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Thread: Decentralized Oppressor [Prozak]

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    Decentralized Oppressor [Prozak]

    The Decentralized Oppressor
    by Vijay Prozak (
    July 15, 2005

    Not many people will speak openly about the current winds of failure in our civilization, or about its deep-seated problems. Among those who will, however, there is a disturbing lack of consensus as to cause or solution. Luckily, those two are related, and it's a relatively simple matter of looking for our misfortune in the wrong places. What makes this question complex is that neither the right nor the left gets it right.

    People on the far left believe that a right-wing conspiracy controls the world, and its goal is to use corporations to control us all. They are certain that a white male elite picks our leaders for its own benefit, and manipulates us through extralegal cabals. People on the far right construe our situation as a case of left-leaning cabals degrading our civilization through oligarchies which influence media and learning. Both sides are roughly half-correct.

    The reason they are only half-right is that the form of action they expect is wrong. From Big Brother in 1984 to government propaganda against both Hitler and Stalin, we have been taught to expect a diabolical controller; even the most paranoid will blame Masons, Skull and Bones, or some other tangible entity with a clear leadership structure. Most advocate leaderless resistance to such enemies. It is intriguing that they do not consider the same strategy being used against them.

    In this article, there is no intent to assure you there are not conspiracies manipulating our society. There may or may not be conspiracies of that nature; we cannot say, but view it as a large and academic task to investigate them. Why? The nature of parasites, including conspiracies, is that they show up by following a food source. If we make ourselves open to parasites, they'll feast; if we don't, they go away. The problem is not that a conspiracy exists, but that if opportunity exists, a conspiracy will be formed.

    When we understand this viewpoint, it suddenly makes sense that there is no over-arching puppet master hiding behind the scenes and yanking our strings invisibly. Conspiracies do not exist for their own sake, but when permitted to do so, by the nature of a disorganized society. Similarly, in most cases our bodies can fight off infections, unless they turn the body against itself - as a cancer does.

    In the context of discussing the failures of modern society, cancer provides an interesting model. Cancers occur when the body's own cells turn against it, forming rogue elements known as tumor which live parasitically off of the host. These tumors are not organized, but rather are a model of disorganization, in that they occur without leadership and work without goal except survival. Cancer is a more plausible metaphor for our modern ills than conspiracy.

    Conspiracies function by stealth, but require allegiance from their members, and in most cases collapse from inner power struggles, or are betrayed by the disgruntled. So far this has not happened with any of our possible modern conspiracies. Back to the cancer metaphor, however, we have found evidence of leaderless, decentralized action that has resulted in all of us being the worse for it.

    Most of our human failings occur when people, independently of any others, opt to do things that are destructive in the long-term but result in short-term profit. An example might be Toshiba electronics corporation selling propeller-milling equipment to the Soviets during the Cold War, or men driving battered trucks dumping toxic waste in the New Jersey river, or corporations hiring illegal aliens and paying them illegally low wages. Where's the conspiracy?

    More likely than a conspiracy is the collapse of our values. When we have lost any higher goals than money, there is no longer an ascendant impetus to our society, but a normative one, by which we all become more alike in appearance and have lowest common denominator goals. We cannot blame Capitalism, or leftism, or rightism for this mess: far simpler, it is an erosion of our values and thus a lack of beliefs in common that would unify a society. In the lab, we grow parasite "cultures" on Petri dishes; in society, we grow parasites in a lack of culture.

    While there may be oligarchies of the wealthy manipulating us behind the scenes, as Plato suggests happens at the end of any populist democracy, these are consequences and not causes of the decline. The cause of the decline is that we've invited them in through a lack of unity, or literally, a lack of any beliefs higher than those of the parasites. They believe in making money at all costs, and place that belief higher than culture itself, and now that we've done the same, we are the perfect hosts for these passive predators.

    Our news media and government delight in showing us bad guys. Osama bin Laden, David Koresh, Eric Rudolph, Ted Kaczynski, Saddam Hussein, Vladimir Putin. We're told that these men are insane and wish to become Big Brothers who will oppress us with their singular authority. While considering this possibility, we should remember that it is a human tendency to look toward fixing details instead of fixing the problem; if these men are symptoms rather than causes, obliterating them won't fix the system. And history says it hasn't, after more than fifty years of this policy.

    Adam Smith wrote about the invisible hand of capitalism shaping a society, but we now know there can be more than one invisible hand - and no leader required. If our social attitudes reward certain kinds of behaviors, and fail to provide any positive incentives toward others, that will manipulate our society more completely than any leader-based conspiracy could ever hope to. Even better, since it is all of us (mostly unwittingly) do it, there are no antagonists to arrest, and like a cancer, it's very hard to excise.

    In modern society, we are motivated by the desire to have "freedom," which translates into economic mobility, and we are taught to fear anything that deviates from that dogma. In fact, if we speak up about anything that contradicts the view that we're all equal in potential and therefore deserve economic mobility, we are seen as heretics and are socially isolated through the magic power of taboo. Are we sure this is "freedom"?

    Popularity rules in our society, and because most people are not of a mind to be leaders, they make popular the short-term values that are lowest common denominator: a consumer mentality, broad platitudes about equality, bread and circuses. They do not take on the question of our society's long-term future, and they oppose anything - no matter how necessary - that might limit our individual "freedom" to do destructive things. It is this attitude in modernity that oppresses us, and until we correctly identify it as our decentralized oppressor, we will forever fight figureheads in futility.

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    This article makes a great point. I've always thought the ZOG conspiracy theories fuming about some secret cabal of Zionists controlling everything were pretty infantile.

    Love the author's surname btw. :

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