April 29, 2008
Society emerges organically from interactions among self-directed, connected individuals who pursue different desires with diverse, energetic capabilities. Such natural society allows life surprising and enriching expressions, inherently unpredictable by any observer. Individuals may prosper in cooperation, and collaborate on shared culture, or go their own way, even to take exception prominently. This is a working system that looks like chaos — complexity, compounded and self-ordering, which has no need of control.
But unmanaged, self-cultivating human nature and culture, evolving along with humans who do as they please, does not please everyone. Freedom and individuality lead to divergence from the select interests of a few — those not merely content to take advantage given the opportunity (as is common), but determined to exploit others systematically and elevate themselves artificially at others’ expense, instead of their own distinction.
These self-anointed compose the would-be controlling elite in any society, prehistoric, ancient, medieval or modern, familiar or global, composed of sixty or six billion. Throughout human ancestry, they have sought to manage the unpredictable, to impose their unity upon divergence from what they want, and to exert power over the initiatives of whomever they call subordinate. Over millennia, they have grasped for every possible tool to impose their designs of order, and constitute a stable rule in their image, whether boldly or by masquerade. 
Their agenda is frequently not even conscious, or understood by themselves. It unfolds by habit and personality more than articulation. But the tendency of their actions betrays the true purpose of their mentality to those willing to look with the eyes of an outsider; beneath presentations and facades, past their protective cloak of common superstitions about the establishment’s naturalness, perpetuity, inexorability, rightness, objectivity and altruism. They characteristically lack scruples against distorting the shape of things around them, and interfering with the lives of others. At their apotheosis, they toy with lives and even destroy them, which proves brute mastery, but also detachment from society and self.
By no means are controlling elites and their interests monolithic. Of course many have been attracted to positions of influence, command, or supervision, but beyond this stereotype lies much variation. Some have been grandiose and prominent in style, like royalty or aristocracy. Some cultivate plebeian habits. Some enriched themselves to become fabulously wealthy, some inherited a fortune aside from any profit from power, some remain modest in financial stature. Some do not even value wealth, only power to influence the course of events or manipulate others. If anything, their intelligences vary even more widely, although we may presume that they would reject the wisdom of a sage among them, or he would not wish to remain. Some are dangerously smart, and some dangerously stupid. Some are intellectual but not very clever, some are clever but not very intellectual. Some of those who form part of controlling elites today appear as prosaic bureaucrats. Some might occupy no official positions at all. Some lay claim to a dynamic agenda of modernization or “change” (though never progressively, against control) while others claim conservation of tradition. Some become addicted to the thrilling risk of reaching and reaching for more power, while others patiently marshal their forces as they wait for opportunity; some become paranoid in defense of what they already have, while a few act surgically against apparent threats to their control.
Not only the style of their agenda varies. Their degree of commitment varies as well, between irrational obsessions with control, and inclinations which seem explicable, or even appear principled to others and themselves. Indeed, on the fringes of elitist lust for control are those who assuredly prefer that matters fall to their own charge due to condescension toward others (which they rationalize with principle or passion), but are not thoroughly possessed by arrogance, nor entirely convinced of the eternal order their resolute allies seek to impose. Such elitists prove useful in dignifying aims to control by appearing reasonable and even great, instead of petty and narcissistic like many of their confederates.
Moreover, discordant controllers of societies compete among themselves, contest the power of others, and split into factions. But they all share the spectrum of dictatorial mentalities, and have learned to cooperate in common cause of exploitation, suppression, and aggrandizement far more often than they come into serious conflict. Constant competition is a risky test of merit and chance they would rather avoid. Those aware of masking their essential parasitism could also fear the mask might crack under stress. For it is primarily contention between factions which opens seams in the ostensible — if for example one faction should expose machinations of another, or show weakness when tested which does not match pretensions. Although controlling elites might manufacture crises or publicize emergencies to sway the public, creating unstable conditions for the real supports beneath their own control goes against their purpose, and their disposition to predictability. They only do so by accident.
