From my inbox an exchange re, Sunday Herald: Opinion, Ian Bell (currently off-line due to a legal dispute).
Date: Sat, 3 Mar 2007 09:56:09 +0000 (GMT)
From: John Pate <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: RE: FW: My posting on Sunday herald site
On Fri, 2 Mar 2007, LB wrote:
Hi John - Seems I'm more optimistic than you are - I believe that there are more people who understand reality than do not.
I do my best to remain optimistic. I believe there are more good people than bad - if there aren't then we're screwed anyway whatever way the world is ordered.
It's just that they are not being heard. The problem in the UK is that the democratic process is no longer that, it's pseudodemocracy manipulated by those with power or influence for their own ends. The tactic is simple - ignore anything you don't like or agree with and deny opponents any space in the media. In other words - just force feed the peasants your version of reality.
In many ways this is the story of civilisation. The elite classes maintain their power and privilege by psychological manipulation.
When however those in power get it wrong, an unfortunate thing occurs - people start to think for themselves. Now it might be in a confused way (like Ian Bell) because they haven't yet got (or accepted) all the facts but it is definitely movement in the right direction.
What you get when your view of reality signally fails to match up to actual reality is cognitive dissonance. That's what Bell is experiencing. It can lead to highly pathological behaviour as the person's behaviour and thinking becomes ever more disconnected from reality in an attempt to maintain the belief system.
There's actually less problem, in that regard, with the criminal classes who are busy at work attempting to run things. They don't have this false consciousness clouding their judgement. They are capable of pragmatically adapting their behaviour to achieve the maximum benefit available to them from the situation. However, there is a fundamental problem with the kind of people who make a success inside big government organisations, big bureaucracies, both public and `private' - the corporate welfare state we live in means it's absurd to draw any distinction between government coercion and big business government-backed coercion. That problem is that they are psychopaths. They lack the moral compass and empathy for others that the majority of humanity possess as part of their genetic heritage as humans. They are more akin to soul-less automata than authentic feeling human beings. Their desire for power, privilege and wealth is a result of an abiding void in their personal emotional lives. They are not constrained by conscience. They are searching for something they can't have, because it isn't in them to find, and externalities cannot provide it. Estimates vary, but perhaps 5% of the population functions in this way. The intelligent ones from amongst this subset naturally gravitate to positions of power thanks to their ruthlessness. The big win would occur if we could get the majority of people to understand this pathology and recognise it. Although the research and the evidence is all there if anyone cares to look, you're not going to see it taught in schools and universities (for sure it wasn't when I studied Psychology at Edinburgh University, it was mostly Marxist BS masquerading as `social science') or explained in TV documentaries. Clearly, it's not in the interests of the elites to have their pathology exposed to the masses. The lie that civilisation suppresses our savage instincts is not merely a lie, it is the exact reverse of the truth. Examine the evidence from anthropology and history and you'll see what I mean.
All this takes time - but as the inability of authorities to protect the citizen becomes so obvious as to be impossible to ignore, people will act on that knowledge and public opinion will change. They may still give police and political polsters the answers they want to hear, but privately it will be a different matter.
This is inevitably true. Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it. However, we are in a brave new world. The increase in surveillance technology, with this very Internet at its heart, means the tools available to the elite may well achieve formidable potential.
As you and I realise even if governments do not, once something is prohibited, govt loses any real ability to control or regulate. It can only repress and that is increasingly counterproductive. They have played their trump card and reality is showing it to be insufficient!
Sadly, although optimist, I believe I must try hard to be realistic. Although the pervasive surveillance state, the panopticon, is not yet with us nor indeed as yet technically possible, we can not rule out the possibility of the development of a functionally effective version. The social systems of control in Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union actually functioned quite effectively. In the case of Nazi Germany they simply lost the war against the other bunch of thieves but in the in case of the Soviet Union they failed to make the economy work. The combination of the social control systems developed by authoritarian societies with an economic system that functions adequately to provide surplus wealth could well be a lethal combination from the point of view of freedom.
