INSTITUTIONAL OFFENSIVE TACTICS
By Roland Watson
In the last article, I covered the defensive tactics that social institutions use to maintain their control over us, and to divert attention from their misdeeds. There are of course offensive tactics as well. They are in no way inclined to wait until we begin to complain and rise up. Indeed, there are so many offensive tactics that to cover them properly this article will be a little longer than the rest.
The most important offensive tactic, and which I have already considered extensively, and which also follows from the last article's points about propaganda and mind-numbing entertainment, is the imposition of social influences. Institutions use behavioral form, in all manner of ways, to persuade us to get with their program. We have already seen that in modern society there has been a shift in importance from human needs to institutional needs. This same development has occurred with values. Institutional values have become supreme. And, the core value, the most important value of all, is not to resist the current order: to know your place.
We have also seen how the messages of society prey on our needs and motivations: how institutions seek to subdue us, such as by creating fear, and then bend us to their purposes.
An important tool in this process is their use of information control. Society shapes your views by restricting the information that you have available. It tells you what it wants you to know, and it avoids telling you what it does not want you to know. For instance, prior to the arrival of the European immigrants, there was a vibrant collection of cultures in America spanning from the Atlantic to the Pacific. However, information about them is for the most part lacking in America's socialization process. It is as if these indigenous cultures never existed. There is a huge gap in our education.
In Australia, the country is - or was - considered to have been "empty" prior to the arrival of English convicts, as if the Native Australians were no more than animals. And, in Japan, schoolchildren are still taught that their country was the victim in World War II, not the aggressor.
This tactic is used all the time, and it is very effective. After all, if you do not learn something, if your "teachers" refuse to inform you about it, how can you possibly be aware of it, much less incorporate it into your life and actions? If you are not taught the truth, how can you possibly know it?
Furthermore, in a tactic that is the opposite of the strict secrecy that institutions maintain about themselves, they demand free and open access to everything about us, as individuals, including all aspects of our private lives. We are manipulated to reveal everything, and they then use this information to plan and shape our roles, as cogs in the social machine, to suit them better.
In doing this, they also demonstrate that they are masters of the technique that George Orwell coined as doublethink, in his book 1984. This is the holding of two conflicting beliefs, simultaneously, yet not recognizing their contradiction. Indeed, it is a complex form of self-deception.
Social institutions believe that they have the right, they are actually obliged, to preserve secrecy about all of their actions, particularly their unethical and criminal actions, but we, counterlikewise, must reveal everything about ourselves that they want to know. Moreover, this is also in some way right, and just.
An extension of this is apparent in the patterns of institutional behavior. Behavior by and between individuals that would be considered completely unethical, if not illegal, is acceptable for institutions. For example, you, personally, would not do business with a murderer, but it is fine for a corporation to do business with a murderous dictatorship like China.
One of the most insidious and repugnant of institutional tactics is the way they reshape your view of time, and hence your priorities. Modern life demands that you spend the bulk of your time concentrating on your employment. In this way, it detracts from your ability to satisfy your other needs, such as for enduring personal relationships. You do not have sufficient time available for these relationships, hence they regularly fail, which as a consequence frees up more time for your job. You are actually told to concentrate on your job, since it will take your mind off your divorce, or heartbreak, which it actually helped cause!
This is what the system purposely wants. It wants you to fail in your personal life. There is a fundamental tradeoff between employment and family and friends, they are now in conflict, and the messages that you receive clearly state that employment, you working to meet the system's needs, is the more important. Having a successful career, which is also the supposed route to power, is now more important than having a successful life.
Not only is this a despicable subterfuge, it is also a lie. The system is constructed such that all but the chosen few fail. You are told that you should succeed in the socially prescribed way, but for most people this is impossible.
The lottery is the only hope for real prosperity that the majority of people have. And, for the few who, against all odds, do succeed, what do they do? They use their new power, their wealth, to buy their freedom, to escape from the system. This begs the question: how good can the system be if everyone's dream is to escape from it?
Also, and in addition to all of this, the system practices entrapment. As I have already discussed, it makes you dependent on it, on its health care, its entertainment, and its drugs.
Creation of volatility
Another major tactic is the use of what I term "volatility theory," or the premeditated creation of different forms of social volatility to achieve an end. The leaders and other representatives of institutions instigate dramatic and volatile situations, and through their privileged positions of power then seek to benefit from them.
I might add, and as an aside, that we do this as individuals as well. If life, or a relationship, is stable, but perhaps also boring, many people, impulsively, do something dramatic to shake it up. This is a good use, at least in concept, of the technique.
A classic example of the creation of volatility is in investment markets. Traders spread rumors, which then cause price fluctuations. The traders, since they are on the inside, are then in the best position to react to - they actually anticipate - the fluctuations. By the time the general public hears about it, the opportunities to profit from the price movements are long gone. Hedge funds do this all the time.