The specter of would-be controlling elites has loomed over history, even as its faces change, but established control has not remained constant. The interminable grip has not only changed hands, but varied in pressure from one society to another, from one age to another, as zeitgeists have flowed between intolerance and liberality, totalitarianism and liberty, orthodoxy and experimentation, absolutism and imagination, dependency and enterprise, consumption and creation. Elite control has periodically waned with inconvenient circumstances, or fallen to active resistance, despite all efforts to hold firm or expand — or in fact because of overreaching expansions. Once in a while, heroics by independent-minded individuals, outsiders or insiders alike, have severed an elite from control over a domain it claimed, whether delineated in ideology, aesthetics, industry, popularity or land. But opportunists have closely shadowed revolutions made by great individuals, appointing themselves its keepers. Upon the last great liberation follows the next inferior reign over the merit and accord in human nature.
Once, those who sought to control and warp society for their purposes must have been thwarted mostly because they lacked social frameworks upon which to install themselves as recognized elites. They were once unable to construct an “establishment” to keep themselves as elites, and indulge pretensions to permanence. Then, long before written history, came the formulation of tribal collectives, organized religion, and the territorial State. These developments — all deserving greater discussion — were in short exceedingly fortuitous to projects of control — or more likely, were engineered, or at least helped along for that very purpose.
Ever since these social mutations, every elite composed of those who attempt to control (often allied with their establishment-serving cartels, classes, or castes) have used five basic, artificial means to manage their relationship to the people they want to serve them: forms of compulsion, deceit, mythic moralism, bribery, and controlled empowerment. These five artifices have come to define the outline of social control.
Type 1 Social Control: Outright compulsion through force.
Threatening is usually sufficient. Ultimately though, if tested, this method requires more than alpha-male bluster and bluff. It requires the willingness to inflict pain, injure, perhaps torture — and finally, kill. The apotheosis of compulsion-through-force in modern times is the doctrine of mutually-assured destruction (MAD): the threat of mass-eradication, which must be backed up by the apparent willingness to follow through with the extinction of all human beings.
Force is the most naked method of control, and no doubt the original. But ultimately it is the least successful in a society, because on its own, it makes an obvious, obtrusive bid to dominate. Outright compulsion will be unpopular, and will inspire resistance if resistance seems possible. (If it does not, it will be due to strangulation of social activity, which only diminishes the value of the society the elites wish to control.) We primarily observe forceful compulsion during the establishment of a political system, during invasion and pacification, when control remains premature.
In the case of an established elite, force has generally been employed systematically without some kind of mediation only as a drastic resort, when preferable means appear insufficient. But this indicates the desperation of a ruling system, and is rarely successful. Only the crudest or cruelest systems of control fail to cloak this militant recourse behind other means. Classical Sparta's brutal reign over the helots provides one of the few counterexamples in history: a relatively continuous system of violent subjugation perpetuating majority-slavery. Whatever thin ethical system (Type 3) may have excused this unapologetically abject practice was spun from nothing more than might-makes-right. But such a lack of further justification and embellishment for the framework of force has been atypical, to say the least.
Far more frequently, authority uses force selectively, against exceptional dissent, “criminals” including rebels and heretics, or scapegoated minority populations — that is, in an admixture with deceit (Type 2) and mythic moralism (Type 3) below.
Type 2 Social Control: Manipulation through deceit.
This refers to lies, trickery and ad hoc fabrication, as opposed to institutionalized deceptions, which fall under mythic moralism (Type 3) below. It includes propaganda techniques and disinformation, and makes use of the primal influence of ideas and assumptions upon the orientations of culture to mold worldviews and shape the character of social dynamics.
Common examples of such deceit include:
• Public relations spin.
• Falsification of documents, evidence, or other media.
• Tendentious misrepresentation of alternative beliefs.
• Omissions and cover-ups in press briefings.
• Officials lying to the public, casually or under oath.
• Fabricating evidence against political opponents, or social undesirables.
• Making a disingenuous case for war, or other dubious policy.
• Deliberately portraying select interests as “the country’s interests,” knowing this mythic construction will also be taken for a personal self-interest by believers; see mythic moralism (Type 3) below.