I believe that increasingly people will simply break more and more laws thay disagree with or that prevent them from protecting themselves. So they will gradually arm themselves (albeit illegally) and probably (especially in rural areas) will form local police units (the authorities will of course call them vigilantes) to protect themselves and their property.
Central authority will not only lose control (well, they don't really have any now, but they pretend they have by threatening the law-abiding more than criminals) but they will increasingly be seen as incompetent and even more fatal to them - unnecessary.
This scenario is historically and constitutionally valid, predictable and - unless things change quickly - inevitable. It also needs to be seen (and portrayed as) a direct result of the gross (some would say criminal) failure of the authorities to protect the rights, lives and property of the law-abiding citizen.
Just so, it is predictable. This is undoubtedly why there is the political fetishism for cradle-to-the-grave DNA-coded surveillance of every individual and their life choices. In any case an appearance of control is more important than actual control. Obviously only the law-abiding can be controlled by laws. Just as gun registration precedes confiscation because it enables the confiscation (from the law-abiding) to be effective, so too may the global surveillance state enable the total subjugation of the law-abiding. You will be under 24 hour monitoring in public and in private with automated systems that can also automatically punish you. The statute laws in this country have already proliferated to the point where it's impossible for even a lawyer to keep track of even a small portion of them.
History shows that societies have always ultimately managed to deal with bad and incompetent governments. The cure may be harsh, but it's still better than the original disease. Sadly, the socialist deadheads that presume to rule us don't seem to understand this, and will continue to blunder ever deeper into the mess they have created.
I think the system is more sophisticated than you give it credit for. Governments are rewarded for failure. The worse crime is, the more police and surveillance are `justified,' the more disarmament is `justified,' the more the proliferation of bogus `laws' are `justified.' The question for our times is whether technology will develop to the point where it enables institutionalised control that requires nothing in the way of consent on the part of the vast majority of the governed.
What they do not understand is that, in a democracy the govt governs us with our approval. In short, they are able to control us ONLY because we let them. The moment we withdraw our consent we automatically regain our rights (albeit illegally in their corrupt eyes) while govt suddenly starts to face a growing and ultimately insurmountable problem. That is surely the process that has started to occur in the UK.
It's not a question of democracy. It's a question of people submitting or not. Even in a total dictatorship, you could simply refuse to submit and accept imprisonment and/or death. If enough people did that only the machinery of control would be left. So ultimately, for the elite classes, it's a balancing act. Balancing the stick and the carrot so's the vast majority will submit and the elites can maintain their positions of social privilege.
My personal analysis is that, whatever the state of surveillance technology, the world is too complex for control. I think where the real mistake has been made is the whole `Anthropogenic Global Warming' scare story. This myth, promulgated to terrify people into accepting systems of control and taxes that aren't amenable to measurement of real world outcomes that could demonstrate any benefit (other than imagined), will inevitably wreck the economies of the developed world - based as they are on plentiful cheap energy and ease of communication.
I think our fundamental philosophical difference lies in that I believe our opponents know very well what they are about. `Useful idiots' like Bell are a sideshow. The real power-brokers are quite prepared, as history amply demonstrates, to kill millions of people as means to an end that they can't reach. Modern technology, allied to millennia-old soft technologies of social control, opens up whole new avenues for manipulation and coercion. On our side, the truth is with us. We must remain confident that will be the deciding factor. Unfortunately (`climate change science' being a case in point) the evidence for the theory that truth and rationality will win out is not exactly encouraging. The danger is that our civilisation will amplify the power of the intelligent psychopath - IMHO it may be what destroys all civilisations. Hierarchical, `civilised,' technological societies crush and suppress our innate humanity and empower the machine-mind which is the antithesis of life and humanity.
We live in interesting times.
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-|message from the cookie daemon|
This is a war of ideas, a war of magic, not of armies and
that eternal, timeless war for the control of *your* reality.
John Pate <email@example.com>
Edinburgh, Scotland (home PC)
Disclaimer: I've probably changed my opinions by the time you read this