Friday, July 27, 2012

Burnham, Orwell and Obama, Part Two...

Force. Fraud, and Managerial Big Brother

When last we discussed these topics, we had laid the basic framework beneath both Burnham's Managerial Revolution, and Orwell's 1984. This time, we're going to demonstrate how Managerialism, coupled with the government monopoly of force, and the political system's penchant for fraud, brought us to President Titanic...err...Obama.

Burnham began with a basic premise: that the nature of all societies has been Hierarchical, consisting of a High, a Middle, and a Low; that these three groups have competing aims, and that politics can never be conducted honestly, nor without varying degrees of violence and coercion.

In The Machiavellians, Burnham took pains to show that in politics, decency just does not exist, and in the process of trying to present an honest -- the term then was "Realistic" -- view of this sort of dishonesty, that it could be somehow rationalized and made more acceptable. In other words, if the ruling class had simply decided to tell the truth about it's actions, that it was simply reacting to a natural tendency of the ascendant to stay in the ascendant, then whatever crime or injustice they may commit would be entirely reasonable, and therefore, non-objectionable.

This idea was one of the underpinnings of Nazism, given a scientific veneer by association with the theories of Darwinism. A sort of political version of the Survival of the Fittest. It has taken varying forms in different political systems throughout history, and in every culture. The historical excesses -- often brutal excesses -- of Pharaoh, Emperor, Warlord, Pope, Sultan, Dictator, Satrap or King, are all, to some extent, expressions of this idea. Henry VIII didn't go through six wives just because he could; he did so because the production of a male heir was vital to the continuation of Tudor, Inc.Montezuma didn't order the beating hearts torn out of 20,000 captives for shits and giggles; it was almost the only job he had, and the one to which he owed his exalted position.

Imagine what sorts of abuse of power were involved in those sorts of actions; whether it's maneuvering to get rid of an inconvenient wife, or spilling the blood of millions to propitiate "The Gods" in a religious scam so that you don't have resort to stoop labor and grow you own corn, the fact remains that the true motive behind most political and social activities is hardly ever examined. In Burnham's view, the point of having political power was to use it. The purpose of using it was to acquire more power.

In days of yore this became the sole preserve of those who could afford it, because after a certain point in Western history, it was no longer enough to simply have swords (force) behind you; the great rulers and empires became mercantile, rather than military, machines, and as they grew in wealth and power, they gave rise to successive waves of parvenus who would eventually demand a bigger share, and demand greater rights, which eventually became greater control. Magna Carta or the Declaration of Independence are often described not so much declarations of universal human rights as much as they are the assertion of privilege by a generation of Managers spawned by circumstances.

There was a time when Western society, or for that matter, civilization, was in a fragile-enough state that often required the blatant use of force in order to maintain internal cohesiveness. The Inquisition, The Destruction of the Albigensian Heresy (from which we get the quote "Kill them all, and let God sort them out") The Slaughter of the Huguenot, the crushing of the Pilgrimage of Grace, Kristallnacht, the New York City Draft Riots, are all historical examples of an overwhelming use of force by the State for political purposes -- they are the State's expression of it's will and desire to enforce a certain orthodoxy.

The Industrial Revolution made that task infinitely easier, and therefore, less brutal. The advent of rail transportation, the telegraph and telephone, mass-produced books and newspapers, inexpensive consumer goods, the Production Line, a seemingly endless advance of science by leaps and bounds, public education, all made the process of enforcing orthodoxy an easier and gentler task, and in the process created the class which would supplant the Popes and the Kings, and wield much the same power, only from a distance and largely anonymously, Burnham's managers. These things made it easier to identify, categorize, organize, and finally, abuse, people on a scale that had not been seen before.

Our world is managed beyond most people's comprehension.The food you eat, the clothes you wear, your personal habits, are continuously under study by people who have a vested interest in knowing what you think and how you feel; by bankers, by advertising executives, psychiatrists, plant managers, software engineers, television production specialists, media outlets, the Boards of Directors of every corporation in this country from Alcoa and Anheuser-Busch to Zions Bancorp. We call this "Commerce", more specifically, certain aspects of it are known as "Research and Development" or "Marketing", but it is all part of an unspoken conspiracy to figure out what the public is thinking or doing at any particular moment, and then to take (usually monetary) advantage of it.

The same processes are at work in most aspects of American Life; government, academia and religious institutions. Heck, the United States Military probably spends billions every year to discern the idiosyncrasies of the American Teenager just so that they can tailor their recruiting pitch to them (where do you think this "Army of One" bullshit came from? First-person shooter video games!).

