not thereby deceived. They sense correctly that he is indeed a caged animal. And a caged animal invariably exhibits antisocial behaviour, which is offensive to others and destructive to all. It is a conduit of contagion for depression and despair.
How did this sad situation come about? How did we end up like this?
From the dawn of history, all forms of society appear to have been hierarchical. The obvious origin of hierarchy, as the framework for human society, is the family. Parents have lived longer than their children. They are therefore wiser. They therefore know better how things should be done. They are also physically stronger. Consequently, they have the power to enforce their wiser ways.
But children grow up and become adults. Their modes of thought change. They think to depths and abstractions, that as children, they could not. As adults, they have a mature moral sense. They gain initiative. They are able to originate and manage their own activities and affairs. Parental control would now be inhibitive. It would be counter-productive. To realize their potential they need freedom and independence. For this, they must leave their parents and form new relationships.
The Family Economy
Every family needs an economy. Its members must have some means of acquiring their needs of life. These can only be got by applying human labour to terrestrial resources. The only terrestrial resources, to which human labour can be gainfully applied, are land and what is upon and within it. Consequently, every family must be able to apply its human labour to sufficient land to acquire its adequate needs of life. Every family must therefore have economic ownership of sufficient land.
The way in which families use their available land can vary. Some may leave the land in its natural state. They may then use it passively by gathering wild fruits and wood. Other families may choose to use their land actively by cultivating it. They can reap and store their crops for later consumption. Ideally, neither the nomad nor the settler would have to fence his land or otherwise deny to others free passage through it. Each would respect the other's choice of economic usage. Each would avoid damaging the work of the other.
Of course, a family can use its land for purposes other than as sources of food and materials. They can simply use its space to accommodate activities in their chosen arena of intellect or industry, free of obligation to pay rent to a private landlord or tribute to a sovereign State.
The Natural Community
The members of a nuclear family naturally have connections with people beyond. They have family ties with their parents and siblings. They also form strong egalitarian links with friends. Each individual can comfortably relate strongly with a coterie of about 50 other individuals. This, indirectly through family ties, gives him an effective community of over 150 other individuals. Naturally, people's coteries never exactly coincide. They have varied overlaps with other communities near and far, thus linking all humanity into an egalitarian "small-world" network.
This network of relationships forms an effective channel for global co-operation in the development of knowledge, culture and industry. Why couldn't it also be the vehicle of social self-regulation? There should be no need for us to suffer the dispassionate control of State hierarchy. We have committed no crime. Yet, here we are, imprisoned without choice, by sovereign States who demand our labour to serve their elites and enforce our obedience to laws that protect them against us.
The Sovereign State
Everyone can see that the two-tier hierarchical structure of parents ordering and educating their children within the nuclear family works well. In fact, it is the obvious ideal. Unfortunately, when people observe this, they go on to commit what I call the cardinal sin of science. It is called extrapolation. They make the error of assuming that ipso facto this same structure is applicable to human society in general. They assume that human society must take the form of a big family with a hierarchy of parental-style control. The larger a society grows, the greater becomes the necessary number of layers in its government. But adults are not children. The exigent few, who assume a parental role in society are not necessarily older or wiser than the passive majority they presume to rule. All evidence I have seen points to the contrary.
Unfortunately, in a hierarchical society, only one person can be in authority over his underlings. He cannot share this authority with anyone else. This does not fit in with the natural fact that a family has two parents. So, in general, human society selects the male - the husband - as the head. It makes him the authority over his wife and children. The wife thus becomes a "second-class citizen", or more accurately, a "second-class subject".
In a hierarchical society, the individual at the very top has sovereign ownership of all the land within his jurisdiction. He is king of his sovereign State. He devises, ratifies and enforces the laws by which people live within his territory. Beneath him, his privileged peers each have economic ownership of a small portion of his territory. Each peer possesses and controls his respective portion for the purpose of gaining from it the needs of life for himself and his family. In return for this privilege, he must contribute some of his gain to the king. The king and his peers thus form a small social elite.
I use the word family in its original historic sense. It comprises the land-owner's first-born son, his wife, his other sons, his daughters, his slaves and his material possessions. His slaves include concubines. His land and his family are his property. This notion of property is the basis of a hierarchical social structure. Ownership is control.
