One of the main deceptions or distortions of reality in modern states, created by producers and editors of cultural artifacts of all kinds including textbooks, entertainment, and news reports on public broadcasters, concerns the relative influence of bottom-up political forces as compared to top-down forces. Both kinds of forces certainly co-exist, but the importance of bottom-up democratic arrangements such as elections and the choice of candidates and policy platforms presented in elections, for example, is always overemphasized. It is considered virtuous and reasonable to emphasize those things. However, since the economic system is openly declared as capitalism, founded on the private ownership of all means of production, it is no secret that the class of people who derive their livelihood from property ownership have overriding incentives to influence directly the use and preservation of their hoards of income-generating property, and yet the details, the particulars, and the overriding effectiveness of that specific top-down influence is politely omitted from public consideration. The ongoing control of the whole debate by the top-down force of the ownership collective and their vetted employees is always understated. It is considered odd to call attention to such things, and people who do so are dismissed as conspiracy nuts, normally ignored as harmless. That distortion is so remarkably consistent that it has to be stipulated as a core cultural feature of modernity. Reasons for the misrepresentation are not difficult to deduce.
What Historians Must Not Say
The fate of individual intelligences cannot be understood outside the context of the peculiar political history the human species has constructed. What created the cultural legacy of sovereign and executive power as a feature of social stratification is the human history of animal herding (cowboy culture), which essentially involves the mass enslaving of and looting from animals. Nomadic tribes that perfected ways of surviving by animal herding have repeatedly turned that parasitic technique onto communities of human farmers and city-dwellers, ever since groups began to abandon the nomadic life in favour of agriculture and settled into working on accumulating surpluses of resources, wonders of physical culture, and records of discovery and learning. Wherever that feat was accomplished, the outlying surroundings of nomadic herders were drawn in to loot and take possession, establishing capitalism within the context of a rural agrarian production system. An important part of the attraction of looting is to avoid having to live by daily work. A whole system of masculine pride is bound up in the ideal of living by looting other people’s work, the culture characteristic of what we normally call crime families. It was the high point of accomplishment to murder rival males, destroy what property could not be used and take possession of the rest, including women. Looting is inseparable from mass murder, rape, and enslavement, and these are important attractions of war to the present day. Genghis Khan, prime model of an alpha-cowboy, is a good example of that culture. Empire building is nothing more than sustained and institutionalized looting. A remnant of the romance and pride of looting exists, for example, in the glorification of trophies won in competitive sport and fortunes won from financial speculation. The ownership class of human societies has difficulty conceiving any accomplishment more impressive than looting.
As the Roman Empire in Europe evacuated eastward, the military families of the invading Germanic tribes who claimed and exercised sovereign power over land, life, death, and work carried the animal herding culture of looting as their cultural background. Those horse-mounted cowboys became aristocrat military-estate owners. Social control by landowning aristocracies, by military-estate families, derives from that historical phenomenon. Settled aristocracies had the same cultural values as the nomadic herders from whom they descended, crime-family values, limited to maintaining a life of manly fun for the alphas: competitive pride, pleasure, power, and risk-braving-adventure, not much different from contemporary capitalist elites or crime families of the mafia. Crime-family culture is predator glorification, alpha-trophy-looting glorification, illustrated by the predatory beasts and birds, lions and eagles, for example, chosen as their tokens and symbols.
There are two crucial points to an understanding of executive power. The first is that the concept of power in universal cultural currency is derived from the relationship between nomadic herders and their livestock. The second point is that the alpha-trophy-looting culture that was characteristic of nomadic herders became universally identified as the ideal of masculinity, with the consequence that it still influences males of all classes. However, since the males of most classes are constrained by their circumstances in acting out that cultural ideal, it is the males of ownership families who are able to live perfectly according to that ideal of masculinity, and hence, the social phenomenon of patriarchy.
There is no need to look beyond the most ordinary and everyday conditions of life to see the malevolence of the cultural legacy carried by the ownership class. The conditions of work described in posting 45, November 21, 2012, Working are direct products and consequences of the legacy of looting culture, and still persist. The situation of workers as livestock, living through the disadvantaged side of radical inequality, is shown clearly in the situation of soldiers in military units, especially during war. The cultural legacy of malevolence is inseparable from the conception of executive power.
The history of the dominance of crime families and their alpha-trophy-looting cultural system contrasts with the continuous functioning of the first-language-nurture culture, especially cultivated and practiced by women in providing care for children and initiating them into the human interconnectedness by teaching them to speak in their ambient language.
