…today I will conclude with a list of very popular opinions and social norms that have been propagated over the last two hundred years and together they form an environment where people’s rights are easily oppressed and psychopathic elites flourish with ease.
1. The public schools will make you smarter, and give you the skills to succeed.
Personally it took me a good 20 years to dispel this myth. Half of my extended family worked in education, I myself used to have great pride in my academic success in high school and university. However upon meeting garbage men, checkout operators and house cleaners with a better understanding of history, economics and global affairs than myself, I had to question the prestige attached to my diplomas. Most of what we need to know about schools becomes self-evident from cursory research of mass education. Schools as they are today were created by the Prussian elite as a reaction to their defeat to Napoleon in 1806 at the battle of Jena1 . The aim of the school was twofold: to create religious patriotism for the young nation and to engender such a level of obedience that men will follow their orders even if they meant certain death. The ideals of this educational system were laid out by the leading Prussian philosopher at the time Johann Fichte: “education should aim at destroying free will”, so that, after pupils have left school, “they shall be incapable, throughout the rest of their lives, of thinking or acting otherwise than as their schoolmasters would have wished”.
This is the system that was copied around the world. It was especially admired by the Japanese elite who modelled their new constitution on the Prussian one. Soon after its creation this system was adapted of the needs of industrial revolution, namely to create obedient factory workers. This is how we came to be lining up, have our work broken off by ringing bells, take separate subjects, use separate facilities and finally we came to educating children in batches, like cars as if people born the same year have the same level of knowledge and the same interests.
There is mounting mainstream research2 that shows that school is detrimental to lateral thinking and creativity in general. So we need to realize that to be educated is to have a good understanding of the world we live in and for this you do not need a school or a university, all you need is an internet connection, a library and some of that passionate curiosity we all had as kids.
2. Stupidity is cool3
It starts when we are kids: if you re academically smart you’re labelled a nerd and often bullied. Should you take an intellectual hobby to a higher level you then become a geek and possibly a social outcast. To belong be popular and get laid a young adolescent needs to play football, keep abreast of reality TV, celebrity culture, fashion and commercial pop music. This is not a phase, in many a pub conversation I ve heard people say with pride that they have never read a book. The question is do you wish to be conned, duped and manipulated, because that is exactly where this disdain for knowledge leads.
3. Watching the news keeps you informed
Yes in every democracy we are brought up extoling the virtues of the free press. The meaning of the word “free” is stretched to mean: free to issue shares and sell them to the highest bidder, often a giant multinational company with a stake in the nature of the reportage4. Alternatively the “free” press is state owned and free to report anything that keeps the western democratic system in good light even when individual parties or politicians are criticised. So the net effect of this all-encompassing corporate/government monopoly on our news is that we are given a choice of two types of world view:
Firstly the commercial channels (7,9,10 + Herald Sun) report on sports, celebs, freak accidents, funny anecdotes and inundate you with public relations campaigns dressed up as news and investigative reporting. So you end up being a very good (compulsive) consumer proud of your team, your country and your general ignorance.
Second, if you have aspirations to being informed, intelligent or just of having some idea of what is going on in the world you will wind up watching a combination of these: ABC, SBS, BBC, Daily Show and Chaser. Here you get an upgrade on the relevance of, news, vocabulary used and the intellect of the guests. However your world view will remain well separated from reality as you repeat the talking points given by “experts” that generally work for corporate funded think tanks, interest groups and other corporate media organizations. Just in 2011 most mainstream intellectuals accepted the claim of killing Osama Bin Laden as a factual event without a shred of proof, and successfully wrapped their heads around the concept of pulverising Libyan cities in order to protect civilians.
We should be aware of the vast array of alternative media with a much better reporting track record on economic and military issues. There is an advantage of viewing the world from different perspectives that are not influenced by government and corporate interests. See footnote5 for some of my recommendations, but beware all news has blind spots and biases. And finally distrust all evidence free assertions no matter who is making them, this article included.