Deceit plays more than an incidental role for the advantage of particular elite interests. Society, as artificially-constituted under control, actually fails to serve its stated aims on a frequent if not continual basis. This fact is successfully hidden through habitual deceitfulness, which most likely becomes a subconscious reflex for self-serving controllers rather than a cleverly-deliberate aim. For some, that reflex follows from an ingrained faith in the system (Type 3); for them, allowing the truth to provide ammunition for criticism which might harm their polestar simply seems immoral, whereas deceit in defense of the system (and one's position in it) does not.
Finally, we should note that one way deceit comes quite naturally to controlling elites is self-deception, which serves those grasping elitists who will not admit their own role and intentions to themselves. The actor who believes in the part is a better actor. A subconscious can keep buried an awareness of that which would shock, frighten, and disgust conscious notice, in a self-defensive usage of deceit. Upon objections to the part he is playing, a self-deceiver will be the most stubborn and forceful in denying the whole idea that he plays a part at all, besides his honest commitment to virtue. Though he knows what he does more intimately than anyone, he also shrinks from following the implicit logic of his acts to the disturbed motivation behind it.
Type 3 Social Control: Manipulation through an institutionalized moral metaphysics, or mythic moralism. This is obligatory make-believe taken seriously by believers (deep down in their gut), and thus real for everyone to contend with as a result.
As opposed to deceit above (Type 2), this refers to institutionalized inventions and deceptions, which were once disingenuously established for the convenience and stability of an establishment, but might be perpetuated honestly by many afterward. Because elites are not supernaturally clever or above the influences of culture in which they live, they too may half-believe or even place real faith in the mythic structures of moral systems. In which case, subconscious power agendas find common cause with convenient beliefs, rather than elites always making cynical plans.
Characteristic principles and specifics:
• An idolized system (e.g. State, religion) suspended above practical, earthly reconsideration by faith; a revered office (e.g. the crown, the presidency, the papacy) with mystique and stature exempting officials from criticism; mythological descent of rulers from gods; the divine right of kings; Führerprinzip (the 'leader-principle' of a social pyramid).
• The personification of divine power, justice, or law in a living individual; fascist or theocratic cults of personality.
• Holy mediation of a spirit world; intercession between god and worshipper; soul-saving; solicitation of religious tithes, indulgences, or offerings.
• Purported definition of metaphysical mysteries by special knowledge; interpretation of divine will by a priest class; expert divination (modernized form: punditry).
• Instinctive conformism in service of social collectivism; national-patriotic propaganda; obtaining labor and sacrifice by citing “civic duty” or “public service”; acquiescence to political representation chosen by others in the name of all; mobilizing votes for whomever is appointed to represent a political party as a duty to that party.
• Racial, national or group mythology; national superiority compared to foreigners; ethnic superiority compared to others.
• Invocation of stability and the familiar, and reliable security above all; fear of dangers, change, the unknown and the foreign; home and hearth; blood and soil; “the other” as threat to one’s own way of life; safeguarding “homeland security,” “national security,” or “public safety.”
• Manichean struggle of a signature, shibbolethic, usually lip-service virtue versus a foreign evil; freedom versus fascism, communism, or terrorism; democracy versus tyranny; popular socialism versus greedy capitalist individualism; Islamic tradition versus the decadent West; populism versus elitism.
• Social utilitarianism, communitarian moralism and societal perfectionism; secular “public health” or “public welfare” campaigns or pietistic anti-sin campaigns against tobacco, alcohol, pornography, video games, fatty foods, etc., ad infinitum — which are typically also mendacious (Type 2).
Interestingly, enduring institutions of mythic moralism have a potential to exceed the control of the powerful as they evolve over time, and exceed their usefulness in obtaining compliance.  The very institutionalization of mythic moralisms provides for long term perpetuation, regardless of changes in leadership, or changing exigencies. Occasionally, pervasive moral pillars challenge, or even overthrow dominant power structures adverse to them — although moralist adherents will rapidly furnish replacements.
In other cases, an entire civilization struggles under consequences of an ungainly moral mythos, which even powerful leaders have difficulty unseating.  Some civilizations even collapse, rulers, ruled and all, as a result of an enduring but inconvenient moral mythos which proves untamable and ineluctable by all installed mortal powers. 
