Fraudulent Gadgets of Oppressors
La trilogía del poder y el discreto mundo de la duda.
It cannot be acceptable that history, education, philosophy and even the arts are transformed into the fraudulent gadgets of oppressors. What is strength, if the past is so weak? Where is hope, if the future has been emptied?
A systemic media game
The totalitarian illusions of capitalism, at the end of the 20th century, became nightmares of extermination, denial, racism and misery. They continue to be so well into the 21st century, from remote African, Asian or Latin American countries to the United States itself. A system that, precisely, prided itself on the opposite and augured a future of possibilities and inclusions.
The glory was hardly glorious for a few, and, instead, it has been anguish for the vast and growing swathes of the population of the developed countries, the declining middle classes. Lower classes always below. And, of course, it was and is an ordeal for the excluded inhabitants of the peripheral countries.
In the global fairground auction, the big media of the big capitals played a central role. They promoted each and every one of those traveling events of the possessing and possessed plutocracy.
Philosophical (postmodernity). Ideological (the debacle of communism). Historical (the end of an endless history). Economic (capitalism at ease, neoliberalism at the ready). And the political (the specific government of a few rogues as the ideal democracy).
These media also continue to play a decisive role in the ensuing social despair. That of the present, strengthened with the digital eclosion, internet and other magnificent and chilling technologies, which encourage the hatreds of some against others.
And the confusions caused by disinformation, but also by the weariness and indigestion produced by the excess of circulating information, in any direction and with all possible intentions. Reality is in turmoil, in which those who upset it win. Clarity is power, a clear idea that has been clear for a long time and that every now and then is touted as a recent occurrence. Only that having that clarity is not merely a matter of taste.
Great media that are intensive transfusions of idiocy. That exacerbate fears and prejudices. Or that tempt with the emergency exits they give to the abusive and dictatorial regimes of the ultra-right, from Trump and his accomplices to Bolsonaro and his ilk, for example.
Thomas Piketty (2013), the economist in vogue five years ago, includes the media as one of the sectors in which the main organizational and ownership structures will one day have little to do with. The Frenchman places them alongside education, health and culture:
…with the polar paradigms of purely private capital (such as the joint-stock company model, entirely in the hands of its shareholders) or purely public capital (with a similarly top-down logic, in which case the government sovereignly decides what investment to make).
Organizational and capital forms that combine to varying degrees both “polar paradigms” have been an exercise of neoliberalism. And they are the first step towards absolute deregulation or the modeling of companies that, rather than being mixed, are a mixtifori.
Tricks of the establishment, and of corporate and financial autocracy as a tangible body of democracy invariably in the making.
To be sure, as Piketty argues, new types of organization and governance are bound to emerge. Even, let’s face it, new forms of collective intervention are likely to emerge.
Perhaps, as he says, there will come to be true accounting and financial transparency. But it will be difficult for that in itself to translate into economic transparency and democratic control of capital, as he points out towards the end of Capital in the Twenty-first Century.
No, not as long as state policies and the orientation of those sectors mentioned continue to be in the hands of those who defend to the hilt (that is to say, with a juicy salary) the interests of the capitalism they are supposed to control.
The huge and heavy revolving doors at the top. When the problem is consubstantial, even apparently significant transformations do not cease to be accessory.
When the problem is consubstantial, even the most significant transformations are no longer incidental..
Never, as long as the mass media, the extended networks and the technologies in permanent progress do not build the other necessary stories (to which Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie refers), but the parallel realities that misguide the course of societies. Especially when these are believed blindly and inhabited with relative comfort for life.
When will we, as social collectives, peoples, nations, understand that the parallel reality is this deception and this trap for the dumb that we inhabit between trusting and impotent, resigned or retarded?
What is certain is that the elites in the West, since Ancient Greece, two and a half millennia ago, have kept representative democracy in check. As well, who doubts it, as its derivations and fateful harmonizations. Not to mention participatory democracy, of which there is no valid record beyond the paper and of which, at the most, it is attested, once again, by desire.
That classic aristocracy, which is nothing more than a class of exalted abusers, can do so, ponder democracy and keep it at bay; declare itself liberal and scare it away from any hint of liberties, thanks to the complete control of governmental offices. Institutionality taken; control organs taken away. And to the mafia-like props of blackmail and dependency, and to the pervasive atomization of communities. The cohesion above and the division of peoples and citizens below.
It is clear that economic and political evolutions are inseparable. This was the case in previous centuries and will be so for who knows how long. For the past few decades, moreover, and with a growing momentum, another component has been increasingly linked: the media. Along with the technological component, of course, in the most recent lustrums, which merges and confuses all the previous ones.
Economy, politics and media: the tripod of power where the elements are indissoluble and act in unison in the configuration of the unbalanced world we live in. Reality: a fiction that is so little fictitious.
The oppressors have invented empires and all the mechanisms of domination they entail. History indicates that they have done relatively well.
But it is also conclusive in showing that all of them, with their commands, armies, wealth, colonizations, atrocities, in short, are for a fixed term. And the greater the conviction of imperial perpetuity, the more rapid the decline. The Nazis’ thousand-year empire lasted twelve years.
Wars, climate, plagues, accumulated debts, fiscal excesses, of course, are factors contributing to the decline. However, no calamity was as definitive as tranquility.
Eternal Rome did not collapse with the shrieks and sacking of the Visigothic barbarian Alaric because it had already had its knees in the ground for a long time. The collapse accompanied the triumphal celebrations of wars that were not won and the deep social inequalities that nobody paid attention to.
Sharp and continuous financial depressions, akin to recent stock market speculations, were responsible on a par with the notorious imperial delusions of grandeur.
The oppressors forge the fraudulent devices with which they project power. By devising a way to make the tribe believe that he mastered the forces of nature, the shaman became an essential guide. The Greek Ajax made use of Olympian gods and legendary heroes to convince the elusive royal subjects of his reign over kings.
No less so was the liberal, who flooded democracy with institutions and political discourse, and thus gave body to the word and was able to dispense with signification. A “meaningless language”, said the Englishman Thomas Hobbes in his Leviathan.
The liberal flooded democracy with institutions and political discourses, and thus gave body to the word and was able to dispense with the meaning.
Fraudulent gadgets of oppressors
The powers of our time, how could they not convince us that the sneaky pact between a few cretins in three or four developed countries is the valid and full international consensus? Or how could they not make us believe that the global financial architecture is not their overlordship?
Or, let’s say, that almost all the insular and mainland inhabitants of the planet (minus the one percent, of course, who are themselves, the wealthy elites) are not the slaves of their speculative and monetary plantation?
How can they not convince us of anything they can think of, if the fraudulent gadgets of oppressors are so powerful, and, above all, if we continue to be so inexcusably gullible?
Semper Idem: Always the same.
- Hobbes, Thomas. (1651). Leviatán. (1940). Fondo de Cultura Económica: México, D.F.
- Ngozi Adichie, Chimamanda. (2018). El peligro de la historia única. Literatura Random House.
- Piketty, Thomas. (2013). El capital en el siglo XXI. Editor digital: Titivillus. Apple Books.