4. Don’t talk about politics and religion
At some time or another we’ve all been told this golden maxim of good etiquette. For the sake of potentially avoiding conflict we shut down the public conversation about the two systems that create our laws, our values and our aspirations. The vast majority of the needless death in human history was a direct result of a lack of rational intelligent debate on religion and politics allowing extreme views to blossom as they remained unchallenged. This gave us the crusades, the inquisitions, Hitler and the Gaza occupation. So maybe we should be discussing politics, religion and any other institution that makes the rules and sets the norms in our lives.. The truth or in the least the understanding of opposing views is well worth the hassle.
5. Support the troops
Most of us don’t like war. The general consensus seems to be that generally war is nothing but a competition for power among the wealthy elites, and its usually paid for by the taxes and the lives of the middle and the working classes6. Still somehow we support the troops, we put them on the front pages, we glorify their actions and even designate two days a year to worship the war dead. I think this sentiment was best illustrated by a passage from a 1964 movie called: The Americanization of Emily7:
“We shall never end wars miss Barham by blaming them on ministers or generals or war mongering imperialists or all the other banal bogies. It is the rest of us who build statues to those generals, name boulevards after those ministers, the rest of us who make heroes of our dead and shrinesof our battlefields. We wear our widows weeds like nuns Miss Barham and perpetuate war by exalting its sacrifices.”
Yes we all perpetuate war by supporting the troops and glorifying their feats. We perpetuate war by glorifying an institution that aims to remove all critical thinking from a human being making him an automaton who only obeys orders regardless of the risk to himself or the risk to innocent civilians. So the soldiers while undeniably brave even heroic are merely victims of institutionalized propaganda. In a world where the ruling elites lack morals and empathy with the people, the institution of the Army is a threat to humanity. The real heroes of war are the conscientious objectors who would rather go to prison than kill their fellow man. (Look up Israeli conscientious objectors and support them if you can)8
6. Free markets and globalization are bringing freedom and eliminating poverty
I used to believe this very strongly, and it certainly sounds right if you don’t think about it. But let’s actually do some thinking. Water Lippmann, one of the greatest propagandists in history claimed that the best way to defeat your moral opposition is to redefine their key terms/words; And so today poverty, prosperity, freedom and slavery have all been re defined to suit the global elites. Let’s start with poverty/prosperity: World Bank defines extreme poverty9 as living on less than US $1.25 (PPP) per day, and moderate poverty from $2 to $5 a day. And so the third world rural populations living off the land, in some cases very comfortably are labeled poor, their land is sold to multinational farming companies. They are then put to sweatshop slavery for 6$ a day and now live in worse conditions as adequate food and shelter are out of their price range (previously free) BUT now the world bank considers them both free and moderately prosperous!!
The connection between freedom and capitalism was a recent invention. Freedom in the original sense of the word was connected to knowledge and ownership of land. It meant that you were not dependent upon any authority/institution for your livelihood and that you were knowledgeable enough to be uninfluenced by misleading information. Today freedom is equated with being born in a in a free market democracy where you are only as free as your purchasing power. Even your education is limited to what your parents can afford and your profession is limited acquiring skills that are relevant to the capital owners. And so it is today in the west we consider ourselves free as most of us are financially dependent and contractually obliged to work 2000 hours a year for the benefit of some distant nameless “shareholder” Yes we are comfortable and we can buy some nice shiny trinkets but our freedom is an illusion and our trinkets are made by sweatshop labour.
7. Western democracy is the best system of government
Yes this gig started on April 2nd 1917 when Woodrow Wilson (who got elected promising to stay out of the European wars) declared war on Bismarck’s Germany. The reality later admitted by Wilson10 was that his policies represented the industrial and banking interests of his time. The US arms industry wanted a war to sell and test their products and that the major international banks wanted to lend to all sides at high interest rates with a view to taking over the various national central banks.