Type 4 Social Control: Bribery, including any rewards system, either material, or appreciable under the terms of some mythic moralism (Type 3).
Of course it is not feasible for the controlling elite to reward everyone materially for compliance; most must be exploited so that fewer may gain more. Therefore it is necessary instead that most of those who believe their interests are served by the system must be exploited substantially, and only gain as a function of perception, specifically mis-perception. 
Thus, due to misperception of reward:
• Those impoverished by militarism, wounded, or bereaved, celebrate preservation or redemption of “national honor” as though they have gained by this mythology (Type 3). Perceiving this as a valuable outcome from militarization or war results from an inability, or unwillingness to realistically imagine the alternative of peace with its manifest rewards. Instead, those exploited by the controlling elites who profit by militarism retreat into closed-minded justifications for their sacrifices and losses, such as moral obligation or practical necessity (all wars being necessary, according to those who support them).
• The majority of individual citizens in a modern State collect some benefits, small tax refunds and rebates from the government, and many receive subsidies or grants — but for the vast majority, all these total far less than the total value extracted from them by taxes, fees, fines, tariffs raising prices of consumer goods, and inflationary policies devaluing the currency to “print money” for the elites — not to mention potential economic contraction and job loss, which will hurt the elite the least. Schemes of redistribution are designed to profit the elite first, secondly, provide for the welfare of their loyal partisans and establishment servants, and thirdly, reward select special interest blocs for instrumental political support.
• The crusading moralists who petition religious powers and the State to limit freedoms as a bulwark against acts or substances they deem immoral may win nothing for themselves, except less liberty, and yielding more to authority. But they are satisfied by also causing their neighbor to have to conform to their moral standards (Type 3), and by perceiving a nebulous, if not illusory personal achievement of presumed social improvement and metaphysical superiority, by some moral measurement only they can see.
A mix of material and metaphysical reward systems is fairly typical to maintain groups who will serve an elite with any reliability. In keeping with our identification of misperception above, this reward is not necessarily commensurate with personal sacrifices, and is certainly not commensurate with the instrumental role such groups play in maintaining the higher elite, but it is relatively substantial compared to the disenfranchised majority, and includes exploitation at general expense.
For example: a wage and hope of promotion to higher pay makes soldiering or policing into a viable career (with ample opportunity for supplementation of pay through corruption), while the accompanying sense of special status among people, and hope of higher rank elevate the role of risking oneself mainly for elite interests. (There is no requirement for an individual soldier or policeman to recognize their role in social control, instead of confining his attention to the job itself and its overlap with his interests, and the presumption of serving common interests of society. In fact such ignorance of the big picture is preferred.)
In another example very relevant to modern society, the media (both press, and other creators of entertainment media) obtain establishment cooperation, and gain public attention and fame as well as profit, in return for attending the establishment faithfully, and portraying the status quo exclusively. The social influence of the press is well-known, but their ideological influence is second-hand, and ad-hoc. Shelley said, “Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.” In fact, all influential intellectuals, creative artists, promoters and creators of ideas are potential rulers-though-ideas to one degree or another, and more influential with every technological step towards effortless communication and exchange, a fact which has not escaped the keepers of power.
It should be noted that one reason modern establishments have sometimes had some trouble with intellectual rebellions (among the whole pool of the potentially-influential traffickers in ideas and opinions in media) is that intellectuals have sometimes felt poorly rewarded in society, either by marginal recognition, if they do prosper well enough, or by minimal financial reward. But as sponsorship, recognition, and bureaucratization of academia has increased throughout the modern period, unrest among related professions has decreased. Academically-oriented occupations have increasingly formed recognized guilds providing careers and attention via officiated support, including standard degrees for almost everything, membership in societies, and accreditation.  Now that those with academic status play critical roles in virtually every major institution or powerful organization, genuine intellectual rebellion against controlling elites (as opposed to partisan criticism between factions, which remains common) primarily occurs apart from academic systems, or despite being beholden to academic systemization.
Type 5 Social Control: Controlled empowerment, which convinces those who are controlled that they are not controlled. Those who are controlled must have some sense of power over their own destiny conferred upon them, power which they perceive to have more substance or extent than it does. Such power will consist of a short leash, or a total illusion.