This hierarchy of subjugation and control is maintained by rules of inheritance. When a land-owner dies, his property passes to his first-born son. Normally, the first-born son inherits the total economic possession and control of his father's land and property. Some societies decree that other sons (or even daughters) each have a lesser share. Although this dilutes economic inheritance slightly, the hierarchy is maintained. Economic power is thus confined to a small exclusive elite within the population. Slaves and sons-of-slaves - the majority - get nothing.
Perhaps the most powerful symbol of hierarchy is the pyramid. The Egyptians and Mayans probably used their enormous structures to represent their forms of society. The emperor and his elite at the top of the pyramid. Their oppressed slaves toiling eternally far beneath them. The weight of their extravagant lifestyles bearing oppressively downwards. Deference and wealth rising upwards from their obedient minions. Truly an evil system.
This same system, in one form or another, has relentlessly persisted down through the ages to the present day. Even the so-called socialist States always and inevitably translate into totalitarian hierarchies controlled by a self-appointed elite.
Modern capitalism is essentially the same hierarchical system with the same function: to facilitate the ordered and peaceful containment and exploitation of an oppressed majority by a favoured few. The difference is that modern capitalism has managed to disguise what it is rather more skilfully than did all its predecessors. Limited-liability corporations are the new "landed" estates. Their CEOs [chief executive officers] are the barons of the modern sovereign States. But it is the same evil system dressed in different clothes.
What is the function and structure of this evil system? How does it work? Within the context of nature, the gross disparity in individual well-being that we see in human society does not make any sense at all. So, what is it about human beings that induces them invariably to gravitate into the insidious form of socio-economy we call capitalism? The principle is well captured by the Parable of the Cows.
The Hapless Majority
A society, in which a small elite subjugates and enslaves the vast majority, is so obviously unfair. Why do we tolerate it? Why don't we just tell the elite where to go? Why don't we simply overpower them and throw away our chains? Do they, though small in number, possess some mysterious overwhelming power? Or is it we who are just too lazy to do anything about it?
Listening to people's dreams of an ideal world, it is clear to me that this world is far from ideal. We spend all day in a factory or office. At night we return, stressed and exhausted, to our confined suburban boxes. This is not most people's idea of heaven on Earth. Yet most people's dreams are not beyond the bounds of reality. They are of worlds that are possible on this planet. What is stopping us from realising our dreams?
Why don't we, the oppressed majority, overpower the elite and go ahead and create a better world? Many have tried. History is replete with examples like Spartacus, the Levellers and the Luddites. They were all quickly crushed. Why? Because the elite, though few in number, really do possess a mysterious overwhelming power.
Suppose I am one of the elite. I am one of that favoured few which controls and orchestrates society. I am the greatest of these. I am the king. Even so, I am only human. I do not have the power within my being to contain and exploit a vast nation. So I need the help of somebody who does. I need the help of an omnipresent omnipotent imaginary friend who will keep the people in subjugation to me through their overwhelming fear of him.
Now suppose I am one of the dispossessed majority. Why don't I do something? Let us consider what would happen if I did. I claim 2 hectares of land, my rightful inheritance as a human being born on this planet. Which 2 hectares shall I claim? All the land on the planet seems to be owned already. None of it is for sale at a price that is affordable to any but the super-rich. There is no central body responsible for allocating to an individual his rightful portion of the habitable land of the planet on which he was born.
Notwithstanding, I think 2 hectares of the Sandringham Royal Estate in the UK would do very nicely. I would have space to grow my food. I would have space to construct a dwelling that merged beautifully into the landscape. I would have space to construct a little place to work that similarly fitted in well with its surroundings. I would have air, sunshine and rain. I would have trees and grass. I would have inspiring scenery. So, off I go. I select an area that nobody is using. I mark my boundaries and occupy my rightful portion of the habitable land of this planet. Now what happens?
Along come the police, or perhaps, in this case, the army too. They are accompanied by the local authority, who bring their bulldozers to destroy my home and workplace. They then remove the debris. The police and/or the army remove me by overwhelming physical force. They detain me, probably in a prison cell at a police station. They interrogate me and charge me with trespass, invasion of private property and probably a whole host of other things that are crimes under their law. I am also deemed to have a financial debt, that will be impossible for me ever to pay, for the cost of being removed from the land that I claimed.
There thus exists an omnipresent omnipotent hierarchy of power, which denies to the individual, his self-evident inalienable right, of free access to his fair share, of the terrestrial resources through which he may directly transform his labour into his needs of life.
Who Are The Enforcers?
