To Manage and Steer the Peons | Strike-The-Root: A Journal Of Liberty
Column by Paul Bonneau.
Exclusive to STR
An alternative news site, Breitbart, had an interesting post today about comments Angela Merkel had made. It’s rare to see such a frank admission of what the ruling class is about:
"Digitisation is a disruptive technological force that brings about deep-seated change and transformation in society. Look at the history of the printing press, when this was invented what kind of consequences it had. Or industrialisation, what consequences that had. Very often, it led to enormous transformational processes within individual societies and it took a while until societies learned to find the right kinds of policies to contain this, to manage and steer this."
Do you enjoy being steered by our “betters”?
I have made a little list of the ways in which this was done, as a response to each new freedom technology that threatened the ruling class.
1) Gutenberg and the printing press. All of a sudden, literacy could spread outside the monasteries with the printing of Bibles available to anyone. Of course Bibles were not the only things being printed and read, which concerned the rulers. In places where control was complete (e.g. American slaves), the rulers simply made the teaching of reading and writing illegal. Otherwise, they used book bans and book burning, and no doubt various censorship laws.
A comment in the Breitbart article:
"Interestingly, the biggest book burning in history was carried out by the Americans. Working on Orwell’s principle that ‘The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history’, following capitulation in 1945, the greatest destruction of books in history took place in Germany, with the object of extinguishing German culture and the collective German memory (Kontrollratsbefehl Nr. 4. Einziehung von Literatur und Werken national sozialistischen und militaristischen Charakters, May 13, 1946). German society underwent greater change as the result of the first four years of military occupation than it had experienced during twelve years of National Socialist rule. In order to be able to carry out the planned re-education efficiently, a total of 35,743 titles and publications in libraries and bookshops were destroyed, including heroic legends and children’s books. (“Allied Censorship in post-war Germany”/Junge Freiheit, May 11, 2007.) An ironic statistic, given that book-burning has always been cited as an example of National Socialist extremism.
The Allies agreed on the material to be removed. The goal was in the first place to annihilate in its innermost being the drawing power of a belief in an ethnic community and thus to prevent even the rudiments of a repetition of this apparently promising attempt to overcome liberal capitalism. This frantic campaign demonstrates how successful the threat to financial interests National Socialism and its use of barter instead of credit had been. It has been said that five and a half million schoolbooks, with altered accounts of German history, were rushed into print in the U.S. and introduced into re-opened German schools in October 1945. (“A coordinated system of control over German education and an affirmative program of reorientation will be established. . . .”JCS 1067, Directive to Commander-in-Chief of United States Forces of Occupation.)"
While I doubt barter was ever much of a threat to the banksters, it’s still amusing we think of only Nazis as book burners. Of course there still is not a heck of a lot of free speech in Germany, outside the Internet.
2) Industrialization. This brought people in from the farms and villages, and concentrated them in the cities. No doubt there was concern about them getting together and trading subversive ideas, and organizing against the rulers. It seems to have taken a long time for the rulers to figure out what to do about it, but eventually the Prussians innovated government schooling which was quickly adopted everywhere. The promise was education, and they may at least initially have delivered some of that; but the main aim was indoctrination. The history of state indoctrination is laid out in John Taylor Gatto’s book, The Underground History of American Education.
"A general state education is a mere contrivance for molding people to be exactly like one another: and as the mold in which it casts them is that which pleases the predominant power in the government or the majority of the existing generation; in proportion as it is efficient and successful, it establishes a despotism over the mind, leading by natural tendency to one over the body." -- John Stuart Mill
3) Newspapers. An extension of book printing, these were apparently pretty rowdy around the time of the American Revolution. The rulers eventually tamed them and incorporated them into their Ministry of Propaganda. They acted as gateways of information vetted and controlled by the rulers. They are now almost defunct, killed off by the Internet (good riddance).
4) Personal weapons and battle rifles. These were of course the technologies needed by the rulers for their innumerable wars and foreign adventures and imperialism, but inevitably the technology escaped their control and became available to the peons. Of course this was a great concern, as armed peons are dangerous, and much harder to push around and exploit. The rulers responded with a propaganda campaign, “gun control”, which was fairly successful in countries other than America; but there are still a lot of hidden guns in all countries, and gun control is failing substantially in America. This presents a continuing serious threat to the rulers, thus their constant harping on it and the constant “blood dancing” whenever some innocents get shot.
5) Television and radio. Like the earlier newspapers, these technologies were quickly captured by the state and incorporated into the Ministry of Propaganda. However, there are some recent trends that are disturbing to them such as the vast expansion in the number of channels, which is more difficult to control than just three of them, and the ham radio network that the rulers carefully try to keep under their thumbs, but are nevertheless still available to rebels at any time. Technology keeps producing new innovations in this area, which the rulers have to respond to. One of their tactics is the dumbing down of content. TV news is a joke.
6) Movies. Like TV, another technology that is getting harder to control. While Hollywood is mostly captured by the Ministry of Propaganda, still a fair amount of subversive material escapes from there and from independent producers. The rulers have lost a lot of control now that movies are available over satellite and the Internet. A common theme in movies is power-crazed rulers.
7) Internet. A technology originally designed for military communication during a war, it again escaped their control, especially with the creation of the World Wide Web at CERN. This is the big one. Some of the features, such as redundancy, that made it survivable in war, also make centralized control difficult. Many attempts have been made, and continue to be made, by the rulers, but their success so far has been modest. Large parts of the Internet are set up for illicit trade. The employment in Internet infrastructure and maintenance is so large that the rulers will never be able to put the Djinni back in the bottle again. The user base is so huge and the economy so dependent on it that it is virtually impossible to shut it off; witness the attempt in Egypt during the “Arab Spring.” Encryption technologies make instant, perfectly-private communication around the world possible. Wikileaks reveals all the rulers’ dirty laundry. Bitcoin and its imitators threaten the bankers’ monopoly control of money. Communication threatens to make even war difficult to get going, although this remains mostly a promise rather than a reality.
This last one is what Merkel was whining about. Heaven forbid that Germans should form their own opinions from information freely available to them, and from uncontrolled discussion with others.