Illusion or not, a share in the future can motivate those bound up within social control as compellingly as force can impress them with fear. The impressive endurance of the Catholic Church’s hierarchy has not only been due to its time-tested moral mythology (Type 3), but also to eliciting a sense of co-commitment to determining the fate of the religion and the world in everyone, from mere priests and missionaries up to the Pope himself. Controlled empowerment does not always derive an inflated sense of self-importance upon such a mystical platform, however.
In the modern era of science and public policy, a subtle addition to this fifth strategy promotes an informed, if not certain knowledge greater than one ever could have from sources of information, even if they were not deceitful (Type 2). A typical citizen who tries to stay informed through mainstream news sources will get the wrong idea of what is going on, but believe he knows. Those who explore unpopular sources will probably still have fairly little firm knowledge of what is going on, but again, will expect they do. In part, it is quantity that imparts a sense of power over information to the modern citizen. But quantity has not substituted well for quality, or skills of reasonable interpretation. Consider the scientistic skepticism against so-called “conspiracy theories” (with or without evidence), which holds that a priori it is very unlikely, if not implausible for a faction to seek to manipulate the population secretly — even though the tempting stakes include up to the entire extent of aggrandizement available within human society!
But ignorance of being controlled is a condition which must primarily be achieved by a cultivated appreciation of sociopolitical “power-sharing” — a share in social control. For example, an autocratic ruler is willing to impart some power to his advisors and officers, knowing they can be removed. Kings gave aristocrats titles and land not only to bribe them (Type 4), but also to make them feel invested as co-rulers, rather than feeling oppressed by the sovereignty over them, and consequently, revolting against it. And we have already mentioned some co-invested groups indispensable to modern hierarchy, who receive rewards for their services in maintaining or expanding control of society. Because they are empowered to boss around or manipulate marginalized people, they are disposed to believe that they are in charge along with those who exercise hegemonic social control.
The advent of institutionalized democracy on the framework of nationalism represents a real innovation upon this fifth theme. In modern times, the more universal form of controlled empowerment is the notion of democracy as “rule by the people,” which draws considerably more upon forms of mythic moralism (Type 3) and the promise of dispensation (Type 4) than any substantive empowerment.
Formerly, the cultivation of willful sacrifice among any group would typically require the formation of a minority class or caste primarily organized to serve the elite but co-invested in the payoffs of social control, i.e., organized to obey in part through a system of ongoing, motivating rewards for obeying, for example a professional soldier class for the military or police, or priest-scribe-academics for bureaucratic functions. Such a relationship would, however, be prohibitively costly to establish among the populace at large. The exploited must far outnumber the exploiters to maximize exploitation. Additionally, those semi-subservient, semi-ruling groups have often proved dangerous and destabilizing to the established order — most obviously, in cases of military revolts. But revolt can also occur more subtly, whenever a group ceases contributing to the power structure and begins to develop a rival power structure of its own. 
Democracy, however, convinces not a minority, but the great mass of the population that they are not being controlled. They believe, like the co-invested groups, that they too are co-invested in public life, in a “popular rule” in the form of “majority rule,” which is hopelessly conflated with “self-rule.” They believe they too have power, like “their representatives,” which in this case is almost purely metaphorical. The mythic “power” of “self-rule” or national “self-determination” does not indicate that actual individuals are sovereign, and have control over their own lives without interference. It only means that the “enfranchised” national masses ritually participate in a few pre-selected aspects of governance, and are occasionally granted incidental whims, and said to have “rights” — which government adjudicates, in any case, or conveniently ignores. But such devices have effectively served to deflect many objections and defuse much outrage.
There are many examples of psychological participation and collaboration in democratic politics which distract from an actual lack of control or influence in society. When votes or popular opinion disagree with those in power, popular opinion is demonstrably ignored, if possible, as happens to the majority in Israel who are willing to dismantle the Palestinian occupation by the Israeli government, or all those in America who oppose the present US occupation of Iraq. It has recently been shown that peaceful protests have no bearing on policy, if elite minds are made up, no matter how many millions contradict the elites. Sometimes important votes are even repeated until the correct result is obtained, as has occurred with EU membership. Nonetheless, all these political means induce a great deal of energy and attention to be spent, and a great amount of debate to be waged, as though the outcome were serious; as though the protester or the voter actually has not only an opinion, but a say — that is, a share in the decision-making — the ruling, in other words.