But who is this hierarchy? Who are the police? Who are the army? Who comprises the local authority? You! Part of the hapless exploited dispossessed majority. Police officers, soldiers, council workers are all powerless individuals who each lives in his suburban box, getting up each day, to go to the place he is told, to do what he is told, in return for his miserable subsistence. Who provides their miserable subsistences and furnishes them with the power and resources to carry out their violence against any individual who would dare to claim his rightful inheritance? You! The rest of the hapless exploited dispossessed majority, who slave at your work to pay your taxes.
Thus the physical force, used by the elite to maintain their power, does not come from them. It comes from us, the very majority against whom it is used. The few manipulate the many into subjugating each other to the will of the few. So perhaps we like living under the subjugation of the elite. Perhaps we like being slaves. Being told what to do is so much easier than planning it. Submission avoids confrontation. It minimizes responsibility. Being a slave is the easy option. It is the lazy line of least resistance.
The Lazy Apathetic Majority
The dispossessed majority are essentially too lazy to think for themselves. Most form their political opinions from impulsive emotion through a Friday night beer haze. They gullibly swallow whatever the mass-media excretes upon them. Spending prime time actively thinking about life, liberty and social injustice is simply too much effort. They would much rather spend their time passively gawping at a football match or drooling over a soap opera.
As one of the dispossessed majority, why do you slave to support a system that chains and exploits you for the exclusive benefit of a favoured few? Because you are afraid of what "happened" to me in my "Sandringham Scenario". You know what will happen to you if you take action to claim possession of what, as an inhabitant of this planet, is your morally rightful inheritance. And you are, understandably, afraid. For any lone individual to take unilateral action of this kind is futile.
So, how is a favoured few able to manipulate a vast dispossessed majority into enforcing its own subjugation to the will of this favoured few? How does this small elite create and sustain our chains of bondage?
Our Chains of Bondage
Suppose I am one of that favoured few - a landed nobleman of an ancient kingdom or the president of a modern corporation. How do I keep the common majority toiling for my grandiose gain in return for their mere subsistence?
I make every individual completely dependent upon me for his economic survival in a state of perpetual insecurity.
I isolate people from each other so they cannot form strong social relationships and thereby acquire collective power.
I keep everybody living in fear of the dire consequences, should they dare to even speak of any form of insurrection against me.
I create, within their minds, the illusion that they are free and have democratic control of their collective destiny.
1) Economic Dependence
How do I make and keep every individual completely dependent on me economically for his very survival? I simply keep him dispossessed of the natural means of directly turning his labour into his needs of life.
As an ancient baron, I use my exigent personality and well-honed combat skills to impress and dominate a sufficient number of gullible local ruffians. I organize them into an integrated loyal force. Then, I simply claim, take and enclose as much land as I can by threat, force or bullying. My peers all do the same. Together with my peers, I convene a legislature. We enact laws of enclosure. By this means, we commandeer and divide among ourselves all remaining common land. I enclose my portion and annex it as part of my private property. I forcibly deny the common majority access to my land except by my leave. My peers do the same.
All land thus becomes the private property of a small rich cartel of which I am a member. This leaves the vast majority dispossessed. None has any direct means of turning his labour into his needs of life. The only way he can survive is by selling his labour to me or to one of my peers. He is forced to seek to become my slave.
NOTE: A slave is a person who does not have direct inalienable control of sufficient terrestrial resources to turn his own work directly into his own needs of life. An employee is a person who does not possess sufficient capital to maintain his fair share of the free market. By these definitions, an employee is a slave. He must serve a master to survive. Whether his master pays him in kind or in cash does not change what he is.
Of course, I only enslave as many or as few of the common people as I need at any particular time. Those I do not need I leave destitute to beg, borrow, steal or scavenge which ever way they can. This is why those whom I enrol, work in return for the minimum level of subsistence. I set some to work my land to turn their work into my needs and luxuries of life. I set others to serve in my household or administration. I use yet others as a force to defend and preserve my interests.
As the CEO of a corporation in a modern State, I do not need to possess real terrestrial resources. I do not need land. I possess capital instead. With this, I can hire the use of land and what is upon or within it, including human labour. Nevertheless, representing resources by money does not alter the fact that the real tangible needs and luxuries of life can only come from applying human labour to the land and what is upon and within it. By owning capital, I own the Earth and what is upon and within it.
