Toward An Opposition Understanding: Elite Control
Written by Katin for IPCRESS Blog
I prefer the terms, “Establishment” and “Opposition” to the old, Marxist-flavored, “Bourgeoisie” and “Proletariat.” It’s not necessary to read Marx to know that we live under Elite Rule and many of the Marxist categories pertaining to these terms are of little relevance these days. “Establishment” refers not only to The Elite and their system of mass control, but also the loose ideology which accompanies The Establishment. This ideology is much more complicated and involved than Marx can explain, and by limiting ourselves to discussions of Capitalism, much of the character of the modern Establishment is lost. This Establishment ideology is far-reaching and has a profound connection with everyone in our society. Any effective understanding adopted by Opposition elements must first clearly disassociate itself from any Establishment influence.
It’s not that The Establishment simply dictates to a compliant society, but The Establishment fashions certain tools and models with which the people can interpret their world. In this way, whatever understanding is adopted by the citizens will always work to the benefit of The Establishment. This mechanism is apparent in any serious ideological attempt at creating an Opposition consensus. The Establishment succeeds in hiding behind these apparent contradictions, idealistic platitudes, and political sophistries, and so eludes serious critical analysis while at the same time splitting Opposition elements which are unable to agree on any popular understanding. In other words, why dictate policy if you can control the debate which determines policy?
One of these traditional “models,” is the dichotomy between Self-Interest and The Greater Good. We are told that the tug of war between these two factions is ameliorated by government, and that’s how we frame things in debate: “What action will benefit the greatest number of people and how will this benefit me?” This relationship is considered so simple and obvious that it must always be accepted as the logical starting point. It shouldn’t be the starting point, however. The Liberal/Conservative debate exists in our culture as a specific political system, and that political system has no meaning until the question of Elite Control is answered. This is the question which precedes any serious political discussion, for the notion of elite control–by definition–negates any legitimate democratic process. Of course, The Establishment controls this debate as well: Elite Control cannot undermine the democratic process because the democratic process undermines the possibility of Elite Control. This is the sort of logic we hear in ordinary conversation, where the idea of Elite Control is dismissed by definition and people accept this tautology as a reasonable explanation . If The Establishment cannot completely control the debate, then it can simply destroy the discussion with bad logic and sophistry.
The Self-Interest/Greater Good debate is a false dialectic. It is a circular model which never develops to any higher level of abstraction, and this is precisely the way The Establishment wants it. It is crucial that people never get beyond this foolish little paradigm with which they can translate all available political issues. It is a false dialectic because the contradiction is not resolved (or “synthesized” as some people like to say) toward a more dynamic element. The concept of government is that it merely “represents” these two factions and provides a platform for debate, that’s all. The debate is never really transcended. However, this model IS dialectical:
This is a true synthesis of these terms, for Elite Control implies an agenda which benefits the interests of The Elite, and not the Individual or Society; yet, it represents a core of individuals acting on their interests and their success relies on representing themselves as defending the Greater Good of society. The psychological implications go even deeper, for the system supports itself on certain contradictory understandings. This isn’t simply a dictatorship-disguised-as-democracy, but rather, a democracy where people yearn for a dictatorship. As Orwell foresaw, the trick is not in imposing the dictates of The Elite successfully, but getting the people to beg for their own subjugation. This is easily accomplished by setting-up the ridiculous Lib/Con debate and then driving it to the point of absurdity. The circularity of the debate is transferred to all its attendant issues and nothing is ever resolved. The people become obsessed with “electing” a powerful “leader” who can split the Gordian Knot of this senseless debate and actually get something done. Many others simply choose to drop out of the process altogether as it seems never to accomplish anything. Let’s examine several issues using this new model and see what conclusions we can draw.
Illegal Immigration is a hot topic these last few years and a good example of how a debate can be locked-into a set of parameters:
–Illegals are good for business in that they perform jobs American are unwilling to do for such low wages.
–The wages for these jobs are kept low because American businesses can draw from this pool of cheap foreign labor which they can use to compete against American workers.
It’s obvious that this is a circular argument. The role of government is not to break the paradox, but to amplify it: we must employ a certain number of immigrants so as to balance the interests of the people involved. The new perspective asks the question: “How does Illegal Immigration benefit the Ruling Elite?” or “Does Illegal Immigration benefit the Ruling Elite?” It clearly does benefit the Ruling Elite, as it lowers labor costs and weakens labor unions.
The Iraq War is not about the needs of Iraqi citizens or the security of American society (against terrorism.) It is about the interests of The Elite, and The Elite derives an enormous amount of support from the conflict. Other issues, such as Health Care, Homeland Security, Peak Oil, and Global Warming must all be interpreted by how they bolster the system of Elite Control, because it is this system which defines the nature of our society today.
It is understandable that people who are stuck in the Establishment’s Lib/Con paradigm will insist on “proof” that such an Elite exists, although it is a little unclear just what it is they expect to find. They keep returning to this question but never find an answer, because there is no answer possible which would satisfy them. Even IF such an Elite were somehow revealed to them, they would continue believing that the Lib/Con process and their supposed representation in government would be sufficient to keep these people under control. In fact, many people DO believe in an Elite of some sort, but they consider it a “controlled” Elite which doesn’t wield ultimate power. Another paradox representative of our schizo society. People believe in an Elite/Democracy which they sort-of control, but ultimately acts in their interest as well as the interest of society at large. Nevertheless, it’s a question which has to be answered if the discussion is going to move forward and any sort of Opposition Understanding is going to get hammered-out. Interestingly, Liberals are highly dismissive of the idea of Elite Control. This concept, probably more than anything else, is what keeps them forever tied to the Establishment’s system of phony debate and away from any genuine Opposition organization.