In combination with a false sense of informed awareness already noted, it is also not unusual for casual discussions to propose scenarios from grand strategies of politics, economy, war and diplomacy, as though common people have any say at all, or might conceivably occupy a position to make decisions. Public conversations and debates take place on terms already pre-packaged and proposed by the media, and are thereby induced from the start to follow the logic and assumptions preferred by those designing establishment narratives — thus not only to accept the validity of these terms, but to take them for one's own, and feel common cause and investment as though one also rules, and enjoys it, instead of remaining powerless, irrelevant and ignorant.
This explains why casual discussions would include Pentagonese like the game theory of nuclear brinksmanship and preemptive strikes, or the mercantilist working definition of “free trade” as trade established and regulated to benefit major producers (over consumers), or include other not only esoteric, but establishment-elitist material — none of which is in the interests of those disposed to discuss it. Certainly no such viewpoints would be generated organically from the position of a commoner-consumer-citizen, rather than an elite position.
In acclimatized imperial culture, common citizens have even been indoctrinated over time to hold chillingly-detached, but thrilling discussions, as though deliberating behind closed doors during a crisis, all founded on the slimmest amount of real context and much hypothetical speculation, e.g.:
The extremity and the elitism in vapid, inertial banter like this escapes the notice of those who take part. But these are the real point of playing this kind of game. Playing the role of Dr. Strangelove provides momentous excitement and the flattery of actual relevance to events. But more importantly for social control, practicing a way of thinking legitimizes that way of thinking and lends sympathy to it. An invitation to hold such a “national discussion” (by providing the starting point in mass media) is an invitation only to build momentum towards consent for what will be done, or at least what is a standing contingency plan, regardless.
In general, prepackaged discussion and debate evaluates issues based on mere talking points, and evaluates political candidates on sensational or superficial scandals instead of relevant scandals (or deep issues), all to the diversion of attentions and energies which might otherwise turn to understanding, questioning and then destabilizing the established regime. This is an extremely effective social control system. Its few critics usually (erroneously) only blame the flawed discourse of mass media, instead of crediting the illusory nature of democratic participation as well.
However, despite all of the above, democracy has not been an entirely successful evolution of controlled empowerment. This is because democracy introduces a considerable degree of instability, requiring adjustments to the former maintenance of social control. The populace has illusory expectations of control, and may occasionally revolt, unless they are regularly bribed from the public coffers (Type 4) thus destabilizing the system’s financial exploitation in the long-term, or carefully manipulated using moral mythology held in popular esteem (Type 3).
The wave of populism behind the supposed mass-empowerment of democracy (and socialism) also rose concurrently with a far more inconvenient cult of personal liberty, demanding specific freedoms or general free action. For some elites which rode cults of freedom to gain or keep power, abrogation of popular freedoms outright was hardly possible, and they were often powerless against the righteous mythology (Type 3) of freedom. Instead, patient and gradual erosion, often through alternate moralism, was necessary in order to assert more control. Although elites have skillfully and steadily eroded freedoms and have dulled public insistence on them (processes accelerated considerably during crises such as war), nevertheless beliefs that a democratic society should also retain freedoms such as assembly, movement, speech, privacy and ownership still survive. In order to cover for the erosion of freedom in actuality, freedoms have been successfully redefined into an advertisement with less substance than proclamation to them; policies to increase control pursued in the name of freedom, such as military assaults or police state measures, thereby absorb some of freedom’s popularity even though they violate freedom.
The democratized are even more allergic to blatant use of force against them (Type 1) than before, even if they are not attached to personal freedom, because it shatters their myth of participating in the exercise of rule. Everyone knows rulers use force upon the ruled, not the other way around, and people must recognize what every quelled riot means: their exclusion from power.