You are, right now, under the influence, in one way or another, of a constant barrage of propaganda. It does not really matter if it's something urging you to drink Coca-Cola, or to vote Republican, you are being managed while still enjoying the belief -- largely false -- that you are expressing your own preferences, indulging your own tastes, exercising freedom in the way the Founding Fathers intended.

You'd be wrong. The effect is so subtle that it is often missed entirely, so don't feel badly. 

Your opinions are being shaped every day by what you read or watch on television. Your spending habits are often a reflection of what you see in movies, or in imitation of people you have been convinced you should emulate (people often spend money just to acquire the outer trappings of a certain "lifestyle"), political parties -- operating through all sorts of medium -- continuously barrage your ears with their claptap (a vote for me means "free" stuff/no taxes, this or that party is the rottenest bunch of scoundrels ever, and so on and so forth). You don't speak you mind, often, for fear of "giving offense" or because you wish to "avoid conflict", and you were taught these things in school. Your view of history is warped because we couldn't tell the truth about certain things -- don't want to make the black kids cry, or give the Indian kids a reason to tomahawk us during recess -- and the course of much of the rest of your education was shaped by the fact that teaching nowadays means accommodating the retards rather than winnowing them out.

Your college experience ceased to be about academic progress probably two decades ago, and instead the campus became the preserve of what we used to call "Hippies" who would rather pick at America's psychic scabs (what the fuck good is a degree in Gender or African-American Studies?) because it's easier to sell psychologically-soothing bullshit than it is to impart actual knowledge. Your dormitory  restrooms are being "integrated" according to sex and perversion, your academic schedule is loaded to the brim with useless lectures, workshops, junk courses and "experimental studies" that simply take time away from core academics, and money out of your parent's pockets. When you graduate, you will have a degree hardly worth the paper it is printed on -- i.e. you'll likely be just as stupid now as when you entered college four, five, seven, who the fuck knows, years ago -- and saddled with a shitload of debt which will make you even easier to control.

And much of this is dpne deliberately.

Because for every Jeffrey Immelt, for every Cornell West, for Every Charles Schumer, for every George Lucas, there is a veritable army of anonymous people who make what they do possible, and in the process, these people exert an influence that dictates much of the facts and pace of American Life. They (the Managers) need to: it is how they earn their livings, and it's how they have managed to become the real power in American Life without having to identify themselves.

It all begins at birth; your existence is certified with a State Document. Eventually, you are given a Social Security Number. Your life is expressed in paper, and made public through records of all sorts; title deeds, insurance policies, registration of your car, guns and pets, reporting of your income to the government, a criminal record. The reasons why these things are necessary are usually presented to you as a positive boon; "We" need to know who has a gun, "We" need to know how much you've made, "We" need to know what your qualifications for this job or loan are, and very often, "We" give up this information -- and with it, much of our freedom -- voluntarily. And why not? We've only been trained to respect authority, or even that which exerts an air of authority with no real claim to it. The advent of the Internet, and especially things like Facebook and MySpace and other "social networking" thingymabobs, makes this infinitely easier.

The personal computer may turn out to be, perversely, the next, best thing to shackles if we don't learn how to use these things responsibly, and keep the government and it's sycophants out of our laptops and cell phones.

It has been the same since the dawn of civilization, whether we're talking Sumerian priests marking paid taxes in Cuneiform, the Domesday Book, the Roman Census, the Spartan conscription of every member of society, Death Certificates, marriage licenses, a high school diploma. Every aspect of your life is under the direct influence of a Managerial Class which aims, ultimately, to direct you towards two goals: giving them the power to make you do what they want you to, and providing them with a reason and means to remain in power.

In Orwell's 1984, the government, through four Super Ministries, controlled all aspects of life in Oceania. The government perpetuated a continuous state of war to ensure that the people's civic attitude was amenable to it's aims. The government kept the people on the brink of economic ruin so that they could be preoccupied with the personal problems of shortages of consumer goods or lack of food, so that the extension of small privileges would seem a gift from the gods, and so that the formation of mass political dissent would be impossible. The Party cloaked itself in the guise of a Family (Big Brother) while all the time doing it's damnedest to break the familial bonds between people. Even the language was controlled, shortened, butchered, changed, so that the basis for expression of political thought -- and thus, dissent -- would be impossible. There were no elections; there was no private property; there was no equality before the law. There weren't even any laws, except one, and it concerned itself solely with the maintenance of political orthodoxy.