Two Distinct Streams of Class Propaganda
The ownership oligarchy typically uses a mediating or enabling faction as a facade, an elaborate social arrangement to serve as the public appearance of authority. So in Medieval Christendom it was the Church which was, nominally and apparently, the senior supervisor, with the military-based aristocracy misrepresented formally as secular assistants. In modernity it is arrangements of the business and professional class, institutional and business organizations such as (and especially) corporations, which are nominally senior controllers and architects of the system, but an old crime family cultural orientation among the supervisors of the supervisors is still functioning fully in the modern world-system, behind the public image.
Liberalism is the ideology of the middle class, the manically optimistic view that the best conceivable human communities are achieved through a mediating effort by an educated management and professional class, establishing, through corporate capitalism, an economic way of life engaging both the class of people who live by ownership and investing, and the class of people who live by working. Corporations are the prime mechanisms constructed by that liberal mediating class to employ workers at the same time as producing income for investors, and as such are the core of the middle class mediating technique, the core of liberalism. Liberalism preserves and enshrines the ongoing existence of ancient class separations, which provide it an ecological context or niche for existence. (Liberalism had a very public fail in 2008, in the U.S.-based global financial crisis which still persists.) Liberalism is two-faced, with one face engaged with the crime-family ownership class and the other with the working proletariat. Binding those two discourses together is a core ideology something like this: Nothing can be done about the crime-family culture of the ownership class, so the rational response is to benefit from it as much as possible and maybe use such opportunities as happen to be presented by circumstances to soften its effects through science and professionalism. The face of liberalism that carries on a conversation with the working proletariat expresses the conviction that there is no malevolent (crime-family) culture pod at the heart of the system of modernity, that the class of people who live from ownership are teachable and open to the persuasions of rationality, academically based professionalism, meritocracy, and the findings of scientific studies. It is a convenient conclusion of that belief-system that there is no moral problem with enjoying a middle-class high life of mobility, status, self-congratulation, and consumerism, including the prestigious consumption of higher education.
However, at this moment in 2013, it requires heroically studied stupidity or desperate willful blindness to avoid seeing the malevolent oligarchy at work in the class wars in Europe and the U.S.A., where the social safety net is being dismantled to enable corporations to operate toward workers as they do in China and Vietnam, at the same time as the financial industry is being given unlimited public funds, generous shares of which are passed along to corporate executives leading the middle class hierarchies. It’s austerity for the proletariat classes and super-wealth for the investor and executive classes. International banks and multinational corporations are openly permitted to violate laws in the U.S. and in Europe. Their immunity from prosecution is explicit permission to continue operating as criminal organizations. These campaigns of the alpha crime-family class and their middle class enablers are operating at the intensity of blitzkrieg to increase and normalize radical inequality as decisively as possible. It has the feeling of a coup against the egalitarian potential of democracy as it might manifest itself in the age of mass distribution of pocket computers linked through the Internet.
One implication of the existence of a deceptively malevolent oligarchy of top-down influence is that their revenue streams of easy money derived from trafficking in weapons, war, addictive drugs, human beings, and laundering money from various crimes, for example, are so rich, exclusive, and useful in consolidating power, that none of those activities will ever be allowed to end with the current cultural system.
Be assured that people in general are conceived as livestock by the ownership class, and that defines a crime-family cultural system. Every human intelligence is an autonomous universe of orientation in time, crucially discontinuous from nature and pre-existing culture. (Past and future do not exist in nature. All there is to nature is the strictly exclusive actuality of an infinitesimal present. Time as complex structures aligning past and future is entirely a feature of the interiority of individual intelligences in a life, surviving by projecting creative aspirations onto the mutability of their futurity.) Interior to every intelligence is a gushing horizon of innocent inspiration, curiosity, and questioning. Being in a life in that way goes far beyond and contradicts being identified culturally as a unit of livestock (even “smart” livestock), persuaded to be calm about having your perceptions and orientation managed and controlled by malevolent cultural institutions. The interiority of individual intelligence (subjectivity) is important politically because it is rich and powerful enough to enable an effective personal withdrawal from the ideological propaganda streams of both the crime-family class and the middle class, and in addition, to conceive completing the work of the enlightenment.
Copyright © 2013 Sandy MacDonald. The moral right of the author is asserted.