However, the use of force against others is usually very popular and achieves a conciliatory effect (at least at first), because of maintaining the pretense that “we” (everybody in the whole country) chose to show that “we” are in charge, and “we” (everybody in the whole country) successfully put the outsiders in their place: under “our” power. In this way, war and conflict can unify a population, combined with jingoism based on the time-tested narratives of the mythic moralism (Type 3) basic to any militarist project: glory in violence, participatory heroism through following orders, ultimate victory, divine favor, righteousness, our good against the evil enemy, traitorous betrayal by dissidents within, and demonization of every adversary.
Lying (Type 2) requires careful, assisted use to succeed among democratic citizens who have contrary expectations of deserving the truth — after all, they reason, it is “their country,” even though this was always impossible to reconcile with consolidated rule and was never the operating principle. Lying may require a long-term, slow pacification lulling the population, in order to become reliable for endemic rather than selective use. Lying succeeds routinely in modern democracies by means of co-opting the media (the chief information sources) into service as a semi-elite establishment class, like the bureaucracy or military, effectively bribed (Type 4) by attention and a profitable career, and cognizant of some instrumentality to imparting public opinion (Type 5). The mainstream media has largely ceded any role of persuasive social criticism. In this context, lies are merely reported like facts, not exposed, or they are presented as incidental, not interpreted as part of a pattern — all important differences in the context of their presentation.
As we have seen, the methods of control frequently work together. The most stable social control systems involve mutually-supporting usage of all five means. Controlling modern society probably requires all five.
Certainly, to dethrone controlling elites, progress beyond social control, and restore natural society requires an unsentimental knowledge of all such methods in their possible forms, and practice in seeing through them. May this basic guide aid that understanding.
1. It is not our purpose here to describe why it might be the case that such a subset of the human population should exist throughout history (and before), only to recognize this idea as the one which seems to provide for an accurate account of social control. The alternative concepts of human sin, or faulty human nature in general simply do not account for the strong differences between the mentalities of most, who merely dabble in control, and those who habitually seek control in extremity, which careful observation can deduce. The psychological basis of this difference goes beyond our purposes here, but investigation which I have pursued follows a model provided by the distinction of three socially-psychopathoid personality types: sociopaths, narcissists, and histrionics, and their cultural influences upon others to echo or reproduce their mentalities — or stated metaphorically, those who appear inhuman and elicit the inhuman. [back]
2. A process reflected by Henry VIII’s remarkable transformation, in papal decrees, from pious “defender of the faith” to excommunicated apostate, once the papacy proved an inexpedient support. [back]
3. E.g., the Incan panaqa system, in which mummified, deific rulers retained land, possessions and courtiers — dead weight which accumulated over time. To a lesser extent, numerous forms of perpetual, institutional property have kept resources from more productive use by living owners, including the medieval Church's mortmain, and vast “public lands” today — a system which either abandons land to no productive use or stewardship, monopolizes land for influential interests (subsidizing industry or subsidizing tourism), or ruins land by the over-exploitation known as “the tragedy of the commons.” [back]
5. This mention of mere perception of reward is not to suggest there can be no worth to perception. An objective-materialist point of view on value in general would hold that appraisals based on subjective perception have no place in appraisals of value, because exploitation is inherent in them. But on the contrary, value cannot be standardized objectively. An attempt to do so leads us towards valuing only physical, material goods, towards false formulations of value, and away from individual experience. Rather, decisions about relative value between different options including material goods must be made from subjective points of view, and subjective feelings or experiences can be experienced as valuable. But misperceptions of value are importantly poorly informed about alternative preferences, and simply operate under assumptions which could be shown to be practically false. If perceived gain within a belief system would really be preferred over other possible results one could have had instead, this serves as a genuine gain and cannot constitute exploitation. However this is not true of the imaginary gains and rewards in the discussion above, which rely on ignorance of actuality and alternatives, for the same reasons that both crooked salesmen and soul-saving preachers do not recommend informed consideration of alternatives. [back]
6. This has paralleled sparser and less successful attempts to defuse artistic protest through sponsored assimilation — film and television industries being one of the more sensible investments, and CIA sponsorship of abstract expressionism being one of the peculiar. [back]
7. Which provides motive for local rulers agitating against formidable monasteries in Europe, for example. [back]
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