Defence of my private interests is effected for me by the police and military forces of the State. For many of the dispossessed, the military or police is often the only secure job option. Those who join, thus become part of the force that sustains the system that keeps them and their fellows enslaved. They physically enforce a universal system of law, which is constructed by me and my peers to serve and benefit our own kind.
By carefully choreographed deception, I dispossess the many of their potential shares of the free market. These I annex to form part of my own market-share, the equivalent of my predecessor's landed estate. I still wage war to extend and protect my private interests. But in the modern age, I wage my wars in an ordered and peaceful way with an army of lawyers, leaving the sovereign State to do the dirty work of physical enforcement.
The majority, who have no capital, are dispossessed of economic use of sufficient terrestrial resources to turn their labour in to their needs of life. They are also dispossessed of fair access to the free market to ply their trades. Each is trapped into complete economic dependence upon me and my peers for his very survival. His only option is to be my employee, toiling for my grandiose gain in return for his miserable pittance.
2) Individual Isolation
Suppose that, one fine day, the dispossessed masses decide to unite and organize themselves into a force large and powerful enough to overthrow me and my elite peers? How can I prevent this from happening? I isolate them, one from another, to deny them the opportunity of developing strong social ties. To do this, I sever the natural inter-personal bonds within extended families and local communities.
As an ancient baron, I make sure that natural (or anthropological) communities never form among my slaves. Groups of co-located slaves must never approach the critical mass of around 150 individuals. I therefore exchange slaves with my peers in order to isolate, from each other, all siblings, slaves who develop intense friendships and any individuals who share ideas or ambitions that may become socially revolutionary.
As modern corporate CEOs, I and my peers achieve the same goal in two stages. Firstly, through a common education system, we encourage people to acquire the specialized skills we need for our enterprises. Then, we arrange our enterprises geographically to concentrate the demand for some skills while highly distributing the demand for others. This makes it necessary for people to move from their birth communities in order to find employment.
Extended families and former close-knit communities thus find themselves spread out geographically. They end up living in the bland housing estates of distant towns and cities. One has nothing in common with his neighbour. No shared culture. No shared history. No common interests. No common goals. Distance fades old friendships. Each is alone. They are all strangers in a strange land.
At this stage, the nuclear family is still intact. A couple and their children still live together as an integrated economic unit. The enforcement of monogamous marriage makes society easy to control. It ensures that the most intense of inter-personal human relationships can exist only within the small confines of the nuclear household. Any inter-family networking that could exist can only comprise relatively weak connections.
To create complete individual isolation, I must break marriage and disintegrate the nuclear family.
I do this by gradually inflating the cost of living - especially housing - to the point that renders it not just beneficial but absolutely essential for both members of a couple to work full time. Each partner is thereby forced to seek employment independently. As the demand for skill-types polarizes geographically, members of a couple with different specializations are forced to work in different localities, towns or cities. They have to commute great distances each day in different directions. They spend less and less time together. During the short times they are together, they are exhausted. They grow apart. Their relationship deteriorates. They separate and each lives alone in smaller accommodation closer to their respective places of work. Their children are farmed out to child care businesses.
I have now divided those whom I dispossessed of their common land. I have divided the community. I have divided the generations. I have divided the extended family. I have divided the nuclear family. I have separated children from their parents. They have become a population of isolated slaves. Each is trapped in his separate cage in a human zoo, unequipped to form any but the most superficial of social relationships.
And thus divided, they are conquered.
3) A State of Fear
But will they stay conquered? In their state of dispossession, isolation and slavery, some become jealous of my affluence. Jealousy germinates the seeds of dissent. A creative minority use their ingenuity to connect covertly with slaves of other masters. They infect the passive majority with the smell of freedom. A web of insurrection is primed. Revolution erupts. My power is finished. My wealth is dissipated. I must labour to live. This is unacceptable. It is disastrous. So what must I do? I must keep everybody living in fear of the dire consequences, should they dare to even speak of any form of insurrection against me. How do I do this?
The human mind has the capacity to look beyond its immediate horizon. Everybody can see that he does not know and understand all about life, the universe and everything. All, at some time, ask themselves the deep questions. "How did the universe come to be?" "Why am I here?" "What happens after death?" These are universal unknowns. And people are naturally afraid of the unknown.
Thinkers and philosophers consider these questions. But they cannot answer them. All they can do is crystallize each fundamental question into its most succinct and cogent form. They then classify the universe into categories such as "known", "unknown", "knowable" and "unknowable". They thereby construct a kind of patchwork quilt of knowledge. This comprises areas of light and areas of darkness. The light areas are places where the truth is known. The dark patches depict areas that are unknown.