However these reasons are not for public consumption, and so Wilsons crack PR team invented a great slogan for this crusade: “making the world safe for democracy”. The war was a great success for First National (Citibank), JP Morgan, Bethlehem Steel and other household names. Essentially the term democracy in a modern context means the following to a country: open your political process to elections in which corporations can purchase candidates. Open your whole country as a market for multinational companies who can afford to temporarily engage in price dumping to crush local businesses. And finally in the name of international investment sell off all your resources to the multinational companies. Should this democracy against all odds produce an anti-western candidate it is much easier to eliminate him than it would be to eliminate a single party government or an autocrat… just look up: Omar Torrijos, Jaime Roldos or Mohammad Mosaddegh11
8. Banking, economics and inflation is complicated and beyond my understanding
Buried beneath all the alphabet soup jargon that constitutes the average conversation one hears about economics on television is a system of money creation that is both flawed and nefarious. I am referring to the system of creation of money through credit otherwise knows and fractional reserve lending. This system creates money that is created from debt and backed by no assets whatsoever12. This system is not overly complicated, it only requires year 10 maths to be understood. In brief commercial banks have the exclusive right to lend ten (or more) times their assets and then charge interest for those loans which are often secured by real assets. This leads to inevitable inflation, levels of debt that consistently exceed levels of real money by an ever increasing margin which can only be rectified by bankruptcy13. This is compounded by the fact that the market for bets on future events (derivatives) is worth 700 trillion14 dollars which is roughly 10 times the worlds GDP. This market is guaranteed by governments around the world just like our bank deposits are. This is equivalent to a head of a family betting ten times his wage every month on football games…. It just doesn’t bode well for the rest of us.
9. Entertaining conspiracy theories is a psychological problem
Lets face it most of us are emotionally invested in our world view. This is true whether we believe in our systems of economics and government or whether we are suspicious of all governing institutions, always expecting them to be conspiring against our interests. So what happens is that people either dismiss all conspiracy/alternative theories or believe them strongly. Both of which are completely irrational and lead to a world view very disconnected from reality.
Reality is that many conspiracy theories are simply hypothesis trying to integrate currently known facts about an event into a coherent story. Many have been proven by strong evidence and official documents such examples include CIA overthrowing democratically elected leaders, CIA engaging in illegal drug smuggling in Iran/Contra affair, Hitler troupes burning the Reichstag to blame the Communists, Italian establishment blowing up train stations in operation Gladio to blame their opposition…
That said, most conspiracy material on the internet is pile of self-contradicting rubbish whose only function is to provide entertainment and a straw man argument should the elites require cover.
For instance there are a number of TV shows that debunk some wild eyed accusation of the government regarding 9/11 and then proceed to declare that the official story is true by default. The reality about
9/11 is that we are told an official story that is demonstrably false however there is no solid proof out there of who did it and exactly how it was executed, all we know is that the US government lost, destroyed or classified the key evidence that links the disparate facts.15
So the lesson here is to avoid the reflex belief or disbelief that is automatically generated in most people by conspiracy theories. Always look out contradictions and ask who, what, when, where, why and how. And very soon you’ll come to a rational conclusion of whether you’re looking at a factual event, a good hypothesis or a piece of rubbish.
10. Blokes talk about sport and the gals talk about celebs and reality TV
We’ve all been to a dinner party or a work function at one time or another where it became apparent that to fit in you had to show a proficiency in sports knowledge, celebrity culture or fashion depending on if you’re a man or woman. Sometimes one wonders if this is someone’s cunning plan to dumb us all down or simply the popular culture that evolved around us over the last 50 years. Athletes, celebrities and models are seldom well rounded characters, they rarely have something intelligent to say while they are always keen to profit from our attention by hawking products we do not need. Even if its all just entertainment we are creating unhealthy role models for our kids who now prefer being famous to being smart strong or even beautiful.16 Even if some of us find these topics interesting we need to ask ourselves: “how do these topics affect my life?”, “How will this help me survive and thrive?”
11. You need the car/house/ the Gucci and Versace to be fulfilled.
We are being sold an illusion, and the illusion has been getting ever prettier since the advent of PR and marketing in the1930’s. Since then we were conned into judging people by the brands they can afford to buy. We were conned into identifying ourselves by the things we own. We were conned into connecting products with our most intimate commitments, and so spending billions on very common shiny rocks. We were conned into believing that our dream was to borrow ten times our income to own a big house and borrow some more to have a shiny new car in the garage. We were conned into having something as profound as our happiness defined by people whose job is to manipulate us into buying products.
However most of us know that every day we are being sold a lie, on the street, in the papers, online, on the TV. This knowledge affords us a choice: Will we keep buying the lie or will we break from it and start defining our own values and our own norms.
(Ar merita tradus.)