So, what does all of this have to do with Barack Obama? Actually, it has more to do with American politics since the turn of the last century than Obama, proper, but President Frequent-Flyer-Miles is, to date, the epitome of the Managerial Spirit.

He is the product of Affirmative Action, a direct government policy that preaches inequality as a means of achieving equality. He is the living embodiment of the Managerial Class, someone who has, for the most part, earned his living by simply being -- Obama has never actually produced anything of value, but he has benefited from the people who do or have. Being a Community Organizer or U.S. Senator never means having to do any real, productive work, in the conventional sense. It simply means that you have figured out a way to extract the wealth from others, from the labor of others. His campaign speeches are the very soul of Liberal Managerialism; they contain in them lofty ideals, impossible goals, the expression of vague feelings over substance. Barack Obama was marketed to us, much like bread, socks or automobiles; he represented "New and Improved" at a higher price, and a fancier box,  over the Same Old Stuff with the same price tag.

To criticize Obama runs afoul of the peanut gallery of academics, media types, so-called Civil Rights parasites, political operatives, lobbyists, journalists who enforce a strict code of thought and expression through a systematic program of denial, aggression, approbation, name-calling, intimidation, and the use of government organs (the FBI, IRS, SEC, EPA, FEC, and so on) to attack their enemies. They also use the same organs to reward their friends (Solyndra, Goldman-Sachs, NAACP, NOW, Public Unions), for it is certain subsets among the Managerial Class within these fields that are largely responsible for making Obama who and what he is. Barack Obama is the visible expression of what these people believe, and what they hope to achieve, and the fraud of it all is that they have the nerve to call it "Social Justice". He presides over a government which has expanded itself into your doctor's examination room, your utility bills, your bank account and retirement plan, your home and your e-mail, to an extent that few other regimes ever have, tut-tutting and instilling irrational guilt and shame when you run afoul of his edicts, the whole time wielding the crushing power of the state. Obama is our time's physical expression of Big Brother.

He rules -- despite the fact thats Obama was (mostly) democratically elected, and that we still have a Congress -- He rules largely through Presidential fiat (executive orders, signing statements, and so forth), because on the whole, if he had to use the republican (we're still, on paper, at least, a republic) levers of power, he would never have been able to appoint 35 "Czars", keep the American Oil Fields sacrosanct, force the states to take government aid against their and their citizens' interest, or ram an unpopular health care bill which no one can, still, adequately explain, down our throats with the full connivance, and bribery,  of the House and Senate. He has largely done these things under the guise of "Crisis Management" or the quaint explanation that "There's a War On", when he hasn't boldly (and stupidly) gone off teleprompter and given us a glimpse of the real Barack Obama; a petty dictator, nursing a variety of grievances -- real and imagined -- determined to make everyone else pay for them, and demanding to be worshiped the entire time, under the mistaken impression that his IQ reaches at least room temperature figures.

Obama is a paternalistic bully who bitchslaps you and then demands that you to kiss his ass. Just like Big Brother.

Granted, Obama is not the only person to be made a figurehead in this fashion in this country. One could say much the same things about George W. Bush, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Ronald Reagan, or Jimmy Carter, and for the most part, we'd be talking mostly about slight degrees of difference.

But more than Obama, The Man, at work, we see the invisible hand of The Managers. There would be no Barack Obama, educated at Columbia and Harvard, set up in a career that advances the often-skewed feelings of The Low to be paid for by the cash of the Middle and the High. The Obama who, on the one hand, decries the inequalities produced by wealth, and then begs the wealthy at least twice a week for their cash. And the funny part -- if any of this is funny at all -- is that the wealthy have apparently ponied up.

Do they do this because they're feeling guilty, because they believe in the man, or because they hope the money buys them something later on -- exemption, forgiveness, special treatment, access -- your guess is as good as mine? In any case, this is all a  visible expression of very the modus operandi of The Manager: you don't have to like Obama's politics (in fact, they hardly matter) you only have to write the check for what it brings you in your quest for power and status -- the cheering adulation of like-minded morons, the ability to pick up a phone and get a member of government to look at your pet peeve, a tax break or exemption form ObamaCare, a government "investment" in your otherwise useless enterprise, an Ambassadorship of Judicial Appointment with which to help your friends get ahead or to pile up favors which can be called in later on.

We're not quite at the stage where Orwell's protagonist, Winston Smith, found himself when he began his politically-dangerous personal diary on April, 4, 1984, but we're getting there, incrementally,  mostly unaware, and most certainly, against our will.

Next time, we'll take a look the effects the Managerial Class has had upon American Society through direct influence over public policy.

Part One of this Article can be found HERE.

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