Certain people like to speculate as to what is in the dark areas. They postulate answers to the profound questions of life. They thereby attempt to fill the dark areas with light. Some fill the dark areas with scientific theories. Others fill them with God. But they only make the dark areas appear light. Their answers are speculations: not observations.
Then along comes the prophet. He claims to have knowledge about the areas of darkness. But the knowledge he claims to have is not factual. Neither is it speculative. It is revealed knowledge. He claims that some Divine Being has revealed things to him. Others then record this revealed knowledge, which, through time, acquires divine authority. It thus becomes revered as a Sacred Text.
A Sacred Text is invariably portrayed as containing two ingredients. The first is a set of rigorous obligations that are divinely required of every human being. The second is a frightening tirade of dire consequences that will befall any human being who does not fulfil his stipulated obligations to the revealed divinity. A Sacred Text depicts its originator or author as an all-seeing God who can simultaneously and continuously monitor the innermost thoughts of every human being. It also claims that all human regimes are put in place by this God and must be obeyed by all as a divine obligation.
So, how do I keep everybody living in a state of fear of the dire consequences, should they dare to speak of any form of insurrection against me? I and my privileged peers already possess all the means of transforming the labour of the common people into their needs of life. We have also divided - and thus conquered - them. We have power over them. How do we now create within them the state of fear that will guarantee their perpetual obedience? We create a religion.
We creatively interpret the Sacred Text to conform to our elitist ideals. We establish a system of law based on our interpretation of the revealed knowledge. We construct an institution for ruthlessly enforcing that law. We establish a church with a hierarchy to disseminate the "revealed" knowledge. We enact and enforce laws that require everybody to attend church every Sunday. There, we drip-feed our doctrines into the minds of the masses so that those doctrines become indelibly implanted. We set up a national network of schools. We force all parents to send their children to school for the formative years of their lives to be indoctrinated with our interpretation of the revealed knowledge. The fear is thus unceasingly re-fuelled throughout life, guaranteeing continual subservience.
4) Illusion of Freedom
Unfortunately, sooner or later, some of these indoctrinated masses start to think. Their knowledge increases. They start to question the status quo. Some dare to question the truth and validity of the revealed knowledge. They start to see through our masks. How do we dis-empower these upstarts to prevent them from infecting the rest of our captive population with their free ideas?
Steeped in our teachings, and constrained by our law, the masses, at first, reject the ideas of any rebellious free thinkers. But they don't reject radical ideas forever. Eventually, free thought infiltrates institutions of higher learning. It slowly percolates into the population. Religious fervour and belief gradually wane. Although the established law and institutions exert a vast inertia that resists change, the public mind slowly but surely gravitates towards secularism. Fear of the supernatural evaporates, and with it, the fear of our authority. We start to lose control over those whom our forebears dispossessed and enslaved. What can we do?
If they are to be made to continue to serve our interests then some other form of external force must be applied. The ancient king or a modern totalitarian dictator would maintain the subservience of their subjects through force of arms. But, in a modern "democracy" in a connected world, this would be dangerous. It would invite insurrection and revolution. As the corporate elite of a modern democratic State, we therefore use a different - much more stealthy - means of keeping the masses in line. We sell them a dream.
We persuade them that if they behave well and work hard, they have an equal chance with anybody of making it big. It is the idea that the capitalist free-market economy is a level playing field. But this is a false dream. It is an illusion. Yet it works. Like sheep, the masses follow our lead. They respond positively. They learn hard. They become qualified cogs. They join the State bureaucracies. They join the State enforcement agencies. They join the corporate workforces. They work hard all their lives. But the vast majority get nowhere. They retire on their measly pensions. And then they die.
Thus we move from autocracy to "democracy". Power shifts from State hierarchy to corporate hierarchy. The State becomes the servant of capital. Government becomes the puppet of vested interest. Religious fear is replaced by economic insecurity. Religion is replaced with politics. Within the minds of our toiling slaves, we implant the comforting illusion that they are free individuals with full democratic control of their collective destiny.
We replace our interpreted teachings of supernaturally revealed knowledge with a secular philosophy of morals and ethics. Thus we induce a universal obligation of obedience to the work ethic and the corporate hierarchy. We spin the reasoning to make what is good for us appear good for them. We engrave this upon their minds by a constant drip-feed through the secular mass media. We divert the public mind from serious social debate by surreptitiously focusing it on trivia like football and soap operas.