Creating volatility has many applications. The media use it to sell newspapers and magazines, and to attract viewers. They dream up an outlandish story, and we, being gullible, believe it and even pay for the deception. Or, the media attempt to create a volatile situation, actually cause one to occur, such as through selective or biased reporting. Then, if and when the situation does explode, they are there to benefit from it, by selling their coverage.
Creation of a common enemy
Volatility theory is of course also a standard tactic of politicians, and religious leaders. And, in this form it is usually applied through the process of enemy creation, using the idea of us versus them. Politicians generate volatility by getting us, as a group, to hate some other group.
Now, this can easily lead to conflict, to war and death, but the politicians don't care. This is exactly what they want. They want war and death. Having a war satisfies their needs. A politician in time of war is far more important and powerful than a politician in time of peace. They might even earn a place in history.
They will be wrong about the judgment of history, though. It cannot be influenced. A warmonger, responsible for the deaths of innocent people to satisfy personal arrogance and vanity, will be revealed as such with the passage of time.
In these types of situations, the use of volatility theory is overt. To a trained eye, it reveals itself immediately. For instance, when right wing Israeli leaders take provocative steps against the Palestinians, by seizing land, destroying houses, or building new settlements, and some Palestinians respond with violence and acts of terror, such that Israelis, innocent Israelis, are killed, this is exactly what the leaders want. It is their intention to cause this volatility. The death of the Israelis then creates a situation that they can exploit, by demonstrating "leadership" against the terrorist threat, and by engaging in further repression of the Palestinians.
Of course, Palestinian extremists do the exact same thing. For example, they launch rockets against Israel from residential neighborhoods, so when the Israelis fight back innocent Palestinian civilians are killed. These types of actions have occurred many times, from both sides. There is more than enough volatility, and atrocity, and form, emanating from the many different sides of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.
The creation of a common enemy also has more subtle applications. For instance, the U.S. has laws against the use of mind-altering substances that young people, particularly young men, by their very nature, including ignorance, a tendency towards experimentation and risk-taking, and a high susceptibility to peer pressure, break in large numbers. But, enforcement of the laws is targeted at minorities. Conversely, usage by the sons and daughters of the wealthy is ignored. This in turn has led to the arrest of many young minority men, who then find that their transgressions actually trigger lifelong punishment. They are expelled from normal society - most importantly - from normal employment opportunities.
Many of these men then continue to engage in the same, and related, criminal activities since, among other reasons, they now have no other employment options. Finally, when crime becomes widespread, minorities as a group are blamed.
The existence of this complex and arcane form is the reason why it is impossible, in the United States today, to have a serious discussion about drugs and their effects on individuals and society. However, we will never solve the problem of rampant drug abuse, and the derivative problems that this causes, until we do.
Also, I want to make it clear that this is not an apology for criminal behavior. As we have seen, fighting form and expressing will is possible, and essential. I am not making an argument for modern determinists, who think that such young men are victims, and further that crime is acceptable: that it is an acceptable form of rebellion for the disadvantaged and the underprivileged. Real rebels do not engage in criminal activities, the types of criminal activities that injure other people. They may, though, participate in civil disobedience.
As this demonstrates, society is not above using a little force to repress its critics and malcontents, and will even engage in crime, break its own rules, if necessary.
I would also comment that in a society that is rigidly conformist, there will always be a counter-culture. And, in a society that oppresses, there will always be rebels. And some members of these groups will use drugs and they will commit crimes. But, although such individuals share the blame, because of the responsibility that derives from their will, the fundamental problem is not with them. The core problem is the structure of the society, particularly its direction by and for the elite, and its inflexibility and intolerance.
To conclude this talk, I will mention a couple of final offensive tactics, which relate largely to the interactions of the institutions themselves. First, a tactic that is similar to the creation of a common enemy is that of divide and conquer. For instance, governments are now in a state of decline, and corporations are on the rise. One of the reasons for this is corporate use of this tactic, by pitting nations, and their governments, against each other.
Corporations, in their modern form, do not need to link themselves to any one nation. They can float around - above - the world, doing business, producing and selling, wherever the opportunities are best.
In many ways, they lie outside government control. Indeed, governments are dependent on tax revenues, and corporations can hold them hostage over this. In return for locating a factory in one country, which will create substantial employment opportunities and tax revenues, they can demand huge concessions. And, the governments, if they want the jobs and revenues, have to agree.
Secondly, institutions also regularly use collusion as a tactic. They work together, such as with corporations, the advertising industry and the media, to enforce conformity with their needs.
In the final article in the series, I will examine the values that social institutions promote.
© Roland Watson 2014