Now we can relax. With their minds in the prison of delusion, our slaves continue - without the need for force or fear - to serve us obediently and unquestioningly in the pursuit of our profit. We have created a new elitist idyll.
The Revealed Knowledge contains a detailed moral code. It purports to tell us how the creator of the universe requires us to behave. The elite few foisted this austere code upon the masses through deception and the fear of eternal damnation, should the divine all-seeing eye ever catch them transgressing.
The Theory of Evolution destroyed the myth of the all-seeing eye and the fear it invoked. It rendered the individual free once again to have private thoughts, without fear of them being monitored or scrutinized by an unseen being. But it didn't offer an alternative structure and morality for human society.
Consequently, society was left, by default, with the old hierarchical structure, governed by a secular morality that was based entirely on the moral code revealed in the ancient text.
Society is now secular. But it has inherited the cultural and legal structures of its religious past. Its form and composition have not changed. It still exists solely for the pleasure of a small idle elite who are served by a dispossessed majority. The same hierarchical control is still there. Fear of the sword of authority remains. Insurrection is still futile.
The demise of supernatural fear has, however, given the individual a potential and a motive for free and radical thought. Indeed, enclaves of radical free thought exist in the world. In many countries its influence has taken root. One subject of radical thought that has risen to prominence at various times, over the past century or so, involves the notion of ownership.
Any economic system must necessarily be a methodology for applying human labour to the terrestrial biosphere in order to acquire the needs of human life. Economic policy is essentially how that labour should be applied and how what the land yields should be distributed among those whose labour is thus applied.
So in recent times, in certain countries, thinking people have - through great tribulation - sought to establish an alternative kind of socio-economic system based on fairer rules of acquisition and ownership. This alternative system is generally known as Socialism. Unfortunately, the term itself has, in today's capitalist world, become severely diluted.
Socialists argue as follows. Capital supposedly represents wealth. Wealth is created only by the collective effort of most - if not all - members of society. Consequently, capital is a collective product. They therefore deem it to be collectively owned by those who produce it - namely the whole of society. Hence, and more fundamentally, they deem the means of transforming labour into the needs of life - namely the biosphere of Planet Earth - to be the collective inheritance of all.
Sadly, wherever Socialism is implemented, common ownership sooner or later translates into State ownership. This, in turn, translates into State control of all national resources including land and labour. State control translates into government control, which, in effect, is control by a committee (or soviet). Control by committee translates into control by the committee's leader or dominant personality. This ultimately translates into dictatorship, whereby is established a national command economy.
In the West, most people exclaim in horror at the very idea of a command economy. It is viewed as being inefficient and cumbersome. Why, therefore, in time of war, when a nation's back is to the wall, when every last resource must be utilised to the full, does even the most capitalist of nations instantly revert to a government-controlled command economy?
I remember the farmer (whom I mentioned in Chapter 8) telling me about the plight of a fellow farmer during World War II. Farmers were ordered by the government as to what they must grow and when. This fellow farmer was ordered by the government to plant a certain crop on his farm. He refused because he knew from experience that the crop concerned would not grow in his type of soil. He said it would be a complete waste and that it would be better to plant what he knew would grow. The government confiscated his farm and placed somebody else in charge to plant the required crop. The crop was a complete failure and had no usable yield whatsoever. A complete and utter waste. The farmer's confiscated land was never returned to him: not even after the war.
Throughout all my writings so far, I have been destructively critical of all mainstream political options and schools of thought. I have therefore written a little political disclaimer to clarify where I stand.
Each human being is an individual of limited size, strength, mobility and intellectual capacity. The range and diversity of its physical senses also confine it to its immediate horizon. Each can occupy, know and influence directly only a small part of the Earth's surface at any time. Reason therefore suggests that each should employ an area of the planet not more than that which extends to his immediate physical horizon of influence. And this lends itself better to a divided rather than to a collective use of the Earth.
The case of the "fellow" farmer above illustrates this well. He knew how best to use the small piece of the Earth's surface with which he was expertly familiar. His situation, however, pertains to a socio-economic principle that is very different from both capitalism and socialism. A divided use of the Earth requires divided control of its economic resources. This, in turn, necessitates that government be distributed rather than centralised; networked rather than hierarchical.
© June 2008, August 2013 Robert John Morton